Don’t Buy a Hiking Stick – Make Your Own

Hiking sticks can be expensive, why not make your own.  The only tool you really need is a sturdy pocket knife.  A three inch blade is long enough to get the job done, but make sure that the knife is solidly built.  Also make sure that it has a locking blade.

What about the wood for your hiking stick?  Any type of wood that you have available will probably work just fine, but you need to know the differences.  A hardwood hiking stick can be beautiful when carved and polished, but these tend to be a bit heavier and they require a lot of work to carve.  These walking sticks are better suited for decorating your cabin.

A great wood to use is poplar.  It is easy to work with and tends to be a bit lighter.  If you can find young poplars in an over-crowded stand, cutting a few will not hurt the forest.  If you cut during the spring or early summer, the bark almost peels off.

Another great wood to carve with is Northern White Cedar.  It is a harder wood, so tougher to carve, but it is straight, beautiful and very light.  Many dead young cedars can be found in cedar swamps.  Cedar last a very long time are not susceptible to rotting as other types of trees.

How to Make Your Hiking Stick

Find a straight young tree in an area that can use some thinning out.  Cut it down with a bow saw or other type of tree saw.  Make sure to cut it a little longer than you want your finished product to be.

So, how long is long enough?  A rule of thumb is to make the hiking stick come up just below your armpit.  But, there are really no hard and fast rules.  If you want a seven foot ornate walking stick, then go for it.  Although, I will tell you that one that tall will get caught on low hanging branches.

When using your knife to remove the bark, always cut away from yourself.  Narrow the bottom down, but not to a point.  Carve the top to your preference: flat, round or spiral.  Use your imagination and create to your heart’s content.  Once you have carved all of the decorations into your hiking stick, take some sandpaper and smooth it out.  A lot of people will then either stain or put a poly acrylic finish on it.  You can leave it natural or apply these finishes.

If you do start with green wood, you need to let it dry for a few weeks before carving on it.  It may be easier to carve on a walking stick while it is green, but when it does dry out, it may twist and warp.

You can attach a piece of leather using a small nail to the bottom of the stick.  This will help keep it from splitting while using it.  To hold onto it easier while on the trail, you can wrap a cloth or piece of leather to make a grip around the top.  You can glue or staple it to the wood.  Another good embellishment is a leather wrist strap.  Drill a hole through the top of the hiking stick and attach a leather strand to it, creating a large loop and tie it off.

Other creative ideas include: Using a wood burner to add designs, drill a hole in the tip and add a glass or metal ball.  You can mark inch measurements on it.  Glue a small compass to the top.

As you can see, making a hiking stick is not hard.  The best thing to use is your imagination.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.