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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of making a bear head stick.

Cobalt's use of carvings as a topper gave me the idea on how to put a carving on top of red oak. I have tried unsuccessfully to carve red oak, the grain is widely spaced and hard to work with, but I love the look of the wood. So this is my first attempt at "topping" a walking stick. I have ordered a couple brass ferrules from Treeline a woodworking/woodcarving supplier in Utah. Hopefully will see them in a couple days. I thought it would be fun to show the progression of this piece.

Attached pics: # 3 is the piece of black cherry the bear topper was carved from; #4 is the oak shaft peeled & sanded to 220 grit; #5 is the carved bear head topper approximately 6". (bear is sitting on the mantle the birch and acorn are candles.)

Bear head bottom needs to sanded. Not sure if I should use boiled linseed oil on topper and shaft or to stain. I know BLO will darken the heck out of cherry, it will be darker than the oak done with BLO. I am not sure if two wood tones is the way to go or should I try to have the two pieces stained to match?

Open to suggestions. TX, Mark
 

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Personally, I'd stain the bear head to get close to the dark color the bottom of the cherry wood is still showing. Then mount it to the oak with whatever treatment to the oak you like. The "topper" and the shaft. it seems to me, don't need to match. In fact, the topper being different will draw attention.
 

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gdenby is right the toppers dont need to match it needs to stand out.

How are you mounting it ?with dowel or a threaded rod ,remeber to draw a circle on the bottom of the topper to the same diameter of the shank to get it to fit right
 

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If you carve anything as a topper use a block of wood at least twce the thickness of the shank and allow enough material for the neck which will help you to jion it to the shank, before you carve decide how you going to fit it and drill your fitment hole before you start carving it makes it easer .otherwise the feature will become elongated and look out of propotion .By the time you get the block in the round a lot of material will be cut away but it does give you a better propotion..It also helps to give the feature a collar this helps the carving to stand out.if you look at the thunb sticks in work in progress you will see what i mean..

If you try to cave the topper the same size of the shank it will look wrong ..The smaller size will also make it more difficult to obtian the detail you would want..It does need to stand out so dont worry about staining it the same..This will give you the choice of making it a grizzly or black bear .
 

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Postman brought ferrules today, yippee, so went to work on bear head stick. Sanded bear head base to 220 grit and beveled end of topper and end oak shaft. Centered bear and shaft drilled both and glued together with a 1/4" oak dowel. I like your suggestions to contrast bear and shaft. Leaning toward a walnut stain for bear and golden oak for stick. Also this is a relatively small diameter shaft for me, 1 & 1/8" at the grip area, I might wrap this grip area with paracord
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Forgot the pics in last post. Here is the bear stick topper attached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Suppose to a nice enough day to work in the garage. Will get the staining done on bear stick today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bear Stick is finished.

Bear head is walnut stained, stick is stained golden oak.( Tx, gdenboy & cobalt for suggesting a contrasting look) Wrapped the handle with leather suede, wrist strap is brown paracord. I tried a paracord handle wrap & I didn't like the look, so I went with leather, it increases the diameter enough for a comfortable grip and I like the look and feel in my hand. I used 2 coats of Minwax satin spar urethane for the finish, the first time I have used the spar exterior urethane. I prefer the regular interior urethanes makes a harder smoother finish IMO. I figured I ought to start using spar in case I ever sell one of these, don't know if future owners would be as careful as I am to keep sticks out of rain and excessive sunshine (UV). In future I am going to thin the spar with min spirits to see if I can get a cleaner looking finish.
 

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Its a good start .I have used simlar fitments to the one shown ,but tend to go for buffalo horn now?just a passing fad i think,but like the contrasting colours ,
 
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