Walking Stick Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Approximately 20 years ago now, I was on vacation with my grandparents at the Maine coast and I found a birch sapling floating in the surf. The beaver bite marks are still on the end, so it likely didn't fall into the ocean directly. Otters?

Anyway, the ocean had already stripped it and made it smooth. It was already perfect. I didn't even have to file down any flanges. I have left it completely natural thus far.

What I need advice about is its continued preservation. Even though it is on the heavy side, I quite like to take it hiking. I like to go off trail quite a bit, and this staff has saved me from at least one deep Oregon dead-fall where I couldn't touch bottom.

My questions are:

What is the best way to preserve the wood of this aging piece that as yet shows no sign of cracking?

Should I reinforce it externally, and if so, how? (i.e., lariat wraparound)

How best to prevent shortening? (I am not averse to a cap of some description, but it would need to be just right.)

Thanks in advance for all your thoughts,

- Rika
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
Welcome!

Any finish you put on it will darken the wood a little-even the clear water based ones change the appearance some. There's actually nothing wrong with just leaving it natural. After all, it's served you well for the last twenty years.

If you don't mind the wood darkening a bit, I prefer oil finishes. Either Boiled Linseed Oil or Pure Tung Oil are good choices. You can wipe them on with a rag. It generally takes several coats with a day or so to dry between coats. After I'm satisfied with the results, usually after 5 or 6 coats, I let it cure a bit more then use 0000 steel wool and a good paste wax. The steel wool cuts down any dust in the finish and leaves it with a silky smooth finish.

The easiest cap for the bottom is a rubber chair or crutch tip that will just slide over the end. You can get the chair leg tips at the hardware store.

I make my own tips out of copper pipe and rubber stoppers. It sounds like you use yours for trails. You might do a search for "Alpine Tips" as well. These have a spike with a rubber cover over them for when the spike isn't appropriate.

I hope this helps,

Rodney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Thank you so much for your reply, Rodney.

I am not averse to darkening the wood as much as concern that it won't hold up the next time I stumble. I'm concerned about its longevity. How long do sticks last in a natural state? I've never had ANY piece of wood for 20 years.

Yes, the bottom diameter is quite wide, so I'll have to special order, maybe. Alpine Tips ARE also a good option, but they're not as good on say, boulder-rich / rocky terrain, right?

Maybe I'll have to start keeping a short supply of different tips around for my various environments. Because you're right... it IS a good stick and has served me well. I don't want to part with it. :)

- Rika
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,925 Posts
You probably just want a rubber tip then. Even those aren't 100% slip-free but they work everywhere and won't mar up a floor.

How wide is the bottom? A little work with a knife, file and sandpaper can fine tune the fit too.

Rodney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
As long as it's cared for and maintained as in reapplying the oil or such every once in a while ( the directions on the product should tell you if and when) I don't see why it couldn't last another 20 or more. Just look at the plethora of antique walking sticks out there. I've seen blackthorn sticks from the early 1800s that look as good if not better than ones made today! P.s. I would love see a picture of this staff!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,170 Posts
no doubt there will be several different ways of presevering the shank , but i would use oil on it it will halep to keep the elements from damaging it. There are several different oils i use danish oil and like the finish of it.

Some use a vanish on it but I think that varnish gets cracked through use and is brittle which leads to water ingress , again its just a case of preference.

I would also put a heavy duty brass ferule on it, these have steel bottom on them are are very hard wearing then put a rubber ferule on it to prevent it slipping.

Quite a few people make there own ferules the screw rubber on the bottom of them,they say it works well. but i would be reluctant to use a screw in the bottom of the shank likely to get water ingress after been used for some tme. .

There are loads of differnt lanyards i use a elasticated one that grips the shank very well , but loads of people drill holes in to the shank and thread leather etc through it. i am always reluctant to drill holes in the shank , but loads do it. its just a matter of preferance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,854 Posts
If there is no cracking or signs of dry rot it should continue to be a viable stick. I would use a good 100% Tung oil. Linseed oil will mildew in outside humid areas like Oregon. Tung oil pinatraits deep in to the wood. It is used on outdoor furniture aswill as marine decks and masts . Two or three coats then just apply a coat as needed. Tung oil will darken the wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
497 Posts
Thank you so much for your reply, Rodney.

I am not averse to darkening the wood as much as concern that it won't hold up the next time I stumble. I'm concerned about its longevity. How long do sticks last in a natural state? I've never had ANY piece of wood for 20 years.
Pieces of wood that are thousands of years old have been found in archaeological sites. The enemy of wood is moisture. As long as you can keep it dry and guard against abrasion. Your staff should last you just as long.

My personal favorite finish is equal parts of Boiled linseed oil, spar varnish, and turpentine or mineral spirits. The resulting product is used like BLO but has the added advantages of drying faster and having ultra-violet protection. It is somewhat similar to Danish Oil.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
My favorite walking stick changes from day to day. Often it's this beech, not birch, but similar.

The outer bark is hard and stuck like glue to the sapwood. I had cured it for months in pentacryl, but I'm not sure it needed it.

I've attached two photos of that stick, and a photo of the rubber tip on another, similarly installed.

My favorite tips now are using a carbide "flex-tip" made for trekking poles, for which they make an easily replaceable rubber tip to go over the carbide tipped rubber piece. It's a learning curve on the first go, since that rubber piece has to be sanded down to a uniform 1/2" diameter. I use a heavy brass washer to cover some of the wood at the base, and epoxy that when I epoxy the rubber flex tip into the 17/32" hole, leaving just the right amount protruding for the replaceable rubber tip.

It's been so long, I don't recall the finish, but it was likely a coat of 50/50 pure tung oil / mineral spirits, followed by more tung oil. But not much soaked into the bark areas.

Plant Road surface Wood Grass Shade

Wood Artifact Art Tints and shades Trunk

Wood Gas Tints and shades Flashlight Tobacco
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,126 Posts
On my Bois d'Arc sticks, hard as nails based on my youthful experiences building barbed wire fences, I no longer use a copper or brass pipe fitting. I'll sand the edges on this and sand down the diameter more, and then this rubber tip that is made just for the carbide 'flex tip' fits snugly, yet is easily replaced. Wood Dumbbell Soil Flashlight Metal
 

Attachments

1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top