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It looks like we have all slowed down the stick making. Weather, holiday's projects and so on taking up our time. I know it is all thoughts things at my house. I thought we could share some how to while we are not doing. If we have been doing this for a while we all have tricks and things we do to add to our work. I thought I would start with adding spirals on a stick. But any thing would be helpful to those getting started. Sharing grips you do or finishes or attaching medallions. Whatever you would like to share. I hope you all have a great holiday season!

When I first started doing sticks I want to have spirals down the shaft. I lived in the big city then and finding natural spiral sticks was not happening. There are any numbers of ways to do it. I am sure many of you have your own way. But if your new and do not have your own way yet this may get you started.
I started using a role of thing wire. But string will work. The wire stays in place easier. I have also used painter tape. I would secure the wire tight at the point I wanted the spiral to start. Then I would measure down the shaft and make a mark every 2 inches (or whatever distance apart I wanted the spirals to be) until I got to the point I wanted the spiral to stop. I would then take the wire and I begin to wrap it around the stick,one rap between marks, making sure it hit each mark as I went down. At the bottom I would tie it off. Then check again to make sure the wire was on each mark so the spiral line was space even all the way down. Then I would mark the spiral down the staff using the wire as a guide. Once it was marked I remove the wire put it up for the next one. Then using a knife I made strait in deep cut along the spiral line. Then using the cut I just made as a stop cut I would cut up to the cut or down to the cut, depending on if I wanted the spiral to look like it was going up or down the staff. I use an old Stanley fix blade box cutter most of the time. When I got some tools other than knives I use a v tool some times. but I like the box cutter. Once I reached a depth I wanted for line I would use a rasp or some 80 grit sand paper on a stick to smooth and shape the spiral. You want to be careful not to go to deep where you cut in the spiral. You do not want to weaken the staff. I use about 25%. A 1 inch staff I would not go in more than ¼ inch in. Here are two sticks I did this way. I hope this make sense to everyone and not just to me.
 

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Good topic, yes it certainly has slowed down. Those sticks look great, really adds some flair. Thanks for the tutorial, I'm looking to do

some spirals in the near future to some of my sticks and I will give a try using your technique.

Cheers,

Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You make it sound easy.Nice sticks in the pic..!!
It is not difficult. It can take some time and the first ones I did were ok but not as nice as these. There is a learning curve.
 

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This is a excellet way of doing a spiral .for practise just try a small piece 1st

I used this to carve the unicorn . i used masking tape as a guideworks just the same

just get the basic shape you want 1st then mark the item with whatever you use

Wood Tree Ingredient Hardwood Cuisine Jaw Gesture Wood Fawn Tree
 

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Great information.

I have been toying with the idea of spiraling a wood spirit's beard down the shaft.

Next stick may just give it a try.
 

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]i always start a design with research on the web .usually look up images i want get several pictures the draw them to scale .you could just use images straight from the computer. but i usually modify pictures too suit my needs

then i make a template out of card and use this to draw directly onto the wood. it gives a clear picture of what you want and helps in the carving process..It makes it quicker as you can quickly saw the basic shape out in minutes. the just carve having several images in front of me for a guide.I have a book ful of templates filed away which is useful resource it gives the shape the template and also the colours you need if you paint it..I have several books full of drawings of things i will put on to a hiking pole ,it also develops ideas as you go along as one drawing leads to others. The templates range from sets of punch and judy to about 40 different wildfowl to alice in wonderland to afirican animals and basic thumb stick . i also keep a phot record of everything i carve which is useful for referance it also servers as a reminder of mistakes and helps to prevent repeating them,

I think the 1st thing you need to do before you start making a hiking pole is know your subject scale it to the size you want, dont be afriad to tackle something unusual it all helps to improve you skills.

Get a few good books on carving look at the way a good carver tackles a piece dont just copy it ask yourself is this image going to suit me and modify it ,somethings dont work but you learn that way. try to tackle something different dont become a me too person. i oftern make a fool of myself trying to do things but i do try to aviod kidding myself that everything i do is good because it isnt.

i know most of you have seen these but its how i start things. Wood Jaw Creative arts Art Sculpture Bird Vertebrate Paint Textile Botany Bird Gesture Art Font Wood
 

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Thank cobalt. Importain subject. I did not keep patterns or picture when I started. I have aways regretted waiting as long as I did to start. Now I have 3 file boxes and 4 note books. I use them much as you do. How ever I can not draw as you do. The file boxes are filed by subject. Faces, types of animals. birds and some ziplock bags I have small cut outs. I am often cutting out patten pages from magazines punch note book holes and add them to my refrants note books. I also have 3 or 4 books of leather carving or tooling patterns. They have a great selection patterns such as leaves, animals, fish, and scrole designs. They are shalow relief patterns and work well with carving on stick. It is never to early to start saving patterns and pictures. You can always trash them if you do not need them. But I can not tell you how many times I have regretted not saving pictures or a patten I thought I may use again, but thought I would remember and tosted it.
 

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shallow relief works well on sticks and does offer a huge range of ideas , I have oftern thought i will put a celtic design down a shank along with illuminated letters never got round to doing it yet, but people do like there initials on a shank or even there birth sign.and its in these areas that patterns come into there own

Its also useful to take pictures in the making process its helpful to see progression in a piece of work which helps when starting the next stick and by drawing and making templates it highlights some area that dosnt work its a useful check on the size and gives a instant visual ensuring its not to small or to big
 

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types of wood used plays a larger factor in stickmaking and you are lucky in america to have such a wide range of choice, so whats the most popular shank?

also other material used on the stick for embelishment , i use lime wood for toppers , water buffalo horn, and rams horn these make great material for making peoples initials or horoscope signs

also wood burning is a good way for embelishment . wood burning also seals the wood so the grain dosnt lift when varnished althought it does need a stiff brush down when done to remove carbon.The heat from it brings the resins in the wood to the surface and seals it well

below just a quick photo is a selection of the shanks i use the top one is ash then chestnut the remaing ones are all hazel. they have a suprising range of colours depending on where its grown and the conditions its grown under

Brown Wood Textile Rectangle Pattern
 

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Most popular shank for me is whatever I can find that is straight! :)

Seriously for the average stick maker I think the most popular wood is what is prevalent in the forests in their part of the country.

In the Midwest's hardwood forests, black cherry, hickory, maple and the oaks are all nice to work with.

If you can find it diamond willow makes a beautiful stick.

Out west the lodge pole pine grows arrow straight and aspen is excellent wood to carve.
 

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I have aways regretted waiting as long as I did to start. Now I have 3 file boxes and 4 note books. I use them much as you do. How ever I can not draw as you do. The file boxes are filed by subject. ...
When I was a kid just learning to draw, I sometimes used tracing paper to get the outlines. Tho' I considered it cheating, it did help train my hand and eye co-ordination.

While doing a tracing is not as useful for full 3-d carving, its good for relief. Certainly its harder to move a cutting tool thru wood, but the practice making the lines on paper does give one an indication of how it should feel to make the cut.
 

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If it works for you i think its fine . i oftern lift a design by using a tracing paper it save me redrawing the template its a quick way of modifing a design.that way i can use it as a overlay .i may lift part of a design and make a new template using both of the designs so i can keep the origanal.

Some of you may be interested in the desins from this book i got from a charity shop before i joined this forum .I was taking some stuff in the shop saw this on the shelf for a £1 it was a great buy. i had just started carving hiking poles and my wildfowl where more stylised then but this gave accurate drawings and good templates to use .its only a pattern book and you can still get it on amazon. it really got me into carnig wildfowl. think there is about 22 designs in the book both of the duck and drake of different speices. I just use the head profile of the decoy and redraw it to suit the thickness of the shank i use.

There are no carving instructions in the book but there is a paint guide, which i found pretty useles as i cant get that make of paint and it dosnt work out on the paints i use. most ducks and drakes have a slightly different head size and shape

Bird Vertebrate Publication Organism Beak Bird Feather Creative arts Art Beak Bird White Art Organism Mammal Bird Beak Organism Waterfowl Ducks, geese and swans White Organism Bird Art Gesture Bird Organism Gesture Art Font
 

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I have just completed 5 sticks (all thumbs) as chrissy presents. I posted them on the forum. Currently straightening, sanding sticks for another batch. I am still doing antler toppers as I am fascinated by them. Awaiting 10 Roe antlers from Germany - can't wait!

I am also somewhat frustrated by not having English style timber to work with. I would love some hazel etc but my pieces still have a long time to dry yet and my recently planted hazel grove is still years away The local timber is OK (She Oak etc) but I can't get it as straight as I would like. Anway, thats life.

Weather isn't slowing me down, down under. At the moment it's dreadfully hot in the day time and over the last week we have had violent thunder, lightning and rainstorms everynight! I'm not a dyed in the wool gloabal warmist but the weather here has been getting stranger and stranger.

Cheers

PS Love the spirals
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
For a cane I use walnut, oak, hickory ,dogwood, diamond willow and cedar except for the Diamond willow I have easy access to those. For my hiking sticks I will use many of the same woods and I try to keep a inventory of sassafras, maple. aspen, Most all of my embellishments are carvings and / or wood burning.The people I make them for do not take them to the woods. Most are walking a neighborhood. Others are collectors. Most of the cane handles I make are exotic woods that contrast with the wood I am using for the shaft. I had not used toppers much. Mostly just thumb stick toppers but was inspired by what I saw after coming to the forum. I have started to collect deer antler and other materials to incorporate in some of my sticks.
 

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Always interested in seeing any kind of antler work.Its pretty easy stuff to get and have seen some good work done on it. I prefer water buffalo horn its eayer to bend and carve .Antler is very hard sometimes see it use as a birds beak .On something like a woodcock/kingfisher its a perfect choice of material
 

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Does this forum save drafts while you are writing something? I just wrote 1/2 page and the darn thing quit, and I lost the reply I was typing.
 

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I was advised by an old timer several years ago about this method of getting Bois D'Arc wood suitable to make one piece canes. He said to cut off about 1/2 of a horizontal limb in the spring time. The tree will send out new sprouts, growing straight up. By fall, they will sometimes reach 8 or 10 feet in length and be straight with no knots. You can then cut off the old branch with the newly grown limb. Photo shows some I got that way.

As a side note, the rungs of wooden firefighting ladders are made from second growth Ash or Hickory, making strong straight grain with no knots.

Has anyone else tried this?
 

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Does this forum save drafts while you are writing something? I just wrote 1/2 page and the darn thing quit, and I lost the reply I was typing.
To my knowledge it does not. I've lost a few partially written posts myself. Usually by errant finger placement.

That is interesting about the pruning of the tree. Haven't tried it but it makes sense.
 
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