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  • Why walkingsticks

    SOME ONE ASK ME WHY WALKINGSTICKS?
    Walking sticks and canes are great project both to learn with and to be creative with. Doing a wood spirit in a walking stick was the motivation for me first getting into wood carving. You can start with a good knife and a tree branch and do a lot more if you add a V–tool small gouge, Those were my only tools for a few years. There are not many limits to the creative things you can do to a walking stick. With canes you can use different woods for handle and staff and very the shape of the handles. On canes and walking sticks you can do decorative carving on the staff, whatever you can imagine. You can carve toppers for a walking stick, bears, Eagles, all breeds of dogs, all types of wildlife, Santa toppers, all kinds of caricatures and dragons.
    Hunting for sticks can be fun day in the woods or fields for one or the whole family. Always be sure to get permission for the land owner if it is privet property and check with officials if you are is a park . Mother Nature supplies some great shapes and colors. Often you can find sticks dry and ready to use on fallen or dead trees. That is if the bugs have not beaten you to them. For staff or shank to have the best chance not check or crack it should have around 12 to 15% moisture content. Generally it takes 8 to 12 months per 1inch of diameter for a stick to dry. This will vary with air flow, temperature, humidity and the type of wood. I am in lower Alabama and use oak, pecan, crape myrtle, dogwood, walnut and other local woods. I often use 1 inch exotic wood dowels for my cane staffs. The internet is good sources for finding Sticks and dowels such as Diamond Willow or Aspen and other woods that are not available here, as well as northern basswood for toppers. You can also find other supplies such as handles and cane tips.
    Whatever wood we use in making a cane or walking stick we need to make sure that that it will be safe when used normally by other for support or balance.
    There are a number of great books that are available. If I was to pick just one or two it would be “Stick Making a complete course” offered by Fox Chapel books and second would be “Carving Woodspirits, Beyond the Basics.” available from other suppliers. Both have good direction, pictures and patterns. There are many other good books including some for power carving toppers. There is stick carving help on Woodcarvers illustrated forum and a number of Face Book groups. Sticks are fun and can be of help to those who need one. I invite you to give it a try. Be warned. They are like eating chips. It hard do have just one.
    Last edited by Claude; 06-27-2020, 01:29 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    Not to mention they are necessary for older folks. I started many, many years ago making mesquite walking sticks and it is fun and also gets you a fine buck. I started a website and sold some for thousands of dollars and they were fun to make. However, I've given up making them and converted my passions to caricature carving.

    They were fun to do Randy but after thousands of sticks, I did get tired. So, when someone makes a boatload over time I suspect they might have the same idea...although an addiction would extend that.

    Nice post Randy.
    Bill
    Living among knives and fire.

    http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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    • #3
      My sense of balance was damaged in a fall a few years ago (concussion?). When I stop walking, my top half wants to keep going. I feel like I'm going to fall over on my face. Peculiar sensation.
      So, I walk with a cane. Out in front of me like a tripod. Diamond willow canes are made locally in the village in batches of 50 so the choice is good. I have three of them (for the wood figure!)

      Since time immemorial, First Nations have used a long cane as a polite way to control the dialog in a meeting. The carved cane is the "Talking Stick". Only the holder may speak. This is where I can imagine all the designs appear that Randy recounts. I bought a long stick to carve. Stands beside my work bench but I have not seen anything in it yet. I think it's Randy's enthusiasm which keeps me looking at it.
      Brian T

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      • #4
        I've made a bunch of "talking sticks," Brian. They evolved from "what do I do with the walking stick cutoffs?" So I marketed them with inlays, wood-burning, minor carving, etc. They became very popular and I have sold them all over the world. They were about 14 inches and not as long as the sticks you mentioned.

        Yeah, age and balance go together.
        Bill
        Living among knives and fire.

        http://www.westernwoodartist.com

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        • #5
          Some FN use either an Eagle or a Raven primary wing feather instead of a talking stick.
          The feather also declares that you are telling the truth.
          In any case, it sure does bring order to contentious meeting agendas.
          Brian T

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          • #6
            That's something I really miss about not being able to spend time up at our cabin in SE Tenn. I used to spend hours walking through the woods looking for cane and walking stick materials. Then I'd spend another day or two stripping the bark off of them. Great memories!

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            • #7
              Hi Randy , Sounds Interesting might need to give Sticks and Cane Carving a Try . Ha,Ha. Merle

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Merle Rice View Post
                Hi Randy , Sounds Interesting might need to give Sticks and Cane Carving a Try . Ha,Ha. Merle
                I bet you could be good at that!!

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                • #9
                  Hi Randy
                  Why walking sticks?? Why Not!! as you say the limit to what you can do with them is your imagination. My first stick was in part to see if I could make a sort of lifelike bird carving after seeing some of Merle's beautiful work. Also as I get older it will come in handy hehehe.It was great fun to have a go at and the backup plan was to stylize the bird if things didn't go to plan.

                  So how is your baluster cane coming along looking forward to seeing it.
                  Last edited by Glenn Jennings; 06-28-2020, 12:25 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glenn Jennings View Post
                    So how is your baluster cane coming along looking forward to seeing it.
                    Just posted an update in the " Next step on Baluster "stick section.

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