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Walkingstick Craft Making Walking "wood blanks" from natural good tree Sticks
Walkingstick Crafting and Making your Stick
Crafting a walkingstick may seem fairly straightforward yet the process remains often difficult. The initial idea of crafting a stick or cane begins with collecting a “blank” from a local source such as a forest or hedgerow. A blank exists as the starting block for crafting a walkingstick. It’s a long piece of straight wood collected from a natural source that’s then dried over a period of a year or more, before crafting turns the blank into a walkingstick.
Blanks usually come from Hazel, Birch, Cherry, Blackthorn, Ash, Oak and Holly. All of these woods make excellent walking sticks. Theses woods also make excellent walkingstick handles. Handle preparation is an essential part of making your walking stick and really is about personal choice as to what material you opt for.
A blank should ideally appear as straight as possible, which may seem obvious, but part of the art of crafting a walkingstick (or cane as there sometimes called) is locating a straight stick to begin with. It’s possible to artificially straighten blanks, but starting with a straight blank makes life a lot easier. In the ideal world of stick making straight blanks remain the best.
Tools Required for Making a Walking Stick
Tools you will need include:
- Gloves for your personal protection
- A small saw, folding wood types remain preferable
- A small spade or shovel at get at root knobs (root knobs make excellent handles, especially when sourcing Blackthorn sticks)
Locating a straight blank remains the toughest part of walkingstick crafting. Searching amongst the many forest of your local area will reveal many sources, yet the sticks often appear bent beyond practical use. However keep searching, as you will find a great straight stick sooner or later.
Crafting a walkingstick video showing how to make
Finding "Blanks" for making a Walking Stick
The ideal time for locating and cutting your stick’s during the winter months. Through the winter no sap rises into the branches from the roots (where it resides to protect the tree) making the wood dryer and less prone to splitting. Cut the stick at a slant to protect the tree. The sloped cut edge on the tree will allow rainwater to run off, rather than pooling, which will potentially rot the tree.
Ideal locations include disused railway tracks and forests. As your chosen wood needs to compete with other trees for sunlight, it will shoot up quickly and relatively straight. Often hedges hide sticks that have naturally warped, becoming extremely cooked, and will not make suitable walkingsticks.
The final walkingstick length’s usually around 36" inches so cut 4"-6" inches each side as an extra to allow for splitting and shaping as necessary. You will always cut the walkingstick later on to a suitable length.
Curing a stick and looking for handles
Identify the tree and look at all angles to make sure the stick’s straight and free from marks or blemishes. Often a branch will rub against a stronger branch creating abrasions with a rough mottled area. This will unfortunately affect the natural finished beauty of your crafted stick.
Try to avoid branches that have strong sized offshoots as thick as the one you’re cutting. The knots will create a weakness to your stick. They may however provide good material for crafting walkingstick handles.
Drying your stick properly remains essential for crafting your walkingstick at a later stage. To cure your blank hang it straight from a piece of string in a cool dark place like a garage, ideally a constant temperature provides better, more effective cuing. Don’t lay your walkingstick blank flat as any weight will cause it to bow.
Leave smaller twigs about 2-3 inches from your main stick, if cut too short they will shrink into the stick over the curing period leaving a pock-marked stick.
Master walkingstick stickdresser craftsman at work
My Other Walkingstick hub you may find interesting
- Making a Walking Stick - Crafting Choosing and Cutting Wood
How to make a walking stick from natural wood or stick. Ideally for gifts presents a cane lasts a lifetime. Walkingsticks and canes a simple craft while learning how to make a craft leads to hours of enjoyable memories amongst nature.
- Making A Walking Stick Handle Crafted From Natural Sources
How to craft walking stick handles for your walkingstick poles and canes. An integral wood work skill helping you make walking sticks that last a lifetime. Handles can be made from horn, antler, alabaster and other natural woods. Bring your cane or