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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is a pic of my first attempt at making a walking stick.

I think the stick is oak, and I am sure the top is walnut.

Any advice would be great.

I hope to do better next time.
 

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It looks pretty good . are you satisfied with it?

You have a good selection of wood, you may find the oak a bit heavy its all in the users eye

The 1st stick is usually the tricky one but well done
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.
No, I am not satisfied with it. The top is not shaped quite right.
Next time I will take more time to be sure I like the balance.
I can get some maple, is it better weight wise?
 

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There is no right or wrong way to do stickmaking ,you should use material you like and do it in the style you wantt

The american styles are very different to the styles i use (english) with the most prized sticks have rams and buffalo horn toppers.here and ususally use hazel,chestnut ,holly and ash shanks .The bark isnt removed but the stick should be straight

I like carved toppers mostly wildlife waterfowl etc but this dosnt appeal to every one . The american style is (i hope some one will correct me on this) is more casual and consider a mishaped stick character .But no doubt our american friends will correct me ,or give the opinion i hope

So it`s all down to what suits you.

I suggest you look at many different types and do what you like
 

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I like it :thumbsu: :thumbsu:! The different woods make it unique.

I have made canes from an oak shaft/black cherry handle, black cherry shaft/oak handle. Cherry shaft/ hickory handle. Whatever catches your eye and yes no matter what you do, as the craftsman there is always something you won't like. Good job!

Mark
 

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Well done shooter 45. I like it. It is a unique handle.
 

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The american style is (i hope some one will correct me on this) is more casual and consider a mishaped stick character .
The country is quite large and I think there are regional differences in stick making. The "citified" people in the east are more inclined to want fancy sticks that are straight and metal ornamentation. I remember a fellow in the South from Georgia who said he made sticks where the bottoms were wider than the tops...and it was a southern thing. I know out west there is more of a tendency for rustic sticks that are even bent.

Of course the different regions have different wood types, and that makes for more diversification. I have lived all over the country and spent a lot of time in the west/southwest. In the southwest walking sticks are made from sotol, yucca, and mesquite...local woods, although yucca and sotol are not actually woods. When in Wyoming there was a lot of lodge pole pine and I made sticks from it. In Utah there was a lot of juniper and I used it.

So the sticks I make and like, are probably not a representation of a lot of the country, Cobalt. JMO
 

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They may be representertive but i always like to see different suicks theres always something you can pick up even if i dont agree with whats done .Any stickmaker is worth looking at they do usually offer something different

And you right your countrys huge compared to the uk and i would love to try some of the woods you have access to

The people who like fancy sticks here are mostly country folk you do still see some at markets but the most common hiking pole is the thumb stick and with the queen and price charles

using them it does influence the city dweller.

At county and horse shows you still see the market stick and still admire the talent of thse guys making them .although it was the shepard who origananly made them but a lot of hill farmers still keep these skills alive
 

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Keep it up! Very addicting! And you will get nothing but people enabling your addiction here! :)
 

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I'm supposing it will take you awhile to find what you require from a stick. After a few years at this, I find that less than 1 out of 5 of my early sticks is satisfactory.

One of my crucial tests is how good the handle feels in my hand after an hour or so of walking. Everyone's grip is somewhat different, but looking at the handle, I wonder if it is big enough to allow the hand to shift around over time, and so prevent muscle fatigue.

Aesthetically, the finely polished handle doesn't seem to quite fit in w. the rougher shaft. Not that contrast isn't good, but it seems a bit much in this piece.

I've found a lot of variation within every tree species. For instance, I use both sycamore and sassafras. Both are fairly light woods, but some pieces are stiffer and finer grained than others. Also, the variation within species may mean that a piece of hard maple is heavier than one of oak of a similar size.

I have enough sticks on hand that I can get picky, and set aside pieces that are a little to springy, or too bent to have an even balance.
 

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As you said cobalt, there is always something to learn. I have, like yaxley, lived and or worked in many different parts of the western U.S. I did in fax spend a fare amount of time in every state west of the Mississippi River over my working years. Regional differences in sticks and there design is amazing. These differences do to both the available woods and the mixture of cultural influence in the area. We have families with histories from so many parts of Europe and the rest of the world as well as the native Americans. One of the things cobalt had suggested a while back was that the wood spirit seemed to be more prominent in the US than other places. I think he is right. I am not sure why but you see it in one form or another almost everywhere in the US. Also history sticks, sticks that through dates and or symbols tells a personal, family or cultural history. I think, but am not sure, that is a Native American influence. I know that was a practice of a number of tribes. It is all fun to see and add to what we do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks all, and gdenby I believe that you have answered one of my troubles.
The handle is to small.
I was thinking the balance was off, but now I think the handle is just to small for me.
 

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I think it is a fine stick. You have put into practice principles of working in wood and making something. Connecting 2 peices of wood may sound simple, but there are nuances. Any stick made is a learning process. Keep moving :)
 

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The sticks in america does have a lot of european influence that no one can deniy, what is suprising is there is not much referance to the totem pole ,all tribes had there own and are pretty amazing with the signs and symbls they carve on them , but very little of this type is reflected in the sticks you use .Think this is a pity with both the carving and the colour and other material they used They certainly have a noticably present .Its good to see some native americans still carry on the tradition of making these. The wood for the totem was selected with great care and there skill both with the carving and painting is outstanding

The main thing with the native american is the use of additionall features such as feathers and beads .The bead work is highly collectable both here and the states and traditional work does command a good price This is oftern used in stickmaking over there

Probably yaxley sticks have more of that influence than any i have seen ,because of the use of symbols used in wood burning and other decoraton
 

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It was mentioned that the oak stick was too heavy. With oak being such a strong wood, it's not necessary for the stick to be that big. Instead of say an 1 1/2" at the big end, it could be 1". In the late 19th to early 20th century, It was common for men to carry a walking stick as a stylish accessory. These were not necessarily a strong stick. I've seen some that were very slender. Unfortunately, nowadays a cane is seen as a medical device. And usually, the person using it must have a stick with good weight bearing properties. Also, the handle must be well attached.
 

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The maority of my shanks are approx 1" in diameter ,its ideal fo hiking poles etc.I think oak sticks are to heavy the shank should be light and strong .This is the reason why hazel is the most common over herei ts fits the bill.

Then if you didnt have a stylish stick you where out of fashion

Sticks that most victorian men used had silver tops and where very elegant

there is a lot of different style of hiking poles from crook, leg cleeks thumb sticks the ones that are made from horn are considered the best here a good quality market stick from rams horn commands a high price

Then there is the carved toppers there carved into anything , and probably the most common of all is the wood spirit ,well common in the states .You will always see the wood spirit in all parts of america .its a american thing ,never see them here

The the ideal size for a hiking pole is one that comes up to the armpit that including the topper.a walking stick sholud come up to the wrist and a thumb stick is between the armpit and your arm when held at a 90 degree angale from the body.

these sizes are more convienient for transporting , although many americans like larger sticks. Like most thing it all boils down to taste

You will find a sound stick with a 1inch diameter has enough strength in it to asist a person its very rare a person puts all his wieght on a stick its designed just as a aid. helps to keep balance etc.
 
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