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I know I've done a similar write up here before but I think I used Photobucket. Due to their decision to retroactively disable all photo sharing services for people until they started a payed account those pictures are long gone. I wouldn't have minded so much if it was a going forward type of deal but their decision damaged a lot of forums and destroyed a lot of information on the internet. Can you tell I'm a little miffed?

Anyway, here it is. This one is going to be a smaller Derby styled cane.

Here's the future handle.

Wood Gesture Flooring Floor Hardwood

A nice piece of spalted western red maple in this case. It's an odd shape because I had a lot of defect to work around. I've already drawn the handle out.

At this point the top and bottom of the block are flat and parallel. I mark and drill the hole to attach it to the shank now

. Wood Tool Flooring Hardwood Varnish Wood Hardwood Flooring Gas Plywood

I prefer to use a 5/8 Forstner bit on a drill press these days. Any flat tipped drill like a brad point will work too. I drill deep enough to get into the long part of the handle. That eliminates any potential weakness due to short grain in the handle.

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The awl shows how deep I drilled.

After the hole is drilled I can go to the band saw and rough out the shape.

Wood Wood stain Flooring Hardwood Plank Wood Flooring Hardwood Human leg Linens

The band saw work is done including a little profiling. Next up is a bunch of file and rasp work to finish shaping it.

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Wood Tool Wood stain Cutting board Hardwood

The rough shaping is done for now. I don't shape the shank portion of the handle or the front until after glue up. Less chance of serious mistakes for me this way.

That's the shank I'm going to use, a nice semi-slender alder shank.

I didn't take any pictures of trimming and drilling the shank.

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I decided to add some spacers and am testing the fit. The spacers are some white colored honey locust, claro walnut burl and a pretty piece of western red maple from the same log the handle came from.

I didn't take a picture of it but the dowel is 5/8" diameter white oak. Any good strong hardwood works. Avoid the soft hardwood dowels that are commonly available at the hardware store. I think they're poplar or birch and I don't think they're strong enough. Some stores do carry oak dowels. You can also use steel rod or all thread instead of a dowel. I prefer 3/8" steel when I use it. Use epoxy for wood to metal joints.

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It's glued up and in the clamp overnight. I used the off cut from the top of the handle between the handle and clamp. The tape keeps glue off the bark. The black line marks what I decided the front of the shank would be.

I'm blessed with a well equipped (but very crowded and messy) shop. Although they make things easier you really don't need a band saw or drill press to make a cane. You can use a hand held drill and jig saw or coping saw instead. There's nothing about any of this that can't be done with hand tools. In fact at this point all my remaining work shaping and sanding the cane will be done by hand

That's it for today.

Thanks for looking.

Rodney
 

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Thanks for posting this, Rodney. It really makes me want to try a multi-piece stick sometime.

What you said about your shop reminded me of a sign my high school Latin teacher had on her desk: "A neat desk is the sign of a sick mind." I always figured that if I can find what I'm looking for, it isn't that messy. :thumbsu:
 

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Pretty much the way I make mine. I use a router in a router table with a 1/4 round bit for the initial shaping of the handle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I figure this is primarily for people new to stick making. I should probably do a simple rustic stick too just to show them how simple it really can be.

Rodney
 

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When I left it yesterday it was glued and clamped.

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The glue is dry and it's out of the clamp.

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Back to the band saw for more trimming. This is why I wait to shape the part of the handle that attaches to the shank. I don't try to get to the finished shape with the band saw. Better to make a few more strokes with the rasp than to cut too deeply too quickly and have to start over. I've made that mistake before.

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More rasp work to shape the shank portion and the front.

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Rasp work is done, At this point all the band saw marks and flat surfaces are gone. Now I switch to a half round bastard file. Mine has a smaller radius than the rasp and is nice for cleaning up the troublesome areas under the front and grip. This is also where my touch up pens earn their keep. I almost always manage to nick the bark with the rasp or file at least once. This one is no exception.

Wood Hardwood Wood stain Flooring Font

I'm pretty much done with the rasp and file work and it's sanded with 60 grit to remove the tool marks. At this point there won't be any visible changes to the camera until I put the first coat of oil on it. I may need to touch up the symmetry here and there but this is pretty close to the final shape.

I'll continue sanding with 100, 150, and 220 grit papers. After 220 grit it will get it's first coat of oil.

Thanks for looking,

Rodney
 

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Thanks for the post Rodney, I know the time and effort it takes, it's always nice to see how others work and their methodology. For writing up my projects I have started doing them as a .pdf file can save and do a printout for any of the guys at the stick club who want a set for reference, also easiy to post on this forum as a single file.
 

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Wonderful tutorial on making thanks. I once recently grabbed onto a derby style cane handle and was amazed at how comfortable it was.
 

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That red maple has amazing grain.

Doesn't matter how many canes someone has made from 1 to 1,001, it's always a chance to learn something new from a post like this. Thanks again for sharing it.

Dana
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. I like to grab pieces of wood that everyone else pass up as being not worth the trouble. The wood the handle came from was from a big ugly chunk of maple left behind by right of way tree trimming crews.

Here's a couple chunks of it that I haven't cut up yet.

Purple Wood Motor vehicle Gas Tints and shades

I had started cutting on it with a sawzall before I started making canes and managed to screw up some of the better wood in the process.

Wood Font Gas Tints and shades Hardwood

All four handles in this picture came from the same chunk of wood.

The fritz handled cane next to the derby has some amazing spalting and some really nice curl. It's almost too busy if that's possible. I came really close to keeping this one for myself.

The shorter cardigan handle is crotch wood and will have nice curl in it too. It's another tempting one for me to keep. The longer cardigan was cut from a curve in the branch so the grain follows the bend in the handle. It also has some impressive spalting in it.

I sanded the handle to 220 last night and gave it it's first coat of oil. The maple spacer is the offcut from inside the short cardigan handle. A little taste of how that handle will look when it's done.

Wood Musical instrument Flooring Wood stain Hardwood Wood Metal Artifact Human leg Natural material

Here's a group shot of the cane hanging with a few others I'm working on.

Wood Gas Hardwood Wood stain Varnish

I like hanging them upside down to finish them. The bottom is the only place I can put a screw in the canes where it won't show.

From here until it's done there won't be much in the way of visible changes until it's done.

The first coat of oil toughens up the wood a little and makes anything I miss stand out.

My process at this point is after the first coat I sand to remove any scratches, tool marks, etc. that I missed before. Then I just start putting on coats of oil. If I need to I'll sand again with 320 or 400 grit to remove any roughness from dust or whatever then add a few more coats until I get the shine I want.

The more figure a piece of wood has, the more critical good sanding becomes. Curly maple will show every little defect.

It will be about a week before I have anything more to show on this thread.

Rodney
 

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What price do these go for in your area? If that is a rude question, I understand if you don't answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don't mind. This is going to be long winded.

I've made a couple local sales by word of mouth but mainly I sell on Etsy. I like online because I can cut them to whatever length the customer needs and fit the tip. Etsy is the best place for me to sell that I've found. I don't think Ebay is as good for hand made items and the other online venues I've seen are too small, not enough exposure.

My biggest gripe about Etsy is they've really relaxed their requirements on what they consider hand made. Pretty much to the point where their distinctions are meaningless IMO. I see a lot of sticks on there from the Ukraine and Turkey that I'm pretty sure are made under factory conditions. I also see some made with molded resin that almost certainly didn't come out of small work shops.

Pricing is something I'm not good at. I could actually use some advice in that area.

This one will probably be listed at $110. I figure it works out to about $8 an hour for me after expenses. Not a good way to get rich but then that's not why I make them.

I'm going to have to buy some wood for shanks this year. My supply of natural shanks is getting low again. I'll have to charge more for the turned ones to cover the cost of the wood. There's also some extra labor involved.

I've been averaging about two canes a month in sales with around 15 sticks listed on Etsy. I don't pay for any additional advertising. I've found that my higher priced canes sell faster than my lower priced ones.

My one attempt at a sale on Etsy really didn't give any noticeable results.

I have yet to sell a single hiking stick. I've had 4 of them listed for a while now. I won't be making very many (if any) more of them for sale.

Rodney
 

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pity anout your hiking poles

the main reson i make them and sell them it offers more oppurtunit to carve differnt animals and birds and seems to be more in demand here than the states .I dont understand why but there is a huge variety of carved hiking poles here i suppose there all individual and it attracts more walkers.rambling here is a popular pastime which i suppose helps to express there charactet .

I dont see so many walking sticks though bUT characture walking sticks are different have made several with ducks birds and even a horse and bull on the front of a a cardigan stick .I have not made a simple walking stick yet all the ones i have been asked for have something on the front of them .

I only make sticks that take my fancy now but so many people ask me for one but i only offer what i have made now.and it has to be of interst to me to make one to order.

The wife says i am a awkward so and so but dont see the piont in making it to a deadline or if i dont like the subject matter after all i just do them when i want how i want for pleasure
 

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I have had little luck selling walking stick/cane/what you want to call thems because of Americans' associations with age, ill health and self pride; however my niece says that the younger folks would use a hiking stick. It would be simple to maintain a few plain sticks with a thong and maybe a simple wood burned symbol in stock that you can whip out when somebody shows an interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My market has been people who walk with a cane for various reasons. I do think you're right on that level. People don't buy canes if they don't need to use one.

IMO if you need a cane, a good looking wooden cane helps with the self image/pride issue.

I think my hiking sticks don't sell for a couple reasons.

Price is a big one, You can buy a hiking stick on Etsy for as little as $12. I won't bother selling a $12 stick. Mine look simple but I have a bunch of time in them. They get the same attention to detail as my canes.

Mine look simple. I think people here that buy sticks want some sort of carving or other decoration. I see people selling on Etsy who are pretty much giving their time away on carved sticks. There are a couple carvers on Etsy who sell high end art sticks but in their case they're selling the sticks as art and I doubt the people who buy them use them much.

I'm not a carver and can't compete on price on hiking sticks.

I'll stick with the market that works best for me. People who want a decent looking wooden cane at a decent price. Worst case is I can always cut my hiking sticks down and use them for shanks.

Rodney
 

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I never bother with price people generally offer me a reasonable price to make one ,if they didint i just say no.

Once you start selling them word usually spreads and you will get asked for them .I do think that a unusual stick helps people to remember who made them and will often come back to you because you have made one for a friend..

It is worth the effort to carve toppers if you enjoy doing it you do get a better price and more enquires .

Just turned a offer down price was okay but the chap in question wanted a snake carving , not really interested in doing them and its a lot of work if its carried out in one piece . But unfortunately he was a bit persistent and he wanted to know why I wouldn't do one I just said I only carve when I want to do them. He was a bit offended but I shouldn't have to explain myself to anyone .

most people make there sticks to theme some are good with dogs birds etc. .I would offer what I have carved but if they don't want it that's fine but dogs and wild life always go down well
 

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Hi Cobalt, referring to being "offered a price" many people don't realise ow much work goes into the finished product, if yo totaled up the shank finding, cutting, seasoning, straightening, preparing, and then the research into topper design, purchasing the blank material, creating the pattern, printing etc, then the actual carving to paint ready, the painting (materials used), fitting to the shank, dressing the joint area, and final spit and polish you will be lucky to get 50p/hour. My take on the pricing is to be a bit tougher and ask a price I would be happy with if I don't fancy the subject then my price would be higher this will let you know if the really want it, this method prevents me being overworked as it is easy to suddenly realise that you are not retired but once again being pressured by deadlines if wanted for B'Days etc.- I now need nourishment not punishment!, this seems to work for me.
 

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totally agree i usually overprice on most of the sticks ,that ensures there interested and will go ahead but dont start one i am interested in doing until they leave a deposit now .However most people offer above £70 its a difficult subject to price to include time .and its done when its done
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've done a couple custom requests. It might change but right now I enjoy them. I learn something new from every custom request I get. They force me to think of things differently than I would otherwise and I enjoy the challenge.

If I got a request I didn't like for whatever reason I'd turn it down too. I've had stressful jobs. I'm done with that.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I haven't forgotten about this project. It's nearing completion. Maybe one or two more coats of oil and it's done. I'll know more tomorrow.

Rodney
 

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It's finally done other than installing the tip. That won't happen until it sells.

Plant Wood Terrestrial plant Natural landscape Grass Plant Street light Leaf Botany Vegetation Plant People in nature Wood Fawn Terrestrial plant Plant Musical instrument Wood Natural landscape Fawn

The orange tint is from smoke in the sky from all the wild fires we're having this summer. It's the worst I've seen.

Thanks for looking,

Rodney
 

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