Intro: Shillelagh | Walking Stick
Typically a thick stick of oak or blackthorn, used as a walking stick or club. Prominent in Ireland and irish folklore.
I came across an excellent walking stick with a kurl-type knot at the top. As I was collecting more sticks along a trail, an older lady complimented me on my "shillelagh". After asking what meant, I had my inspiration!
Step 1: Pick Your Stick
Primarily made of a hardwood, the single defining trait is the straightness
Walking along rivers and streams, where waterlogged wood drifts down, is a good place to start
Abandoned beaver dams can hold a goldmine, just be wary of where you stick your hands!
First picture are good examples, second picture are the undesirables
I'll walk a good ways with a candidate before deciding to keep it or toss it to the woods
4-5 feet tall
Generally straight with no major branching off
Comfortable to hold in hand
Weak or rotten wood
Step 2: De-bark and Exfoliate
Be it knife or a bark scraping tool, remove the bark and and soft areas of wood, usually around any knots jutting out.
Steel wool or sandpaper helps smooth any rough areas or uneven patches
Step 3: Smooth and Shape
An oscillating tool was used to remove extra branches, and then to sand it smooth.
Trim the height of the stick so when your arm is perpendicular to your body, it ends at the top of your hand
You're not gandalf. If it's too tall, it just adds weight and makes it cumbersome.
Step 4: Seal the End and Add Designs
Typically the end of a walking stick is capped in metal, but I find wood burning to be an effective alternative.
It also lets me expand my artistic talent by trying out different designs
Experimenting to find your style is a must
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Take a torch to the wood, char it up, then rub beeswax on it. A rag can rub out the soot and leave a beautiful finish with matte effect.
Adding stain or clear coat can really bring out the wood layers and subtly designs.
A simple lanyard made from 18" leather cord and two drill bits (1/8th and 1/4th) is both stylish and functional
Step 6: Show It Off
No two trees are the same. It goes double for walking sticks! Use your artistic talent, hidden or not, and create your own travel tool!
Any number to tools can be used to create and add effects, and there's virtually no limit!
If you liked this or had inspiration, let me know, and VOTE!!!