How to Make Walking Sticks

How to Make Walking SticksWalking sticks allow you to hike with more stability. They are sold in stores but can be made very inexpensively from many kinds of wood. Hardwoods are more durable but are harder to work with. Softwoods are easy to handle but can buckle under severe stress. Choose one based on your aesthetic preference and hiking needs.


Difficulty: Moderate

Detailed Step

Things You’ll Need:
  • Stick (level in height with your shoulder)
  • Saw
  • Knife
  • Drill (optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Shellac or polyurethane
Step 1
Get your stick by cutting down a sapling and sawing off the branches. The sapling should be tall enough to give you a 2-inch diameter handle and no less than a 1 1/2-inch base.
Step 2
Use a knife to strip off the bark. Make a cut lengthwise on the stick and peel the bark or skin the stick with the knife.
Step 3
Leave a green stick to season for one to three months. This will prevent shrinkage and cracking.
Step 4
Carefully remove bumps from where the branches were attached by using a fine-toothed saw. If needed, use a small wood rasp or file.
Step 5
Drill a hole in the handle end of the stick about two inches from the top. This will be for the strap, which can be made of leather or synthetic material. It should be about 14 inches long.
Step 6
Sand the branch by first using 150-grit sandpaper, then 250-grit and finally 320-grit. This will give it a very smooth finish that is ready for finishing.
Step 7
Stain the branch with a shade of your choice. Let the color soak in well and leave the stick to dry overnight.
Step 8
Brush on shellac or polyurethane to give the stick a glossy finish. This will also protect the wood from dirt, rocks and insects. Attach the strap by threading one end through the hole near the handle and then tying a knot using both ends. You can then slip your hand through this when walking to keep from losing your stick.

Tips & Warnings

For a shinier, smoother surface, sand your shellac or polyurethane with 400-grit sandpaper.
Do not point the tip of your walking stick or put a sharp object on the end. This can be extremely hazardous.
Use a stick from an approved location. Don't take sticks from national parks or private property without permission.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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