How to Make Walking Poles

How to Make Walking Poles
While hikers have been using them for generations in Europe, only more recently have Americans caught onto the trend of using walking poles in the woods. These sticks do more than make a fashion statement: they take stress off your knees and back, increase your balance, and save you from falling in dangerous ascents or descents. Making your own poles is a matter of personal preference, but there are a few techniques that are tried and tested.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 8 -foot-long branches of different woods
  • Sandpaper
  • Heavy-duty knife
  • Pebbles,
  • Sand
  • Rocks
Step 1
Go for the authentic look. While hiking, pick up any two sticks of equal thickness. Cut the pieces to your size. (Your sticks should reach at least to your chest.) Place a few handfuls of rocks, dirt, and pebbles into a bandanna or old shirt. With one end of the stick, vigorously slide the stick back and forth through the mixture while holding onto the bandanna or shirt. This motion will remove any burrs, bark or dirt, giving the stick a smooth handle.
Step 2
Find two large pieces of maple wood (or wood of your choice). Make sure these are at least 8 feet in length--you'll want to be able to have some room to cut. Remove the bark from the pieces by cutting notches at the top with your knife and peeling downward. Make sure all of the bark is off. Leave the exposed sticks to dry in the sun for at least a week.
Step 3
Begin sanding the sticks after they've dried. Remember that a week may not be a sufficient period of time for proper drying. Using first a coarser brand, then a finer grain, continue to make the wood smooth to the touch. You'll want to keep the bottom portion a bit rougher than up near where you'll hold the sticks.
Step 4
Carve your own hand holds. You can get quite creative here--anything from simple notches to elaborate engravings. It's truly up to you. One popular method is to carve out indentations for finger holds. This gives the staff an ergonomic design. You can also remove entire sections so the top of the stick resembles a handle.
Step 5
Finish the staff with a lacquer. There are several options from which to choose. You can also simply stain the poles, but a stain will most likely come off shortly after you begin walking with the poles.

Article Written By Duncan Jenkins

Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.

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