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How to Care for Your Wooden Walking Stick


Walking sticks are beautiful pieces of natural craftsmanship, carved by hand and made from trees that have taken decades to grow. Whether yours is a collectors' item or a mobility aid, it deserves to be kept in the best condition. The care of your walking stick also gives you an opportunity for personalisation, to make it truly unique to you. 

This guide is a compilation of tips from industry experts, and lovers of natural artistry. If you are considering the construction of your own walking stick one day, following these maintenance tips is a good way to start learning. Working with natural materials requires real care and attention.

How to Care for Your Wooden Walking Stick
Working with natural materials requires care and attention

What's Covered in this Guide?

How Do I Clean and Care for My Walking Stick?

The details of caring for your walking stick will depend on what type of wood it is made from. For instance, unvarnished woods like ash should not be polished, whereas polish might be beneficial for hazel and blackthorn. When rambling, mud and dirt can adhere to your stick. Over time this will damage the varnish, bore its way into the wood and tear at the grain fibres. A quick rub-down with a damp cloth will do the trick, ideally with a lint-free, non-abrasive cloth.

Is It Important to Keep My Stick Dry?

Wood is porous and is liable to expand as it gets wet, and contract as it dries, reducing the wood's overall tensile strength. Crook handle sticks will spring open if they are left in damp conditions, and any varnish is likely to flake. 

Although rain and wetness will not harm your stick in the short term, it is important to dry your stick. It is advisable to use a lint free non-abrasive cloth to avoid scratches. 

Where Should I Store My Stick?

Many people store their sticks in places where they might incur damage. Damp can cause damage, but so can direct heat or sunlight. Drastic temperature changes can lead to cracks or general instability within the structure of the wooden stick.

Some places you should avoid storing your stick are as follows:

  1. Direct sunlight
  2. Beside a radiator or stove
  3. Backs of cars
  4. Outside porches 

Can I Polish My Walking Stick?

If your stick is varnished, for instance hazel or blackthorn sticks, then a light polish with good wood furniture polish can be beneficial. A little beeswax, if used sparingly, can give a nice shine to the wood. 

Another alternative is shoe polish, although remember it doesn't take a lot to get the job done. If your stick has a light varnish finish, a neutral-coloured shoe polish can keep it looking its best. For darker wooden sticks, a similar colour of dark shoe polish will work a treat.

Bear in mind that unvarnished sticks, for instance ash, should not be polished. They should instead just be wiped down with a damp cloth if they become dirty.

Beeswax can be used to polish your walking stick
Beeswax can be used to give wood a nice shine 

Can I Stain My Walking Stick Myself?

Staining your walking stick is a tremendously difficult job and different woods will react in different ways to the stain. Only very knowledgeable craftsmen should attempt this. 

How Do I Deal with Nicks, Scratches or Cracks in Walking Sticks?

As you build up a healthy number of excursions with your stick, regular wear and tear may result in a few nicks and scratches along the way. Try to pay attention to any loose pieces of wood that develop, as it's better to remove these bits than let them get any worse. Alternatively, you can try to glue these bits back on, as a little shoe polish over the injured area can leave it looking good as new. 

Walking Stick Care Accessories

One of the most common ways in which people damage their walking sticks is by dropping or losing them. The easiest way to combat this is to use either a wrist loop or a tabletop holder such as the ones below to ensure that your cane won't clatter to the ground, causing potential injury. These are also handy tools to prevent the loss of your walking stick. 

Brown Walking Stick Wrist Loop

brown walking stick wrist loop

Why We Love it...

 Prevents walking stick from falling and becoming damaged or getting lost
 Useful accessory for mobility aid users
 Wrist loop frees up hands
 Compatible with any walking stick and available in other colours



Reflective Foldable Tabletop Walking Stick and Cane Holder

walking stick clipon tabletop holder reflective

Why We Love it...

 Conveniently rests on the edge of the table
 Reduces need to place walking stick on ground and becoming lost 
 Tabletop holder simply folds back down when walking with cane
 Reflective design improves safety when using at night


Replacement Ferrules for Walking Sticks - Which One is Best?

Ferrules are crucial to protect the bottom of your stick, which makes it especially important for wooden sticks that are prone to splitting or impact damage. However if you can see your ferrule is wearing down, replace it immediately, as it is perhaps the most important tool you can have in your arsenal to care for your stick. They need to be replaced more or less frequently depending on wear, like horseshoes on a horse.

Type D Black Walking Stick Rubber Ferrule - Best for Everyday Heavy Duty Usage

For general everyday heavy duty usage, the Type D Black Walking Stick Ferrule makes an excellent replacement if your usual walking stick ferrule has worn down. Created with straight sides and a concentric ring tread for additional support, the Black Walking Stick Ferrule provides you with excellent and sturdy support.

Type D Black Walking Stick Rubber Ferrule

Why We Love it...

 Sturdy ferrule for excellent support
 Straight sides with concentric ring trend
 Ideal as a spare or replacement ferrule
 Available in four internal diameters


Type J Bendy Bottom Flexible Rubber Walking Stick Ferrule - Best for Extra Safety

If you find that your ferrule wears down on one side more than the other you might try a type J ferrule, for instance the Bendy Bottom Flexible Rubber Walking Stick Ferrule. The flexible neck ensures full contact with the ground on each step even in wet and slippery floors, ensuring it doesn't wear down unevenly.

type J bendy bottom flexible black walking stick rubber ferrule

Why We Love it...

 Rubber ferrule with excellent grip reduces risk of slipping in wet surfaces
 Bends to prevents uneven wear extending life 
 Walking stick can balance upright on its own
 Available in an internal diameter of 16mm, 19mm or 22mm


Do I Have to Maintain My Walking Stick?

Walking sticks will still look fantastic even left untreated, thanks to their original quality and workmanship. Yet treating your own stick will add a touch of something special, and help to make it truly yours. To see everything we have available to keep your stick in top shape, check out our Walking Sticks Accessories Section!

Shop Walking Sticks with All Your Favourite Wood Types

Do you have a question, or something to add? Let us know in the comments section below, or find us on Twitter and Facebook!

Eric Pellikka
06 March 2021  |  13:40

Stick arrived today.. Very pleased with it, and it looks lovely. As I only use it indoors, I hope it will last well. The advice on maintenance is very useful.

08 July 2021  |  16:50

Hi Eric,

We're delighted to hear you're happy with your walking stick!

It's always a good idea to give your cane a bit of care to keep it looking in top shape. After all, the manufacturer will have put plenty of work in to finish it just right!

Let us know if there's anything we can help you with.

Kind regards,

Eugene at