Even if you’re a casual hiker, a walking stick can make you feel like a wilderness expert. However, there’s more to this device than its appearance. When you use one of these nifty poles, you can improve balance and maintain stability. Plus, your joints won’t feel so worn down. As a result, you can adventure all day long without any repercussions.
You don’t have to spend a dime to create a personalized staff.
1. Find a Suitable Branch
Head outside to a wooded area so you can find the right stick. You’ll want to choose a downed branch that’s completely dry and free of cracks or knots. Its diameter shouldn’t be too thick — 1 or 2 inches around works well. That said, some individuals require more support, so your ideal pole may be a little heavier. Also, check that there’s no rot or infestations. Your wood needs to be completely sturdy.
If you want extra assistance, make two hiking sticks. This way, you can burn even more calories as you walk briskly and confidently.
2. Trim Twigs and Strip Bark
Once you’ve found a proper branch, you’ll want to remove any twigs and bark. Put on a pair of gloves and use a blade to slice down and away from your body. When you’re satisfied, hold your stick as if you were about to walk. This way, you can locate your grip. Create a few shallow groves for your fingers.
Then, it’s time to sand. Start with 80-grit sandpaper to smooth lines and knobs efficiently. Afterward, move to 220-grit sandpaper.
Use a tack rag to remove excess sawdust. You could also drill a hole at the top of your staff for a wrist strap.
3. Decorate Your Pole
After you’ve established a clean surface, you can decorate your pole. Popular ideas include twisted grips and painted designs. It’s also common to construct a special knob. Some people like to carve their names and important dates. You should use your hiking stick at a 90-degree angle for maximum agility, so it helps to have a secure handle at the top of your staff.
Get as creative and crafty as you want. Make sure you’re satisfied with your pole completely. When you apply a stain and finish, it’ll be challenging to go back and make changes.
4. Apply a Finish
Hang up your stick and place a cup underneath. Then, soak a rag in your oil of choice and apply it all over your staff. Follow the included instructions and let it dry completely. You could also choose to stain your pole and seal it with a varnish. Either way, once finished, use a fine sandpaper to sand your stick. This step will result in a glossy seal.
If you added a hole at the top of your staff, now’s the time to add a leather strap. Tie a secure knot so it’s snug against your wrist. This way, it won’t be able to fall out of your hands as you hike.
Use These Tips to Craft the Perfect Walking Stick
Follow this guide to create your very own wooden hiking stick. You’ll be ready to conquer any trail in no time.
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington