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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I want to make a (magic-esque) staff complete with a crystal adorning the top and decorative carving. I face a couple of challenges however, that I feel probably have simple solutions to them that I simply am not aware of.

  1. I want the staff to end up being roughly 70 inches tall (so maybe 67 inches or so length of wood, with a 3-4 inch crystal on top). The majority of walking sticks tend to be around 40-55 inches from what I have been able to tell, and as a result so have the walking stick blanks I have found. Additionally the final diameters of the stick will probably need to be around 2 inches at the top, and taper to around an inch for the bottom.
  2. I have discovered through reading about wood carving that some woods are much harder to carve than others, but you have to balance the ease of carving with the potential longevity of the piece. For a staff like what I want to make, it would probably not face a ton of use but may be brought to Renaissance Fairs and the like and as such I would like it to hold up fairly well to occasional handling.
  3. The method I have in mind for affixing a crystal would involve spare pieces of wood being carved into prongs which would be screwed into the head of the staff and then subsequently wrapped in leather, so a wood that would be amenable to a couple of small screws would be ideal.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. I won't have the budget for power tools, so I will have to make things work with hand tools.

Thank you,

Isaac
 

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A seventy inch tall hiking pole i would have thought be to large

all my hiking poles are around 1 inch diameter, you don't need such a thick shank

As for fixing you could drill it to take a threaded rod fixing it with epoxy you would have to be careful drilling it and cover it in a lubricant whilst drilling but water would do it i have drilled glass before just take it slowly without to much pressure

my own hiking pole come to armpit length
 

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Finding a straight enough stick over 6' in length is a tall order at least in the area of the Midwest I live. Eastern cottonwood grows quickly and for the first several years is relatively straight, easy enough to carve but a stretch to call it overly durable. Aspen might fill the bill. It too grows quickly and fairly straight for the first few years of it's life, easy to carve as well. It is in the poplar family like cotton wood so it is so so on durability. I have made several sticks from aspen, none the less, and am pleased with the results. They are strong enough over the shorter lengths I have made them. Nothing over 60" I might add.

Lodge pole pine would probably be IMHO your best shot to get a 70"+ stick that is straight and workable. Native Americans used the lodge pole pine for centuries as the basic supports for their tee pee's. I have used it as well for walking sticks. It carves OK but is prone to chip if too much wood is removed at once. Shallow cuts and patience is key to working it. Pick a well seasoned piece and avoid too much heat if you intend to wood burn or burn any other types of decorative work on your lodgepole pine, as it may develop cracks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Finding a straight enough stick over 6' in length is a tall order at least in the area of the Midwest I live. Eastern cottonwood grows quickly and for the first several years is relatively straight, easy enough to carve but a stretch to call it overly durable. Aspen might fill the bill. It too grows quickly and fairly straight for the first few years of it's life, easy to carve as well. It is in the poplar family like cotton wood so it is so so on durability. I have made several sticks from aspen, none the less, and am pleased with the results. They are strong enough over the shorter lengths I have made them. Nothing over 60" I might add.

Lodge pole pine would probably be IMHO your best shot to get a 70"+ stick that is straight and workable. Native Americans used the lodge pole pine for centuries as the basic supports for their tee pee's. I have used it as well for walking sticks. It carves OK but is prone to chip if too much wood is removed at once. Shallow cuts and patience is key to working it. Pick a well seasoned piece and avoid too much heat if you intend to wood burn or burn any other types of decorative work on your lodgepole pine, as it may develop cracks.
About 6' is what I need because I want the staff to terminate around eye level and I am 6'3".

As far as lodge pole pine wood, where would you source that? And what would you search for to get a straight branch of it that has already been dried? I don't really have anywhere to store the wood to dry it and I would rather start soon than wait a year for the wood to dry. Based on that I think I will need to purchase a length of wood rather than find it.
 

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Look for a sapling the right size. Saplings will be much straighter than most branches you will find. Dig them up if possible. You might get some interesting roots for your wizard staff. Standing dead wood will cut down your drying time if you can find any. I said in your introduction thread I don't bother with most soft woods but for a decorative piece pine will work.

You're not likely to find a perfect taper but if you're willing to compromise a bit you should be able to find a very workable stick. Allow for the bark when you go looking.

A coping saw will allow you to cut odd angles and curves and should be fairly cheap. You can try the used market for tools too.
 

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follow Rodney's lead you may be lucky

But i would be wary of found wood often there weak and infected with worm , a lot of people use them here but as i harvest my own i wouldn't even consider it

problem with the larger shank is there more difficult to transport and clumsy , but use what's available to you
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I found someone selling Cedar and an ebay listing for Hickory that looks like it would fit the bill. Out of Hickory and Cedar, which would be better for carving with?
 

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Cedar would be easier to carve, but not as durable as hickory. Hickory is pretty durable but will dull your tools quickly. I've never carved it but I turned some on my lathe a few times and was constantly having to re-sharpen my gouges and hollowing tools.

I think I'd go with Rodney's idea as well of finding a sapling and digging it up. (You could go to a garden center and find probably just the thing if you don't have access to woodlands; nice and straight and the height you require. But it would be a bit pricey)

And rather than screwing bits of wood on, you could take some of the extra roots which have been trimmed off, drill holes where you'd like them and glue them into place.
 
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