Hiking staffs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 08-30-2019, 09:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hiking staffs

been thinking about making one or two..Any suggestions for good advice?
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-30-2019, 10:58 PM
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I made two out of Red Oak in 1983 and they were used by a friend and I in Yosemite for about 45 miles in the back country. They've been used off and on a dozen times since and are still holding up. If I get a chance tomorrow I'll take a photo and post here.

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post #3 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 12:06 AM
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A long time ago, I was an avid backpacker.

I would pick up hiking sticks off the forest ground until I found one I liked. I would use it until I found a better one or I didn't like it anymore. The last one I used is still in the tall bin in the corner of the garage with the other long things - the flag pole, the pipe clamps, various posts and decorations, etc.
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post #4 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 06:06 AM
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That is one of my hobbies. I love to whittle and carve and have quite a few hiking poles and walking sticks I have made. If you want to call it made.

Most of mine are from twisted sticks that I have found in honeysuckle thickets. The vines wrap around the sticks and the sticks grow and they look like a snake wrapped around the stick. The bark is removed in places to look like a snake. I have several photos somewhere, If I can find them I will post some of them.
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 07:14 AM
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My wife's grandfather carved this one. The snake is the vine that grew around the staff. these are our walking staffs. One was from a dogwood tree from my yard, and the other was a piece of Laurel my wife picked up at a trail head. She likes the crook in it because it's comfortable to her.
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post #6 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 09:13 AM
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Dogwood too

I made a couple when I was doing some back packing with the scouts. I made one from dogwood also. I removed the bark and wrapped the top with a tennis racket wrap or bicycle handle bar wrap. This felt better than the wood. added a leather shoe lace to the top. I used a round head screw with a washer on it on the bottom to help protect it from wear from trail rocks and the like. They helped me steady myself when walking but also handy around the camp site. One use was using it so two people could carry a 2 gallon water container.
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 10:19 AM
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I had a friend that made walking staffs and canes. He liked diamond willow and made special trips to acquire the material.
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post #8 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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wow, you guys are great, so much good ideas. I have watched a video on how to find the right tree in the wild, but he said, it could only be done certain times of the year and made it sound so complicated.....and I saw the book by that Irish lady,,, but it didnít seem to answer me.

I know I can just pick up a stick in the woods like you suggested, but yesterday I saw a man walking with one,,, looked like the bark was stripped from it, and he had done some carving on the handle end..

I do like the idea of a round head screw with a washer on the bottom,,, seems better looking than a rubber tip.
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post #9 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 01:36 PM
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Red Oak, 56" tall, full 4/4, edges rounded over with hand plane and tapering to nearly round at the bottom, finished in a couple of coats of Tru-Oil. Made in 1983 and used extensively without any touch up or repairs. The hand strap loop is 1" nylon webbing used for rock climbing. This staff is strong enough to use as a vaulting pole as necessary in the wilderness.

Hiking staffs-001-walking-staff-red-oak-1983.jpg

Hiking staffs-002-walking-staff-red-oak-nylon-web-strap-1983.jpg

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post #10 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 01:47 PM
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Cut from the ornamental crab apple in our yard
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post #11 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 02:22 PM
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I did find a couple of them and have many more since taking these photos. I usually look for sticks in the fall through winter as they are easier to spot. But they are harder to skin in the winter as the sap has gone from them. In the spring when the sap is rising they skin real easy.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks big Jim,,,,see in the video I saw, he said donít get t hem when the sap is rising,,,didnít make sense

difalkner,,,that gives me a good ides,,,,,just start with a piece of wood and plane it to size...Did you put anything on the bottom of it.?
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post #13 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 05:11 PM
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No sir, you can see in the first photo that it's bare. It has probably been wet a few hundred times and hit on thousands of rocks. All that has managed to just lightly flare the bottom and turn it grayish in color.

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post #14 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 09:26 PM
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Thanks big Jim,,,,see in the video I saw, he said donít get t hem when the sap is rising,,,didnít make sense

difalkner,,,that gives me a good ides,,,,,just start with a piece of wood and plane it to size...Did you put anything on the bottom of it.?
If you get the sticks when the sap is rising, cut the stick 6 inches longer at the top and 6 inches longer than you want at the bottom. The reason is when the sap is rising the wood will split at least 6 inches or so at each end once you skin it and it dries. That way you will have 6 inches on each end you can cut off after it splits.

In the winter you don't have to worry so much about them splitting too much as the sap is down and the sticks are fairly dry. But that bark will be hard to get off. They will spit a little when getting them in the winter, just not as much. I personally don't mind the splitting, it just gives it character.

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post #15 of 25 Old 08-31-2019, 10:46 PM
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This is mine. It is a Cherry sapling that I cut on my property. I started whittling on it about 1990 when camping on the Oregon cost. I still take it every camping trip, every hike and if I can I sit by the fire and whittle some more. All the whittling has been done with a folding buck knife I have had for 50 years, a gift from my bride.
My grandkids argue over who gets Grandpa's walking stick when I die... Ha, they don't know that I am taking it with me on that final trek....



Someday I would like to have a nice diamond willow walking stick.
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post #16 of 25 Old 09-01-2019, 09:54 AM
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This is mine. It is a Cherry sapling that I cut on my property. I started whittling on it about 1990 when camping on the Oregon cost. I still take it every camping trip, every hike and if I can I sit by the fire and whittle some more. All the whittling has been done with a folding buck knife I have had for 50 years, a gift from my bride.
My grandkids argue over who gets Grandpa's walking stick when I die... Ha, they don't know that I am taking it with me on that final trek....



Someday I would like to have a nice diamond willow walking stick.
That is nice, I like to carve spirit faces also. I also would love to have a Diamond Willow stick one day. I was talking to a fellow up around Alaska and he said there were a lot of them up that way. He said he would send me one, until I told him he could sell them. So much for that. lol

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post #17 of 25 Old 09-01-2019, 11:38 AM
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That is nice, I like to carve spirit faces also. I also would love to have a Diamond Willow stick one day. I was talking to a fellow up around Alaska and he said there were a lot of them up that way. He said he would send me one, until I told him he could sell them. So much for that. lol

Lots for sale on E-bay but they get pricey....

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post #18 of 25 Old 09-01-2019, 03:23 PM
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Lots for sale on E-bay but they get pricey....
Ain't that the truth, I looked, but I will just keep on wishing. lol

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post #19 of 25 Old 09-01-2019, 04:10 PM
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Ain't that the truth, I looked, but I will just keep on wishing. lol
You might try this site. https://www.itascawoodproducts.com/d...product_id=510 Not sure what is considered expensive but 20 bucks for a 6’ staff doesn’t sound all that bad. I’ll spend lot more than that on an 8” x 8” exotic wood blank to turn on the lathe.
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-01-2019, 04:25 PM
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A staff I made for our daughter from a piece of diamond willow I got at a street fair in Anchorage AK. All I did was drill a hole at the top, a little sanding and finished with poly I think. I made a cane from another piece of diamond willow I got at the same time but she has it with her so no pics. I canít remember how much I paid for the diamond willow. I bought three pieces about twenty years ago.
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