How Walking Sticks Are Made
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Have you every wondered how your walking stick was made? At WalkingSticks.co.uk, we've outlined how walking stick makers make a wooden walking stick from scratch. If you're simply interested in the process, find out more by reading our blog post.
Selecting the Right Type of Wood
The type of wood you choose will alter the look and durability of your walking stick. If you'd like to find out more about some of the differences between various types of wood, check out our blog post on what the best wood is for walking sticks. Walking stick makers will carefully choose which material they use for their walking stick. Some of the favourites include blackthorn, ash and beech.
When looking for a piece of wood, walking stick makers will find a piece of wood that's long enough to accommodate a handle if they're making a stick's head and body with the same piece of wood. Stick shafts are usually made from one long piece of wood rather than several different parts.
Whittling the Bark
Wood usually has three types of bark: the outer layer, a green layer, and an inner layer of bark. The stick is whittled to remove the outer and green layers of the bark, leaving only the inner layer. This is a fairly time-consuming process, but it often makes for a more beautiful stick.
After this process, the stick is left to dry out overnight. As the inner layer of bark darkens when it decays, this makes it easier to see where the bark is so it can be removed.
Smoothing the Wood
Smoothing the wood is an important part of the process to making the walking stick look the part. Walking cane makers will scrape the inner layer of the bark off until the stick looks smooth. After this, the wood must be dried at a high temperature before the finishing touches are added.
Improving the Style of the Stick
The stick is then washed to get rid of any mould or dirt, then steamed so it becomes malleable enough to bend. Although this process was once completed by hand, nowadays this is usually done with a machine that quickly and easily moulds the stick into the correct shape. While the stick is stick fairly flexible, a machine called a "straightening horse" can be used to straighten out the stick.
The stick is then dried at a high temperature to solidify the stick's shape. After a couple of days' drying out, the stick is then cut down to the correct length and the end of the stick is pared down to later fit a ferrule.
Adding the Bells and Whistles
After this step, walking stick makers can either leave the stick au naturale or add any patterns, carvings or lacquering to the wood. The stick can even be stained with a flame, like the Gents' Birch Derby Cherry Stained Cane, to give it a more distinct look. The stick is then "nosed" (i.e. the handle end of the stick is rounded), cut down to size, and a ferrule is hammered into the end of the stick.
There you have it: the process for making a walking stick! Although it may sound like a fairly easy process, it takes a steady hand to complete the steps, particularly when it comes to adding the finishing touches.
If you need more information about our range of sticks you can contact our customer care team at 020 7501 0591 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Have you got anything to add? If so, leave us a comment or contact us on Facebook or Twitter!