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Make You Own Hiking Staff

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Lol! I'd like the plans,


But I'm waiting for El Diablo to post again saying


"You want the plans? Well then you'll have to read next month's today's cacher..."

I may do an article in Today's Cacher, but for now I'm going to tell you how here. So if there are questions I can answer them for all to see.


Keep in mind that this could be a long process, especially if you start with green wood. So lets start with the wood selection first.


You need to decide what type of wood you want to use. Hardwoods work best such as Hickory, Poplar, Cherry and Aspen. Other hardwoods such as Oak and Maple are beautiful, but too heavey to lug around. However if you just want to make a display staff these will work well. Do not use Pine. The sap will seep out forever.


Where do you find the wood to start with? You want to look for a sapling, not a branch. Most branches are usually too crooked. You can either find one in the woods that has already died and cured, or you can cut a green one yourself. The best place to find a green one is where lots are being cleared for construction. You will often see huge piles of trees where the dozers have pushed them up into a pile.


This is the perfect time of the year to get a green one. The sap is running and it makes it very easy to debark...like peeling a banana. If you get one that is already dead, debarking can be a pain. I use a large utility knife to cut it off.


Once you find your staff you will need to decide the length and diameter. Keep in mind that when you debark it and cure it, it will be slightly smaller. Also cut it at least 6 inches longer than you need to compensate for splitting that normally occurs at the top or the bottom of the staff as it cures. Also if you use a dead one you may find that when you debark it that there are splits that are hidden by the bark...go get another one. You might want to gather up several just to hedge your bets when something goes wrong.


As soon as you select your staff, debark it. If it's green you will need to give it about 6 weeks to cure. While curing lay the staff flat and turn daily to help prevent warpping. Select a location that is dry and sheltered from the weather to cure. A garage or shed will work great. If it warps don't panic! I have a cure for that.


I'll give more instructions next week after everyone has had a chance to find a staff. I also have an online source if you just can't find one, but they will cost you about 15.00 plus shipping. If you need that send me an email.


Any questions?


El Diablo

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Thanks for the first part. I'll take a trip this weekend to find a suitable piece of wood to start with. I like the way Madrona looks, but is it a hardwood? How can I tell?

Doing a Google search on the Madrona, it dosen't appear to be a good wood to use. It said when the wood dried it became brittle.


El Diablo

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I have a tip to keep the ends from checking (splitting) after you cut a piece of green wood. Take any type of wood glue, perferably something water-proof, I use tightbond II, and coat the ends with a generous helping. That will seal the ends so they won't crack while drying. I cut down alot of trees and quarter them out so that I have staves to make self-bows out of. I haven't had one crack on me to date. I let my bow staves dry for over a year before I start carving out my bows. There is merit in letting the wood dry and rotating it. If you have an especially nice peice of wood you don't want to mess up on, TAKE YOUR TIME AND LET IT DRY!


I'm not trying to steal El Diablo's thunder, just thought I would share my 2 cents worth of knowledge.



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Some crafts store sell wood (Michaels for those in the states). I used bamboo myself, as they are hollow and can be used as compartments to store things such as, matches, string, extra batteries, etc. I even had a light on the top that was powered so at night I could still see to some degree. Some people saw the staff last year when I was at events. The bamboo cost me I believe 3 bucks if that much.

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would a cedar stick about 6 ft long and 2-2.5 in in diameter be acceptable. I only need the top of it to be big and I can make a re-creation of Gandalfs staff. it is quite heavy but when i trim the lower portions of it down to about 1 in i am sure it will be of an acceptable weight.


What is a Flaired Root? ;)

Edited by Team Flying Dachshund
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Don't need no stinkin' hikin' staff,

cause I got a beautiful one

from some guy named El Diablo. 


Oh, wait...never mind.  :unsure:  :lol:  :blink:

So do I. Except, I haven't received it yet. I could have used it yesterday, helping me to push my way out of the holes I dug myself into by spinning my wheels in some very soft/wet dirt. I'm patient, though. Yeah, patient. Oh, who am I kidding?


Actually, El Diablo has been brainstorming a way to attach a "grabber" onto the top of my hiking staff so I can push/pull caches that I can't quite reach.


If I didn't know El D-Meister is so busy, I'd pester him about getting my hiking staff. However, I'm not one to lock a gift mouse in the hearse... :lol:


<hint>Still, I'm anxious to get it. </hint> :lol:

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Thanks for the first part El Diablo!...look forward to seeing the rest...


I have a question on length though...how tall should the walking stick be? I am very tall (6'10"...hence the name) so I want to make sure I find one long enough for me...


Thanks again El Diablo



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Thanks for the first part El Diablo!...look forward to seeing the rest...


I have a question on length though...how tall should the walking stick be? I am very tall (6'10"...hence the name) so I want to make sure I find one long enough for me...


Thanks again El Diablo



I lika them shoulder high. So take your height and subtract a foot.


El Diablo

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Sounds like fun.


Can you link to your source for buying the sticks?


Up here we have Birch, Spruce, and Alder, and cottonwood trees. Don't think any of them would make a good stick.

Birch would probably work.


You can find some staffs at Treeline USA


I've never bought one from there so I can't promise what you will end up with. I buy the majority of my supplies from them and they are a good company. This is where I get my compasses, rubber tips, and the hook and latch system I use for the wrist strap.


The only drawback I see to the staffs are that they come in predetermined lengths and may not be long enough for you.


El Diablo

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Read up a few posts, happy cachers! El Diablo has already given you the directions to the first part to get you started. Part one


There is no "list". Looks like he's giving directions in this thread.

What he said.


I just typed out a long 2nd part and lost it. I'll re-do it in word and paste it here tomorrow.


El Diablo

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Sorry Im late on posting this, but I’ve been traveling a lot. On to the 2nd part of creating your own hiking staff.


These are the tools you are going to need.

1. Sandpaper. Fine and Coarse.

2. A sander unless you want to spend a lot of time doing it by hand.

3. A roll of Masking tape.

4. A Utility Knife.

5. An Electric Engraver, or a battery operated one.

6. A variable speed Moto Tool.

7. A small wood carving bit for the Moto Tool.

8. A small can of wood stain. Your choice of color.

9. A small can of polyurethane. I use a clear gloss.

10. 1 inch foam brushes. You’ll probably use 3 of them.

11. Acrylic paint. You can use enamel, but I find Acrylic better. You will need the colors of the logo, and whatever color you are going to do your name in.

12. A small artist brush and brush cleaner.

13. The most important of all...a lot of patience!


By now you should have found the staff you wish to work with. After it has been debarked and cured, you need to sand it down to a smooth finish. I accomplish this by sanding first with a coarse grit paper followed by a fine grit to make it smooth. I use a Black&Decker Mouse sander. If you choose to do it by hand you have a lot of work cut out for yourself.


After it is sanded it’s time to put on the Geocaching logo and the name you want on your staff. I used to use a plastic template for the logo that I made. Then I realized that Geocaching.com provided the perfect template for free. Go to Geo Logo and choose the logo you want to use and print it out. You may have to scale down the size to make it fit on the staff. I use the black&white logo.


After you have printed it out, use a utility knife and cut the logo out. Leave a 1/4 inch border around it. Now take and position on the staff where you want it and tape it into place. Now use your engraver to go over the outline of the logo. Remove the paper logo and tape and you should have a perfect outline of the Geocaching logo.


Depending upon the type of wood you chose to work with, either a soft or a very hard wood will decide the tools you need. If you have a soft wood (you can test this by pressing your thumbnail into the wood. If it leaves a dent, it is soft.) You can finish out your carving by using the engraver. Going over the outline several times until you reach the depth that pleases you. If it is a hard wood you will need the Moto Tool. I mentioned above to use a variable speed Moto Tool. The fixed speed Moto Tool is too fast to control. Unless you are better than I am. In which case, knock yourself out. Start off at a slow speed and gradually carve the outline of the logo. This is a critical step, and is where all can go wrong. The wood bit on the Moto Tool will try to follow the wood grain and if you are not careful you will destroy your staff. The same goes for the Engraver. Use extreme patience during this process.


After you have the Logo done it’s time to do your name. Print your name out on paper using the font you want and the size you desire. I use bold print with a size 72 font. Use center justification and type the letters so they run down the page, not side by side. After you have printed it out, follow the same procedures as you did for the logo.


I use small hooks that I screw into the top and bottom of the staff. I then hang the staff from the rafters of my shop on string to begin the staining process. Use the foam brush and stain the staff. Let the stain set for 15 minutes and wipe the entire staff with a paper towel. Repeat this process until you reach the shade desired. You will find the bottom hook useful for turning the staff while doing this.


After the stain has dried, it’s time to paint the staff. When the paint has dried, put you first coat of poly on. The poly will typically take about 2 hours to dry. After the first coat if you run your hand up and down the staff you will notice that it feels gritty. Use your fine sand paper to lightly sand it smooth (By hand. Not with a sander!) . Then repeat the poly process at least 3 times.


All you need now is a wrist strap and a rubber tip. You can find those here Treeline USA. Also the sell unfinished hiking staffs if you haven’t found you own yet.


Any questions, let me know.


El Diablo

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Another tool you can add use is a wood burner tool. (it looks like a soldering iron)


Like the engraver and Moto Tool it will want to follow grain of the wood, so go slow, and practice first on scrap wood. It takes a while to get use to working on the rounded edges.

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