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Make You Own Hiking Staff


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Mr. El Diablo,

 

Are you still selling your geo-hiking sticks? I tried a link that I found but it was dead. I am interested. I would rather have a great custom made stick!

 

-Tom

We're a pretty informal group. Feel free to call him 'El'.

 

Or you can even call me Jerry. No I'm not currently selling hiking staffs so that's why I disabled the web site. I may do so in the future, buty i doubt it will be anytime soon. In the meantime try to follow the instructions on the first couple of pages of this thread and make your own. It will make it a special staff that you will always cherish. If you need help just email me through here or at JC364@aol.com

 

El Diablo

aka: El , ELD or Jerry

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Does anyone have any suggestions for something to wrap around a staff to provide a better grip? I've considered the stuff that's put on a tennis racket handle, but haven't been to a store yet to see if it's sold separately.

 

Mike

 

Go to your local hardware or big box store and pick up some copper tubing insulation. It's usually black and made of foam rubber. You can measure out and cut the length that you need. Then, to install it on your hiking staff, take a utility knife and slice it length-wise, so that when cut it looks like the letter "C" from the end. Wrap it around the staff and secure it with regular black electrical tape. It will protect you from blisters and also serve as a bit of a shock absorber for the palm of your hand.

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After reading this thread several weeks ago, I've been keeping my eyes out for good walking staff/stick material while out caching. I've found a few nice pieces of limps (rather than saplings) because we've had a good winter here and there is a lot of debris on the ground in the forested areas, parks and whatnot. It's just there for the picking. Right now I have two pieces of cider stripped of it's bark and strapped to the supports in my basement, drying and getting some of the bends out, both slowly. I figure by early summer I'll have some fairly straight and dried pieces of wood all ready for the next steps.

I've read up on using my drummel tool and bought a wood burning tool and read up on that craft as well. I'll test on something other than the wood I have first to get a feel for how it carves and burns.

 

As for tracking the staffs, so that others might "discover" them, there are several possibilities without using the special made medallion.

Cut out and insert, glue down and drill holes with small nails, using a standard TB tag. Or, you can also just carve and/or burn a TB tag's ID onto the staff and keep the set at home.

Attached a Geocoin or a GeoGem, both have tracking numbers.

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I like to throw in some more ideas how create a private waking stick. I only use a small swiss army knife to carve the stick. Then I painted it with water color pencils. The good thing is, the wood shines through the color. At the end I varnish the stick three times so that the color is protected from the elements.

 

This was my favorite stick, however it is gone to heaven, broken in two pieces. But in the meanwhile I made a second one that looks similar. I use my own hiking stick every time while hiking and geocaching.

 

702bac64-8fb4-4626-ada1-6e0d3aa2a776.jpg

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For anyone that is looking for embelishments, Landsharkz makes a trackable specifically for walking sticks. http://www.landsharkz.ca/index.php?content...amp;prod_id=445

Hope that link works. That's the BN one they also have a AS one I believe.

 

The link works great, many thanks for the tip.

Check out hike America. They also sell hiking stick medallions from mostly every national parks-, monuments and many many trails. I have the one from the Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Mon., CO attached to my hiking stick.

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Does anyone have any suggestions for something to wrap around a staff to provide a better grip? I've considered the stuff that's put on a tennis racket handle, but haven't been to a store yet to see if it's sold separately.

 

Mike

 

Use leather cord, it's natural and fits better to a wooden hiking stick. Comes in many many colors. You should find it in mostly every craft store. Use small metal staples or cramps to fix the leather cord to the stick.

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Use leather cord, it's natural and fits better to a wooden hiking stick. Comes in many many colors. You should find it in mostly every craft store. Use small metal staples or cramps to fix the leather cord to the stick.

 

Yeah, that sound like the ticket, thanks.

 

jmd65

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I remember reading this what it was first posted, and I just found the perfect branch. I'm almost done debarking it.

What length should a hiking staff be? I'm 6'1". Right now it's around 7 feet, so I know I need to take off well over a foot.

 

It can be as long as you want it.

Take it out in your backyard and walk around with it to see where it feels comfortable. Then add six inches.

 

Just how I would do it, not necessarily the correct way.

 

Cool looking piece of wood you have there.

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Does anyone have any suggestions for something to wrap around a staff to provide a better grip? I've considered the stuff that's put on a tennis racket handle, but haven't been to a store yet to see if it's sold separately.

 

Mike

 

Use leather cord, it's natural and fits better to a wooden hiking stick. Comes in many many colors. You should find it in mostly every craft store. Use small metal staples or cramps to fix the leather cord to the stick.

 

You might want to to try using paracord. I attached mine using french whipping. It provides a very good grip and you can remove it easily if you get into a situation that requires some rope.

 

IMG00019.jpg

 

IMG00020.jpg

 

I can't wait to see what Bitsen will say about french whipping.

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I remember reading this what it was first posted, and I just found the perfect branch. I'm almost done debarking it.

What length should a hiking staff be? I'm 6'1". Right now it's around 7 feet, so I know I need to take off well over a foot.

El Diablo's advice to me was that it should be chin-high. I think that's the measurement he asked for when someone ordered one from him. Of course, if you're making your own, you should make it whatever feels comfortable.

 

Beautiful stick you found there.

Edited by Dinoprophet
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I remember reading this what it was first posted, and I just found the perfect branch. I'm almost done debarking it.

What length should a hiking staff be? I'm 6'1". Right now it's around 7 feet, so I know I need to take off well over a foot.

El Diablo's advice to me was that it should be chin-high. I think that's the measurement he asked for when someone ordered one from him. Of course, if you're making your own, you should make it whatever feels comfortable.

Jerry's advice would certainly be considered expert, but in my experience the length of the staff is less important than the location of the hand grip.

 

Your staff could be eight feet long but the hand grip should be at chin level.

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I can't wait to see what Bitsen will say about french whipping.

 

French Whipping can add a very decorative and functional accessory to any application requiring rope. Many maritime explorers were experts at the art of knot tying and french whipping can be seen often on older sailing ships.

 

(sorry, I felt obliged after that comment)

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I remember reading this what it was first posted, and I just found the perfect branch. I'm almost done debarking it.

What length should a hiking staff be? I'm 6'1". Right now it's around 7 feet, so I know I need to take off well over a foot.

b3ce883f-0da4-4a71-a3ba-b1b4a6bc61c9.jpg

 

Nice peice of wood. I actually made my wife a staff from a peice almost identical. I carved a vine down the length of the staff with purple flowers and then added 5 birds, a cardinal, tuffted titmouse, humming bird, carolina blue bird, and a gold finch. It took me 30 hours of work.

 

As to the lenght...Take your height and substract 10 inches. this should bring it about shoulder height. As was mentioned, the hand grip is the most important. I've found lots of good peices of wood to make staffs, but there was really no place comfortable to place your hand. Also as mentioned, take the staff and walk with it for awhile. I do this with every staff before I start work.

 

El Diablo

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I am not much of a woodworker, but I am having fun with this project (thanks El D. for the instructions... located in this post... in two parts... )

 

My staff is de-barked, cured and sanded so now I am at the staining phase. I noticed you tend to use natural stains on most of your staffs and I wonder if you have ever used a pre-stain treatment on the wood? I want to use a dark stain and I am concerned that it may come out blotchy if I don't use a pre-stain treatment, advice?

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I am not much of a woodworker, but I am having fun with this project (thanks El D. for the instructions... located in this post... in two parts... )

 

My staff is de-barked, cured and sanded so now I am at the staining phase. I noticed you tend to use natural stains on most of your staffs and I wonder if you have ever used a pre-stain treatment on the wood? I want to use a dark stain and I am concerned that it may come out blotchy if I don't use a pre-stain treatment, advice?

 

 

It depends on they type of wood you are working with. Pre-stain treatments are only effective on soft woods.

 

When choosing a stain color keep this in mind, if you choose a color that is drastically different from the woods natural color, scratches and other damage will be more visible. As the wood gets scratched and gouged from use the light color of the wood will be exposed. If you use a natural or very light colored stain it will enhance the natural color of the wood and not get as worn looking as fast as a contrasting stain will.

 

Personally I like to pick wood that has color and characteristics that are appealing then use some natural danish oil or tung oil to enhance that natural beauty of the wood.

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I am not much of a woodworker, but I am having fun with this project (thanks El D. for the instructions... located in this post... in two parts... )

 

My staff is de-barked, cured and sanded so now I am at the staining phase. I noticed you tend to use natural stains on most of your staffs and I wonder if you have ever used a pre-stain treatment on the wood? I want to use a dark stain and I am concerned that it may come out blotchy if I don't use a pre-stain treatment, advice?

 

I've never used a pre-stain. I also shy away from dark stains because it just isn't my taste. I did make a cane once for a friends dad that was a dark redwood that turned out nice. Also keep in mind that the softer the wood the darker the stain will be when applied. If you apply a dark stain to a soft wood it will be greatly darker than you expect. A pre-stain may prevent this, but I really have no experience with it to advise. The best suggestion is to try it on a peice of test wood. I've ruined some very good staffs for failing to do this. Feel free to contacxt me if I can help further JC364@AOL.COM.

 

El Diablo

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My staff is nearly complete! As much as I do appreciate the advice Wooden Cyclist and El Diablo, I really had the urge to use a drastically dark ebony stain on this one. You can't tell in the photos, but it has a luminescent quality to the black (plenty of depth). I did try out technique on a different piece of wood first and I did end up using a pre-stain treatment (totally worth the extra time and effort)! I have a brass cap at the base and have not yet decided on what to use for a grip (suggestions?). I have already started work on my next ones (diamond willow from a friend's land). These new ones I will not be staining in any dark color :) but I will likely be doing some carving on them.

Staff_near_completionred.jpg

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Excellent black stick. I stumbled across this thread looking for different ideas to try on a walking stick.

 

Someone asked about using elm earlier. I used elm to great effect. The inner bark stripped off very easily a day after I stripped the outer bark. I'm not sure how long it really would have taken to dry completely, but I went to work on my elm piece about a week after stripping the inner bark. Elm was a nice choice -- the inner bark left the remaining piece very smooth and easy to work with.

 

For black stain...I went with an ebony stain, but the white elm showed too much through it. I ended up using a few coats of India ink, and that worked very well. For oak (which would be heavy), you can soak nails in vinegar for a couple of weeks, strain, then wipe the vinegar on the oak. Iron reacts with the tannins in the oak to produce a permanent chemical reaction that stains the wood black.

 

A razor cutter is a heck of a suggestion. I carry one with me at all times, and it was an invaluable tool. I didn't use an engraver, but I did print out letters and cut them from the paper, taped them to the stick, and traced the outline with the razor cutter. I carved out everything that remained. It's very difficult with letters like A and R where you have a space in the middle.

 

Anyway, here's the result. I only put one coat of polyurethane on it...I'm currently making another one for a friend in which I'll probably put on several thin coats. The finish just doesn't show very well in this here picture. I still have a couple of hiking medallions to tack to it, and I saw some paracord weaving here that gave me some additional ideas.

 

30026_1376757030400_1576095339_874636_3442456_n.jpg30026_1376789431210_1576095339_874708_5116209_n.jpg

Edited by Ninja R
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Okay, thought I would give this a try. Got some sticks, stripped the bark and put them away to dry. Arrrgggh. The sticks have deep cracks long the length. How do you keep them from cracking? Happened with both Alder and Maple. Leave the bark on? Alder is a pain to strip after it is dry, not sure about the maple.

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Okay, thought I would give this a try. Got some sticks, stripped the bark and put them away to dry. Arrrgggh. The sticks have deep cracks long the length. How do you keep them from cracking? Happened with both Alder and Maple. Leave the bark on? Alder is a pain to strip after it is dry, not sure about the maple.

Maybe leave the sticks outside for some months to season before debarking?

 

Edit: Oops, I was thinking of our climate! As Chokecherry below me has said, best to leave somewhere cold to dry out. (I've only worked with bigger branches/blocks of wood, and other types).

Edited by Fianccetto
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My staff is nearly complete! As much as I do appreciate the advice Wooden Cyclist and El Diablo, I really had the urge to use a drastically dark ebony stain on this one. You can't tell in the photos, but it has a luminescent quality to the black (plenty of depth). I did try out technique on a different piece of wood first and I did end up using a pre-stain treatment (totally worth the extra time and effort)! I have a brass cap at the base and have not yet decided on what to use for a grip (suggestions?). I have already started work on my next ones (diamond willow from a friend's land). These new ones I will not be staining in any dark color :) but I will likely be doing some carving on them.

Staff_near_completionred.jpg

Wow, that is beautiful! Love the ebony and the carving!

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Okay, thought I would give this a try. Got some sticks, stripped the bark and put them away to dry. Arrrgggh. The sticks have deep cracks long the length. How do you keep them from cracking? Happened with both Alder and Maple. Leave the bark on? Alder is a pain to strip after it is dry, not sure about the maple.

 

Debark as you have been but dry slowly at a cool temp. Not out in the sun or anywhere hot. Just slow and steady for a week or so then move on to finishing or doing whatever you're doing. I haven't made hiking sticks but I've had to dry them for other projects. Some woods need to be dried at cooler temps than others.

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Yeah i had that issue with maple as well. Lots of saplings and small trees to cut down here. I cut a bunch of various ones and some checked/cracked, some didnt, some severe, some hardly at all. I think the more sap/wet they were i think the more they cracked while drying because of the hot weather here(dried fast and shrank more).

My house doesnt really get cooled down much and sometimes gets hotter in that out.

 

I actually started on some walking sticks before i even saw this post haha. but there is some good info in here as well.

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