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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Theres so much variation here on the blank sticks people use from 6` in lengh to 2" thick

The different types of wood use is pretty amazing .So differrent from the varieties i use

my own shanks are useually 1.2m (48 inches) and have a daimeter of 25mm(1 inch) tapering down to approw20mm ( 0.75 of a inch) and are pretty strong and light which is why i use them

The one use for my pic is exactly that' For arguments sake most shanks are usually between 4ft-4ft 7 inches this usually covers the right height for most people?

I realise a lot of people carve the shanks therefore need the extra thickness but some of the hardwoods used must be heavy as some use shanks up to 6 ft in hieght,not only heavy but cubersom?

After all the most comfortable height for holding a hiking pole must be the height between the the armpit and the elbow? so anything above this adds weight ? making them clumsy and more dificult to transport?

Some harwoods by nature are heavy they may be strong but shanks made from say blackthorn will more than take the weight of most people?

Also i realise that a lot of your shanks stripped of bark enhance the looks of the shank and some are more prized than others,

So there is a amazing amout of difference in taste and functionalisum in peoples work but what come 1st looks or function?

whats your opinion after all just a matter of taste
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It was july 2012 when i 1st started carving hiking poles .Have learnt a lot from people old fashioned stick makers and books

Those old guys been making amazing market sticks and crooks for years and could never be as good as they are. .My degree is in three dimensional design ,and have done quite a lot of work with ceramics and glass ,before that i worked in the food industry as a food technologist ,setting up factorys and designing process.

i KEEP ASKING MYSELF WHY THE HELL AM I SO INTERESTED IN HIKING POLES?

I have always like wood and did want to be a cabinet maker ,things didnt go that way,

Seeing peoles work like Shawn Cipa and Ian Norbury make me want to look at the design concept even more but wonder will i evey be as competent as that?

Every thing i see i look at thinking what would i do to this?would it make a hiking pole?

Works of art i like such as Francis Bacon Frans Mark i look at saying could i do something with this?

So already back to those dam hiking poles, is it the simplicity of it or the sheer pleasure of creating some out of wood? Or is it shear stupidity
 

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CAS had a couple of posts showing Boy Scout "staves," or "staffs." They are shown pretty long, 5 - 6 feet, altho' there's a note by Baden-Powell about the extra size being more a matter of pride than function. As the pics show, the staff is not just for walking support, but use as a tool or component of a piece of camp furniture. I never had very fancy ones, but in general, long, heavy, wrapped with cord or leather for a grip, and length markings were standard for me.

I looked at my own scout manual, and the sticks are shown to reach shoulder height. For me, since age of 12, that's 5 feet. My joints are starting to complain from age and use, and I've decided that a few of the sticks I've made over the past few years are too heavy. Still, unless the wood I'm using is exceptionally strong, 1" thick sticks feel flimsy to me.

Why do it? 'Cause it makes you happy. That its marvelously satisfying, pretty cheap to do, and someone may actually pay you for having the fun of doing it? One can spend hours in intent concentration and effort, but still feel lazy at the end...

Haven't had to blow my nose for 20 minutes. Think I'll get out my spoke shave.
 

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For my walkingsticks I use 1 1/2" to 2" thick at the top. When posible I try to fit the linkth to the cusomer comfort zone. But when just making a stick I alow for a grip area of 7" to 8", starting at about 45" to 46" on the stick. I will leather rap or texture that space. This seems to work out well for most people. If I am going to carve below the grip area I will most offen top the stick at about 55" to 58". If I am carving above the grip I may go as high as 60" to 62" but rarely higher unless it is by request. For the most part these are decretive sticks. Or used to walk the niebgerhood. I do finish them for out door use. But these days the intresst seems to be in trecking poles for real hicking. My personal in the woods stick is a 1 1/4" x 55" plan hickory stick with a leather grip and a camer mount on top.
 

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I think you both right you make things to suit yourself,more then anything else

Just look up different sizes in one book by a pair of english stick makers they recomd anything between 0.75 of a inch to 1and 1/8 th of a inch and say anyhting tapering down to half its diameter is likley to be poorley balanced . The info is from "stickmaking a complete course by Andrew Jones & Clive George

A ameriican stick maker Frank C Russel produced a book "carving animal canes & walking sticks with power" published by Schiffer .He recomened a 3/4inch (dowel) to 1. inchs with a lengh of up to 6ft.and 1.25to 1.5 inches from natural material

Shawn cipa recomends 1.25inches .so just a matter of choice

But as for a 1inch being flimsy far from it would easily take the weight of any well built manAfter all a crook of this size is used to catch a full grown ewe.

None of them mentioned wood variety

I think i like this interest because i enjoy the research aspect ie i can ensure that any bird or whatever i carve is in propotion and get the eye colour right,i enjoy drawing then to the size of the shanki want but most of all i love the carving of the wood and the smell it gives whilst carving.

I wouldnt use a heavy hardwood myself there to heavy and clumsy i think.

But am considering carving a single shank for a change not sure what yet

But more good news for me have just been asked to carve a albertross asked what type ,he didnt know so thing it may be a northeren one just need to see what shapes and colours they are,

I have also been shopping around for some hickory wood not so easy here and sounds that its going to be pricey

But have fun

Just 1 more thing whilst i am babberling on ,i like what you have done to your pic is the face a good likeness? its not from a wanted poster is it?

food for thought "He who speaks softly and carries a big stick is treated with repect"

One more thing be careful what your holding when you wipe your nose or you may be noseless
 

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I dont use dowel for a shank myself i just dont like the looks of it to commercial, but we all have our own ways.I doubt very much if people always agree on everything in relation to stickmaking, we all have our own ideas.

But would love to lay my hands on some hickory just to look at the grain and feel the weight to see if it would work with my ideas.

I know a lot of people turn there sticks but they seem to be used mainly for walking aids as not many turners have a very long bed on the lathe.Even turning gives a stick a bit more character as you can put a lot of design work into it.giving it more character

what i call a walking stick you refer to as a cane and i call a walking stick a hiking pole or hking stick sometimes the context of description gets lost
 

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Your right Cobalt we all have our own ways and that is what I love about these forums. We can learn tips and tricks from others from all over the world. Thanks for sharing the difference in terms. It will help me understand and communicate better.

It had not accrued to me that you did not have hickory in England. Is oak your primary wood for things tool handles there? I have a small lathe I use to turn pens. The sell an extinction that would let me turn up to 36" but I am not sure I would use it enough to justify the cost. I have turned some cane handles ad some decretive inserts I have place between the handle and the shaft. Some times it does not take very much to add that special look to a cane or stick. There is some truth to the saying ,less can be more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The regular members her have a few variations of stick each one personnel to him some nice peices, there styles vary but have some useful information and most are willing to help if they can.

I do like to see whats happening else where and the style is very different from the one i see.

Oftern the stick is a extension of ourselfs ,not whats just on it but the stick size shape preferance and choice of wood Size and the thickness and why we use it and what for

Take the glass cane it was never ment to be used its a showpeice a good one and was probably made to prove somethingas at the time it was made it would have been expensive
 

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Here's something I'd like to add. My wife has become quite sensitive to the weight, and tho' she does use a few of the sticks I've made on woodland walks, for around town and the house she uses an adjustable height aluminum cane. I've noticed more and more of these in use, perhaps because the local population is aging, and the winter has made it difficult to walk around. I've seen a few for sale that are made from plastic, but almost all are made from aluminum tubing. Real wood is very uncommon.

I'm supposing that being a commodity item, they satisfy the vendor's needs in various ways. That is, they are inexpensive to mass produce, and can be easily decorated. Because they are adjustable, most of the population can have a size that is acceptable. They must be strong enough to guard against product liability claims, altho' I've noticed that some are sold with tags saying "Only for balance, not support."

I measured and weighed my wife's cane. It weighs 330 grams, The length can vary between 76 and 99 centimeters, including the section that is bent horizontal for the handle. So here's a ratio. The cane varies between 3.3 and 4.2 grams per centimeter. I decided to compare this ratio to some of the sticks I've made.

At one end, there were a few I made for my wife that I called "lady lites." To me, very flimsy, and barely useful for keeping balance. They average around 2.6 g/cm, and less massive overall than the commercial offering.

The most massive I've made comes in at 5.8 g/cm. With some use, I've decided it is unpleasantly heavy.

The shilelagh style I made of white oak is 5.7 g/cm. Its pretty hefty, but I did consider putting a few ounces of lead into the handle. As a comparison, the Cold Steel polypropylene cast shilelagh is 8.4 g/cm.

On the average, the sticks I've made are more massive than the commercial model. The ones I use most often range from 4.4 to 4.7 g/cm. with a maximum weight around 620 gm. I'm sure that when I was younger, more massive would not have been negligable, but back then, hauling around 2" x 12" x 10' spruce boards was a daily event.

As to how tall the pieces I've made and use are, the shortest comes up to the heel of my hand, with the tallest coming to the middle of my shoulder.

Some of the less dense woods I've used, such as sasafrass and soft maple, started around 2" thick and are now around 1.5. While they are not heavy, a shank that thick keeps them very rigid. While I know that the compressive strength of most woods is very high, I look for a shaft that does not flex when pushed at an angle, as if one were leaning into the stick going up or down a hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here's something I'd like to add. My wife has become quite sensitive to the weight, and tho' she does use a few of the sticks I've made on woodland walks, for around town and the house she uses an adjustable height aluminum cane. I've noticed more and more of these in use, perhaps because the local population is aging, and the winter has made it difficult to walk around. I've seen a few for sale that are made from plastic, but almost all are made from aluminum tubing. Real wood is very uncommon.
thats something i have never looked into but think your right about the mass produced about being cheap and satisfingy there needs

As your from a sience background i will leave you to calculate this ( like my glasses cant find my calculater)

just measured a hazel shank its 50.5"(175mm)it weighs 307g its a hiking pole i know the diameter of the top is 25mm (near as dam it a inch) tapering down to 22mm so hows that compare per cm?

to me its light and strong dont think thickness is all that relevat to strengh as long as its capable of doing the job.and most shanks are .A lot of people have been using these since time began, you can catch a ewe with a hazel crook without any bother

A shank that is bent or curved does not have the strengh of a straight one the weakness comes from its bend.Aliminum are strong enough for most people but ones they have a dint in to much wieght they will give way

Dosnt flexing oftern help it if its not allowed to flex the its more likley to snap?This is something i dont know but as long as the shanks sound even a 3/4" dowel will take a terrific amout of weight? which would be more than enough suppert ?

hopefully more ideas? Iwas wondering how much weight different shanks can take? anyone know
 

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Cobalt,

I did the division, and the hiking pole you mention comes out at 1.7 g/cm. That is a good bit lighter than anything of mine that I've measured.

I looked over a variety of sites to see what the sizes of commercial hiking and trekking poles might be. One site gave an over view of aluminum poles. They list full extension up to 149 cm, and weights between 255 - 312 g. The weight to length ratio runs from 1.7 to 2.1 at full extension.

The site mentioned that carbon fiber was lighter, but not as durable.

I looked at some items listed as hiking poles. Comparing carbon to aluminum, the aluminum was almost half again as heavy. However, there was a shot of a carbon pole flexing to such an extent, I was reminded more of a fishing pole than a hicking pole.

The only wooden hiking stick I could find came out at 4 g/cm, and it was advertised as super light. It appears that in terms of weight, aluminum and carbon fiber are going to equal or beat most wood.

As I searched around, I came across someone saying that on average, one square inch of wood could support 625 pounds of weight straight down the grain. Another article mentions that on average the strength of wood against force parallel to the grain is between 13 and 20 times great than the strength against force across the grain. This is what gives me pause. I've had a few situations where a pole tip has gone down a mouse hole, or wedged between two branches on the ground. One the time when one went into a mouse hole, when I lurched forward, I could hear the stick starting to crack. It didn't break, which was good, because i was in a very swampy area, and I really did need some support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I suppose diffrent woods have different strengh? but in the end i think we all go for what atracts us to a shank whether its the grain itself or the bark.In some ways debarking the shank offers more in the way of decoration,use of paints dyes etc.carvinga shank offers as much again in decoration. Bi still like the natural look of hazel with its many colour and pattination along with chestnut ,holly.and blackthorn.Ash on the other hand i find it a bland colour,even if it has been the backbone of many jobe in the home for many a century.Mayby its what we have done for centurys as hunter gathers it basic primevil way of life.Hunting is longer some thing i wish to do but a stroll through some pleasent woods in good company with a simple lunch in a back pack and a real ale always brings a smile ,whilst life runs bye

Interesting to see the diferances between commercial hiking poles and .mayby lots of people wont agree with this ,but good crafted ones still for me are superior.

Thats one reason why i choose a dodo for my hiking pole mayby i am near extinction? lol
 

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It was july 2012 when i 1st started carving hiking poles .Have learnt a lot from people old fashioned stick makers and books

Those old guys been making amazing market sticks and crooks for years and could never be as good as they are. .My degree is in three dimensional design ,and have done quite a lot of work with ceramics and glass ,before that i worked in the food industry as a food technologist ,setting up factorys and designing process.

i KEEP ASKING MYSELF WHY THE HELL AM I SO INTERESTED IN HIKING POLES?

I have always like wood and did want to be a cabinet maker ,things didnt go that way,

Seeing peoles work like Shawn Cipa and Ian Norbury make me want to look at the design concept even more but wonder will i evey be as competent as that?

Every thing i see i look at thinking what would i do to this?would it make a hiking pole?

Works of art i like such as Francis Bacon Frans Mark i look at saying could i do something with this?

So already back to those dam hiking poles, is it the simplicity of it or the sheer pleasure of creating some out of wood? Or is it shear stupidity
i KEEP ASKING MYSELF WHY THE HELL AM I SO INTERESTED IN HIKING POLES?

I keep asking myself the same question.

No real answer, other than I'm delighted to be using wood that would otherwise be chipped for compost, or burned as waste in a garbage pit, or set in a brush pile to rot away, (as a home for the songbirds and rabbits).

Shear (sheer) stupidity has nothing to do with making sticks as elegantly carved as your toppers are. That takes a great deal of thought, visualisation, skill, and the ability to buy the correct tools. Stupidity doesn't enter into that scenario. Your creativity, and joy of life, are being expressed through your hiking poles.

Another reason is just simply the Joy Of Learning.

Another reason is the Joy Of Helping Others.

Another reason is making an aid for a challenged person that makes a differeech nce in their lifestyle. Changing an "invisible person" to a "person to be respected", is a major achievement.

Another reason is bringing natures beauty to the notice of Modern Mans infatuation with high tech devices. Sometimes, Old world, Low Tech pieces of wood outshine the smart phone.
 

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Cobalt,

In reference to your #1 post: function or looks.

I am an Eagle Scout since 15 years of age, so I'm used to using a 5' to 6' foot staff. I still have one I made in 1984 from a 6' piece of ¾ " EMT (electrical conduit), plugged top and bottom with a bit of wood dowel, wrapped in camouflage tape with the top 18" double spiral wrapped with electrical rubber insulating tape (not vinyl electrical tape, the kind used to insulate split bolt splices of #8 or larger wire sizes. Vinyl tape is used over the rubber tape to protect it inside pull boxes).

In Utah, where I made it, going uphill, hand grip was at the bottom of the rubber tape, 4' 6" or so. Coming back downhill, grip was at the top. Light, stiff, very tough, and not shiny. Not beautiful, nor used anywhere but on hikes outdoors.

That one I made for pure function, and has lived up to that for 30 years.

My wife has a bad back, and uses a cane, adjustable length, set at the "proper relaxed wrist height" for her, of 33". It's made of black powdercoated metal, with plastic handle and foot. When the Wife used it while in public, people treated her as if she were invisible until they had no choice but to see her, then were annoyed with her for being in their way. She also had a hard time walking with it, as she had to lean sideways while using it. It is a commercial product made for function, not looks.

This Christmas, I bought her a Cold Steel Shilellaugh. It being 37" tall worked better for her. She didn't have to lean so much sideways to use it. However, she still seemed invisible to people, as plastic wood just doesn't get attention. Or, it could be that the shilellaugh is mostly black, and people just don't see it until they are right on top of it. Good for a weapon, not a walking aid. Then, they are close enough to see that it's plastic, and just dismiss it, with no respect. This one is built by a very good company with function foremost, but a bit of looks as its selling point.

I found that I had a piece of Hawthorne stout enough to make a walking stick in my brushpile. I retrieved it and made a 48" stick of it for the wife. She likes the grip at about 42", as she is no longer leaning sideways, just a little frontways. Her back is way happier.

This stick has function.

First and second times out with her using this stick have been amazing. She is "visible". People hold doors open for us, give her room to get around shopping carts in the grocery, and don't complain anymore that she walks too slow. So, looks have a big part in being a walking aid, by my experience.

I'm sold on "Stick Magic". Function and beauty.
 
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