Multipurpose Walking Staff (Monopod for Cameras)

Introduction: Multipurpose Walking Staff (Monopod for Cameras)

Hello World,

A few weeks ago I started with a project that I thought was covered for sure. And I did find some instructables here which featured helpfull information about what I wanted to do but not the exact project I had in mind. And usually this ain't the case.

Inspiration and Guidelines:

So here goes. I am a hobby photographer with sometimes the need for a tri- or monopod. But always carry my super-heavy-sturdy tri-pod is just not fun. And after my first "Spring/Summer" walk I quickly made an improvised walking staff out of drift wood.  Improvised I say becasue I knew it would not support my camera nor the other options I would have liked to include. So at home, I choose a branch of an elm (I think, I might correct that after I know for sure;)  already cut. And that's where we will begin. 

At the end I hope to end up with a handy, walking staff which can double as a monopod for my camera, has a watch and a compass installed and several straps, and pouches for storing stuff. 

- Saw
- Dremel or equivalent
- Wire Cutters 
- Pencil
- Screwdriver
- Sharp Knife
- Drill & Bits
- Scissors

- Sanding Paper
- Wire
- Small Hinges + Screws
- Wood Paint or equivalent
- Patience
- Watch & Compass
- Screw & Nut (6mm o) (the same as most cameras)
- Lether or Twine

I will try to give this instructable an order that was absent during creation and experimentation. 

A little sneak peak of the finished project

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Step 1: The Branch

Ok I started out with a branch with everything still on. It was cut at the right time and it already had time to dry out. These are two of the important points. The other one is size. If you intend to make a monopod take a branch which is at least as long as you... head to toes. Cutting off is simple, adding on is ... well not as smple. 

First thing I checked was my eye height, I really hate bending down to my Tri-Pod's so I wanted something on the right level. It had to be bigger than that because I knew I would cut and file a lot of material off and I needed a big head piece to house "The Hat".

The first afternoon I spent shaving off the dark and hard bark with a sharp knife. I already made the decision at that point which would be the head-piece and the bottom-piece. No pictures of that process though. Sorry.

Also no pictures of the time I spen t, sanding, knifing, shaving, dremel a lot of material of the inner bark (a light brown in my case). After the experience I made; with quite a thick branche you could go for something stronger and faster (maybe a true power drill with a sanding disk) . Also I would suggest you check the rings... maybe you like the colour of the core a lot more than the outer rings. But at first glance I thought my core would not be big enough to house all my additions.

After well 2 or 3 days of work... back and forth in my case, as mentioned before I experimented a lot.  You should end up with a quite nice staff already. But very rough and still quite large and possible heavy. 

I implore you not to make the same mistake as I and finish your polish and then decied to still shave of some millimeters there and there... try to plan in through. 

Think about

- Cutting Point for the Monopod Attachment (Screw Fitting),
   this should be at eye height or better a bit lower think how big your camera is and guesstimate where the viewer would end up. 

- enough left over space in "The Hat" which I call the detachable head-piece. 
   I decided to include a watch and a compass within my "Hat" So I did not need a lot of space... maybe you plan something different... 

-  Grooves for straps and if you would like to thin out your staff or even carve a pattern in to it... (that's actually out of my leauge.)
 - Last but not least, think about your bottom part.
  Cut there first and I sharpened it a bit as well (didn't make piercing tip but did cut off quite a bit)

I used the dremel to create three groves at that point. One on the Head-Piece and one above the handgrip to tie the removable head to the staff, the last one in the lower third to give myself a starting point from which I started thinning out the staff. Definetely will double for a shoulder strap holder.  

All the measurements and guidelines I just made up on the fly, use common sense to avoid many of my mistakes... ;)

Step 2: The Head-Piece and "The Hat"

Now I would like to go a bit in to detail what I meant with the head piece and the cutting points. Again sorry that I did not document that completly with pictures. The half-finished version of the staff will do I hope. 

You know where you hold your staff, where your camera goes, what kind of space you need for your marked it?

Then it's time I guess

Measure twice, cut once... 

Now your staff is in three pieces, and I myself got a bit nervous at that point. But I think your still doing fine... 

From this:        To this:
------------        - -- ---------

1st Cut: The Hinged Addition Housing

I thought far enough to cut one piece after the other, and the smaller one first.
Other wise I would have ended up with a small piece of wood very annoying to cut.
I left ca. 2 cm of space in the top-part knowing that only a small watch would go in there.

At the back I carved out a space to house the hinge and I overdid it with my first pass, which led to a not so plane surface. But I decided it will hold. And it does.

The Middle-Part is so big not because I needed the space, I think you could easily make a secret hiding space for at least a film roll. I still wished for a rather large (in height) staff...

2nd Cut: The Screw-Mounting-Monopod

First thing there of course was checking the size of the screw and nut that would fit together and on to my cameras (which these 6mm screw does). Because I thought it would be the one thing that coul really FUBAR the whole project I drilled the holes within the core in the staff and in to "The Hat" before anything else.

But only bit by bit and did a lot of the fine work wih the dremel. The Nut-Mount in "The Hat" particular held firm after I hammered it in there. I didn't want these fittings to loosely. I started with "normal" glue but this did not hold, so I used some two component-super-glue... which did the trick. (But I had to file lose my screw after it set... so don't spill as much as I did ;)

Before gluing it firmly in place I fixed the screw (the nut was held firmly) so that it would flow with the movement of the wood and follow my cut. This worked surprisingly well. I would say if I can do it so can you.  

Also I used quite a long screw and decided to screw two nuts already on it so the  empty space between wood and screw shrank and only a little glue was needed. 

The Latch Mechanism 

One sleepless night I was playing with some wire and after that I had a working latch design, which I used right away. This just happend... so no "manual" other than the pictures  of the "closing mechanism".

Step 3: Inside the Hat / Watch & Compass

The Compass

I found the perfect size compass first so I started with this one. Marked a general outline of the item on the wood. And sanded it away with the dremel. Until it was deep enough to house the modified compass. 

The Watch

I bought a new one was not verry lucky on my thrift-store search.  Again outlined the size and used the dremel again but this time with the appropriate attachment to carve the outline. I guess with a little more patience you can make a fairly pretty niche.

How to keep it together

I am perfectly sure that there are other and prettier ways to keep these items from falling out. But I actually had only two requirements. It had to be at hand (no buying) and wanted it to be removable.  The hinge and the two picture-frame holders done the trick in my opinion.


Since after the installment of the items the two parts did not align as well anymore I decided to fill the gap with a few leather snippets. 

Step 4: The End

After another round of some sanding and carving I decided that this project has reached it's end. It has not yet all the bells and whistels I was hoping for but it is darn good. (I think) 

The staff is a little bit shorter now and I decided to carve a second handgrip, for several reasons. Telescoping, "fighting" and for fun. 

Wrapped both handgrips with the same leather strips already used to braid the "holding straps" for the sholder strap. Once I learn something I tend to use it twice... and never again... ;) 

Step 5: Leather Strap (Optional)

Ok the leather strap I deemed optional because I myself am not yet sure if it will be included in the final version. 

But I already made it. And it is quite easy. Is still have to waterproof the leather with something... 

Now I think most of you can braid ... it is actually quite simple and probably you will find a lot of great instructables. 

Below you see the sample that was created for me to experiment if it would work. 

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