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Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

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  • Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

    I finally filled an order for 4 woodspirit walking sticks this week and they didn't stress me out since I was given complete creative freedom. The three on the left are carved from high elevation laurel while the last one is red maple. The laurel is indeed a pleasure to carve and it'd probably be my favorite wood if only I could find it straight enough in large quantities. Until then I'll have to learn to luv my sourwood, maple, sweet birch, and dogwood... which isn't too hard!

    I let the wood dictate the face that I'll put on it and that's one thing that I do like about laurel because it usually has a LOT of knots, warts, bumps, and other weird protrusions that really play hard on the imagination. I mean, anybody can put a plain ole face on a plain ole stick but with laurel you have something to "tickle" and/or jump-start those of us who might need a little creative boost in our projects!

    Sometimes those "humps 'n bumps" can be used for tongues and other weird facial features but it seems that I usually go for the big Pinnocio nose and considering the long, narrow nature of a walking stick that usually translates into a long and narrow (stretched looking) face because that durn nose is just so big. But it's fun and finding new ways to have fun has always been a huge priority for me since about age 5 or 6!
    Dave Brock

  • #2
    Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

    For some reason I thought that I'd take a few pictures of the carving tools that I use to carve my walking sticks. Seems that there's 8 of 'em.

    I use the bigger U and V tools in the rear of the first picture for roughing out the general facial outline, features, and hair along with a small mallet while the stick is clamped down in the vise. I've actually sold several of these sticks in the rough-out stage to folks who like that "ghostly" look without eyes. One fellow once bought a bunch of them for props because he was into the local theatre scene and some people just want them to use as an aid for getting them going in learning to carve themselves and having the beginning rough-out makes good sense... so I always have a few of them on hand just in case somebody wants to pay money for them!

    The other smaller tools are mostly palm knives which I use to add the remaining details and I do all this just holding the stick in my hands, while bracing it in a million different positions using the table, stools, chair handles, or floor.

    I'm not too sure about their formal "size" numbers but I suppose that I could look 'em up if necessary. Technical stuff just drives me crazy as I'd just rather visually pick out the tool I need from the showcase.
    Dave Brock

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    • #3
      Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

      nice looking sticks Dave

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      • #4
        Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

        Really nice looking sticks Dave. About what diameter are they?

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        • #5
          Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

          Dave .. those are really neat loking sticks ... The face's and design just catch your attention ..

          Down here in Texas .. You cant hardly give away a walking stick because people jsut dont use them.. Canes are the bigger things down here .. But up in Penn. where my Aunt lives outside harrisburg .. You couldnt keep those things around they go so fast ..

          Great job

          Gene

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          • #6
            Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

            Thanks for the comments everyone... always a nice thing.

            Woodartist: As for the stick size I'd have to say that most of mine average 1 1/2" across the top, one side to the other in a straight line. The three laurel sticks are running a little big at about 1 3/4" but they tapered down pretty quickly below that into a more normal sized walking stick.

            The laurel sticks are so hard to find straight enough around these parts to use as a walking stick that I gather anything that comes close to straight. I could have shaved down and sanded it smaller but the final weight felt good and not too burdensome so I went with leaving them actual size thus being able to leave on some of that reddish inner bark for an interesting contrast in colors.

            When the kids are carving walking sticks in my classes I set the size limitation at 58" tall and no more than 1 1/2" across at the top. I'm working with at-risk kids so it has to be made crystal clear that it has to look like a walking stick before I'll allow it out of the shop... not a baseball bat, not a billy club, or any other weapon-looking kind of stick.

            I was just measuring some of the finished sticks in my stock and the biggest one at the top measures 2" across but I intentionally wanted it that big on the upper 3 or 4 inches for the carving but I tapered it off directly under the carving into the more normal 1 1/2" range that I like for a walking stick. Depends but I usually like to stay in the 1 1/2" range for my walking sticks.

            Gene: Gosh, I hate to hear that folks in your parts don't take to walking sticks but if they like canes better then I'm not gonna argue, as you know it's always best to NOT "mess with Texas"! They're a region to their own and I suppose that if I lived there I could learn to love the canes! Yes, the walking sticks are sure popular in my parts.
            Dave Brock

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            • #7
              Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

              Thanks Dave, and you make yours a tad larger in diameter than mine....however I have only carved a few. Enjoyed your comment about "approving" the kid's final product. I can see sword canes, gun canes, etc.

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              • #8
                Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                Great looking sticks Dave ,love the faces , and your right , there is some healthy honkers on those laurel guys



                Al

                http://picasaweb.google.com/al.hillis/WOODCARVINGSMINE

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                • #9
                  Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                  Dave, they are FANTASTIC, I'm really anxious to try my hand on those. my son in law says all he wants for Xmas is a walking stick. Tell me, can I cut a live sappling (maple) and carve one for him? I'm new to this great hobby and the only thing I've carved is a couple spirits so I think I could pull it off if I could find a suitable piece of wood.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                    Hi Dave, I really like your walking sticks such character in the ones with faces. The animal track ID walking stick is just great! I have two aspen all debarked and ready to carve--saving for a winter project.
                    Kathy

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                    • #11
                      Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                      Geesh I missed this posting somehow. You have some fine looking faces there....and many of them with their own unique look. The owners will be pleased. I like the effect of the tracks on the taller staff. Its the time of year in my parts that many would be looking for one of those sticks. I'll have to put that project on my long list. Thanks for sharing.
                      Patrick

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                      • #12
                        Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                        Thanks again for the comments <slight blush>

                        posted by tucker1931 <SNIP>
                        Tell me, can I cut a live sappling (maple) and carve one for him? I'm new to this great hobby and the only thing I've carved is a couple spirits so I think I could pull it off if I could find a suitable piece of wood.
                        Absolutely. I cut almost all of my sticks green as it's hard to find one seasoned by nature before it's eaten up by earths "digestion" process, but sometimes I'll grab one or two if I'm there in time. A lot of people on the forum say that they strip the bark immediately but I tend to prefer seasoning them with the bark on.

                        I must say that I almost always remove the bark from the red maple we have in my region of the country. Over the years it seems that it will, at some point down the road, loosen up and parts (or all of it) will eventually come off. Maple is the only one that I always remove the bark (after seasoning) these days.

                        As for seasoning I just put them in a warm airy place, either on the porch or up on a little ceiling rack in the shop. After a month or two I find them plenty dry enough for carving and finishing but this is only a very general guideline. You can always peel back a little sliver of bark off the "excess" stick after a period of drying and run it by the sensitive skin on your lips and/or cheeks to detect if there's any moisture still in the wood. That's what works for me anyhow.

                        Good luck and do get those saplings to drying and they'll sure be ready for Christmas!

                        Irishman: Glad you liked the tracks. I also have a set of the more northern animal tracks that I use sometimes such as the lynx, wolverine, and moose, etc. but most of the folks in this part of the country just don't know what they are so I stick with regional tracks mostly.
                        Dave Brock

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                        • #13
                          Re: Woodspirit walking sticks- Laurel

                          Nice job, Dave. Isn't it great to be able to do just what you want? Love these clients!! Well done.
                          Fred

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