How to Build a Hiking Stick From Wood

How to Build a Hiking Stick From WoodA sturdy hiking stick helps you climb hills, steadies you on difficult terrain and can even be used to fight off attacking animals. Having a third balance point also makes crossing streams easier. Building your own hiking stick is a straightforward process but creating the finish on your stick takes time. The finished product will last for years. When you start your project, choose a branch that reaches from the ground to the space between your nose and forehead.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Ax or saw
  • Knife
Step 1
Find a sturdy, straight branch without a lot of knots or smaller branches. Before you cut it, wrap your hand around the part you plan to hold as you hike. Make sure it's a comfortable fit but is still thick enough to support your weight. About a 6-inch diameter is comfortable for most people.
Step 2
Cut the branch. Remove all the side branches as close to the main branch as possible. Make a smooth, even cut across the bottom. Round the top of the stick if you'll be placing your hand on it or leaning your chin against it to rest your back.
Step 3
Peel the bark and the soft inner bark, it it's present, from the branch so the bare wood is exposed.
Step 4
Gently rub your hand across the branch to check for rough spots and splinters. Use a sharp knife to remove them.
Step 5
Use the oil in your hands to create a smooth surface on your walking stick. Rub your hands up and down and around the stick. This process takes time. Plan for a couple of weeks if you work on the stick daily. Eventually the surface will take on a smooth, clean character.

Tips & Warnings

The stick can be used while you're finishing the surface. Rub it when you take a break during a hike.
Add character to your walking stick by choosing a branch with a knot at the place that will become the top of your stick.
You can stain your stick and then apply polyurethane if you don't want to take the time to rub it smooth.

Article Written By Meg Jernigan

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.

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