How to Whittle a Walking Stick

How to Whittle a Walking Stick
A walking stick is a great tool for hiking, offering a little support and protection during a long day on the trail. Whittling one takes just a little practice. You can personalize it with special touches, and if you don't have time to sandpaper it smooth, you can leave it looking rustic, with nicks and knobs.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hunting or Swiss army Knife
  • Work bench
  • Sandpaper
  • Gloves
Step 1
Find a durable stick or branch in the fallen forest cover. It should extend from your feet to your shoulder. Avoid cutting a branch off a live tree.
Step 2
Squeeze the stick or attempt to drive the edge of your fingernail into it. If it gives too easily or dents, pick something stronger. The best time to look for a walking stick is when it is dry out.
Step 3
Place the stick on the end of a table, allowing 6 inches to a foot to hang off. Be sure the side extending off the table is solid, not bending against the strike of your knife. Use a work table or old picnic table that you don't mind nicking.
Step 4
Using a Swiss army or hunting knife with a locking blade, scrape away the bark. Work the knife away from your body. Adjust the blade angle until you find one that feels comfortable. Run the blade over the bark in short strokes. Do not dig too deep; that will splinter the wood.
Step 5
Smooth any splinters, ridges, or knots with sandpaper. Use long, smooth strokes until the stick is comfortable to hold. Do not over-sand.
Step 6
Whittle the top of the walking stick into a point if you intend to use it for protection while hiking. Keep the pointed end up by your shoulder. Otherwise, the stick might become stuck in the mud or soft ground.
Step 7
Carve your name, initials or other symbols into your walking stick to personalize it.

Tips & Warnings

A personalized walking stick makes a great gift for a hiker.
To avoid injury when whittling, wear protective gloves and work slowly and deliberately.
Practice a little whittling on a stray branch until you're comfortable working on your walking stick.

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