Hiking Stick Art - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Hiking Stick Art

So, I make hiking sticks - problem is with hiking sticks, it's really hard to get a good picture of the entire stick, so I just go with the detail...


This one is Juniper with a lab-created turquoise/copper shot inlay. Red Mahogany stain and hand-rubbed poly varnish.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 08:55 PM
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Whoa..............that be nice. Looks to good to be walking through the woods with

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-22-2019, 11:57 PM
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Nicely done, Steve!

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post #4 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
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Why thanks, guys! I'll post more pics later, but I didn't come here to show my work, I actually have questions that I'm hoping I can find answers for.

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post #5 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 07:54 AM
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By all means post some more photos of your work, that is a fantastic idea. Some of my sticks crack, which don't bother me but it might others, and that would be a good way to make it look intentional.

I love the way you did your's that does look great. Care to share how you did that?

I don't sell mine, I just give them to folks around here who need them. I don't make many though.

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post #6 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, so here is my process. I go out camping or hiking. I find a stick that I like. I look for sticks that are downed (not attached to anything) and that have unique features. Cracks, burns, have been worked before, etc. I prefer to work with Juniper, as the grain is really beautiful when finished, it's a medium hard wood so it has good strength while not being too difficult to work. However, I've used Pine, Aspen, Oak, and recently got some sticks from a friend that were collected along Lake Michigan. I'm in Arizona, so most of my work reflects that, but I'm game to try any wood. Inlay materials are Turquoise, either lab-created or natural, Green Opal, Brass or Copper filings, Malachite, Pipestone, Garnet (so far). I'm fortunate that there is a local rock shop that processes all sorts of materials into sands and powders, and that is where I get my supplies.


So I really just googled how to do inlay and I found a few sites/videos that gave me a start - of course they make it look far easier than it is and it's always a flat surface. Which is why I decided to join this site in hopes that maybe I can pick up some advice on how to refine my technique. Here is a recent stick I found and finished - I found the stick on the rim of Canyon Creek in northern Arizona. It had been burned in a huge fire, the Chediski fire of 2002 that combined with another fire torched nearly 470,000 acres of prime ponderosa forest. I wanted to retain the characteristics of the burn scars, so I had to fill and sand carefully. I first trim off any large knots, twigs or other stuff that gets in the way of sanding. Then, I do the first fill of whatever material I choose, in this case, natural Turquoise from a local mine. I carve my brand into the stick and fill it too. For the fill, I've taken to using a medium CA first, then I let it dry, pack in the filling material, using a larger grain first (sand). I then set it with a fast setting CA and generally let it cure for a few days. After this, I sand it to smooth to the stick and bring the fill down and I think the term is "proud", typically with a 60-80 grit. Often, because of the larger sand, there will be voids in the material and tiny cracks that it won't fit into, so I follow with a powder, pushing it into the cracks and voids and setting with fast setting CA. Finally, I sand to finish. I start with 100-120 grit and work my up through 180-220, the goal is to remove as much glue stain as possible while polishing the inlay. Finally, I will finish with some varnish, with this stick, I used Formby's Tung Oil. I hand-rub the oil, let it dry and lightly sand with 300+ grit to polish. I typically do 3-5 coats like this. By this time, I often have around 10-20 hours into a single piece.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Also, the pictures really don't do my sticks justice. I try to work with the stick and get inspired for the filling and finish. Often, I develop a close relationship with the stick and each one I make is hard to part with. I know that sounds kinda weird, but I'd like to think that guys that put a lot of hard work and love into their projects have similar feelings. :-)

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 11:08 AM
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wow - - - is about all I have for words at the moment !!
you have set the bar pretty high, Steve, for anyone that wants
a personalized walking stick.
I am all over anything that has turquoise and silver in it !!!

"A stick, by any other name, is still just a stick"
this simply is not true anymore !!!

awesome craftsmanship and job well done.

.

.

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by welikecamping View Post
Also, the pictures really don't do my sticks justice. I try to work with the stick and get inspired for the filling and finish. Often, I develop a close relationship with the stick and each one I make is hard to part with. I know that sounds kinda weird, but I'd like to think that guys that put a lot of hard work and love into their projects have similar feelings. :-)
Buddy I am the same way, after spending so much time on a project, I hate to part with it, it does feel like a part of me.

Thank you for spending so much time and effort explaining how you do your inlays and create your art, I, for one, do appreciate it. That is some beautiful work. I had no idea that there were places you could buy the sand.

Oh before I forget, are there honey suckle thickets out your way? If so go in the thicket and see if you can find some sticks the vines have wrapped around, they make some of the most beautiful twisted sticks.
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Last edited by BigJim; 11-23-2019 at 12:47 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-23-2019, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Check around with local rock shops - if nothing else, you can build your own stamp mill, or pound the rock manually, but imho, that is far too much work to be worth it. I've tried an old cast-iron skillet and a 5# sledge trying to pound gravel into sand and it's loud and tedious.
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-25-2019, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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My latest creation - I think it was an Aspen sapling that was found by a friend at a campsite in the White Mountains of AZ. He challenged me to make it into a walking stick and I took him up on it. I'm sticking with Aspen - filled with Turquoise from a local mine and finished with Minwax Poly. I don't generally stain my sticks, as I want to retain as much of the natural characteristics as possible. Lab approved by Beau -



I've already started on my next stick, a piece of Aspen found in the Tres Rios area of the White Mountains, hence it will be called "Tres Rios". I'm still in the filling stages, but I will post pics soon.
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