The walking stick is one of the simplest inventions and it remains among the most reliable.
One sturdy stick can help you keep your balance, give you support, and even assist you in keeping people at an arm’s length.
There’s no age or gender to walking sticks. Anyone from the hikers to shepherd boys can lean on the strength of a walking cane.
Perhaps one of the best things about a walking cane is that you can fashion this trusty friend with your own two hands. From selecting the wood to polishing it, you can make an entirely customized and one-of-a-kind walking cane for yourself.
Let’s learn how to do it.
How to Make A Walking Cane?
With the help of this foolproof guide, not only will you learn to make a walking cane specific to your needs but you will have an enjoyable and fulfilling experience along the way too.
With these simple and easy-to-follow instructions, your walking cane will be ready to use in just a few days.
1. Finding a Blank
A blank refers to an old and dried-up bit of wood which makes the perfect base for your walking cane. You can either go to a local shop or choose a more adventurous method and head out to the forest.
Your walking cane will be as good as the stick you choose for it. We suggest taking your time and choosing a branch or limb that meets all of the requirements of a good walking cane.
Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when you are strolling the woods looking for your raw material.
- Contrary to popular opinion, the last thing that matters when you are looking for a stick is its shape. Matter of fact, the more uniquely shaped your branch is, the more personality and distinction it will have. The crookedness of the branch doesn’t affect its ability to maintain stability. Therefore you can choose a stick of any shape.
- While any sturdy and strong branch will do, some trees such as ash, oak, birch, hazel, elder, blackthorn and holly are excellent sources for your walking cane.
- The rule for the height of a walking cane is very specific and strict. If you are a hiker and need support on uneven terrains, your blank must reach up to your shoulders. However, if you like to use a walking cane during daily walks, choose a branch that stretches from the floor up to your wrist.
- The diameter of the stick should be large enough to support your weight but not too heavy to carry with you everywhere.
- Some sticks have branches extending from them. It is entirely up to you to keep or reject them. The extra branches do help to create natural handles or a foothold at the end.
- The wood must be clear of rot and major infestations. Minor infestations aren’t a problem and help to create unique patterns on your walking cane.
- The blank for your walking cane should be strong and robust. One way to test the branch’s sturdiness is to hook one end of it into a corner and press hard on the other end. If the branch snaps in half or bends too much, it is not good enough for use as a walking cane.
Once you have found the perfect blank for your walking cane, it is time to start working on it.
2. Tools You Need to Make a Walking Cane
Safety is paramount when working with wood. You need to make sure that you have all the tools and safety guards in place when making a walking cane from scratch. Here are some things you need to acquire:
- Safety gloves
- Box cutter/pocket knife
- Drill machine
- Coarse and fine sandpaper
- Cotton rag
- Paint thinner
- Wood stain
3. Making the Walking Stick
Make your first walking stick as simple as possible with more attention on the functionality. Once you have gained some experience with your first walking stick, you can then get creative and add embellishments to give it more style.
The first step is to clean the bark and strip it if needed. Using a box cutter or a pocket knife, and chop off all the extra limbs and knobs, strip off the extended bark, and round off the rough edges. Once the stick is smooth and perfect to work on, go to the next step.
Hold your stick the same way you would hold it when using it for support. Take notice of the place where your fingers grip it. In that exact spot, carve some shallow grooves for your fingers to have a better hold.
If you favor the wrist loop, drill a ¼-inch hole right above the grip area.
At this stage, if you’ve chosen a blank that is still green, leave it in a dry place for over 2 weeks. Turn it now and then to make sure that it doesn’t become brittle.
If your blank is already dry and old, it is time to smooth it with coarse sandpaper. The more thorough you are at this stage, the finer and more polished the result will be. After smoothening it with coarse sandpaper, finish it off with fine sandpaper.
Now take a rag, dip it in a paint thinner and wipe off the stick.
At this stage, you can show off your artistic talent and carve figures, emblems, and whatever you like onto your blank.
Once done, apply a coat of wood stain and leave it to dry. Once dried, apply another layer to give it a rich textured hue. To ensure durability, apply two coats of clear urethane varnish. Allow each coat to dry before application. For a seamless finish, lightly sand the stick between coats.
Once done, use lace or a heavy cord and insert it into the drilled hole and make a loop for your wrist. Adjust the size to your wrist so then it is neither too tight nor too loose.
Enjoy your very own handmade walking stick. Every time you make one, not only will you get more creative but you will also learn a little more about woodworking.