How to Make a Hiking Stick Staff

How to Make a Hiking Stick StaffA hiking stick staff is one of the most useful pieces of gear you can take with you on the trail. A hiking stick can help with balance by acting as a third contact point to your legs, it can help transfer weight from your torso and legs and it can be used to reach others for assistance. Many staffs are commercially made from wood, aluminum and carbon fiber. However, a perfectly good and functional staff can be made for a fraction of the cost at home.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sapling or limb
  • Wood saw
  • Knife
  • Sand paper (fine and medium grit)
  • Drill and bit
  • Cord or leather strap
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Rag
  • Rubber cane tip
Step 1
Select a sapling or limb that is green, or alive, and long enough to make a staff. Most staffs will need to be at least 5 to 6 feet long. A longer length of wood is a good idea as it allows for some margin of error when making the staff.
Step 2
Cut the limb or sapling free with a wood saw. When the staff is free, remove any knots or limbs with the saw or a knife. When using the knife always cut away from you to help reduce the possibility of injury.
Step 3
Cut a slit in the bark of the staff with the knife. Begin working the bark from the hiking staff so that the bare wood underneath is exposed. You may want to leave a 6 to 8 inch strip of wood about one foot from the top of the staff as a hand hold. Round the top of the staff with the knife and even the bottom as much as possible.
Step 4
Place the staff on a level surface in a warm area and allow to dry for 30 to 45 days depending on how wet, or green, the wood is.
Step 5
Remove the staff from the drying area when the moisture content in the wood is decreased. Drill a hole 2 to 3 inches from the top of the staff with a hand or electric drill and bit. The hole should be large enough to accept a length of cord or leather to form a hand loop.
Step 6
Tie the ends of the cord or leather together with a square knot to form a loop. The loop should be large enough to slip your hand through and still be able to grip the staff.
Step 7
Sand the entire length of the staff with medium and then fine grit sandpaper. Wipe the wood dust from the staff and apply a coat of boiled linseed oil with a rag. Work the oil into the wood so that it will act as a protective finish. Allow the staff to dry completely before using. Place a rubber cane tip on the end for traction and to protect the staff end.

Tips & Warnings

Consider adding either inch or foot markings on the staff as a means of measuring in the field.
Use caution when sawing and cutting the staff to avoid injury.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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