How my Maple Sticks are made
Harvesting the sticks:
I cut the raw maple saplings along the rail way tracks near my cabin (actually I cut suckers that grow from the stumps of previously cut larger trees. These trees have been cut by the rail road because of infringement onto their right of way). I haul them home on my back, sometimes a mile or more. I always look forward to getting out in the fresh air looking for the sticks. The exercise doesn't hurt me either. I cut them longer than I need so I can decide later, what length to make them.
The first picture on the right is a fresh batch of sticks that I am preparing for drying. Two of the sticks have been pealed.
Drying the sticks:
The second picture on the right is a group of maple sticks ready for drying. (Note how the color is already changing when compared to the two freshly pealed sticks in the first photo.) The sticks are clamped to 2x6 boards so they will dry straight, as maple has a tendency to warp while drying. All the sticks in the picture have only their outer bark pealed off. The inner bark remains. Some sticks I don't peal at all and others I peal completely to the wood. Removing none of the bark, some of the bark or all the bark provides the variety of coloring in my finished sticks.
The maple sticks are dried naturally for a minumum of six months and most as long as one year. The longer they are allowed to dry the better the color becomes.
My Work Shop:
You don't need a fancy shop to make walking sticks. As you can see from the picture below my shop is only an 8'x10' shed with a large covered table out front. I can work outside most of the year if I dress warmly in the winter. I have some power tools inside that I move to the outdoor table whenever the weather permits. The shed is also heated so I can work inside if necessary. Some day soon I will add a picture here of the inside of my work shop (have to clean it up first though).
Utilizing all the harvested stick:
I waste as little as possible. The narrow end of the raw sapling, I use to make
If the sapling turns out not to be suitable to turn into a walking stick or a cane, I use the knobby end to make a bonker. Anything left over I burn in my cabin's wood burning stove.
My two favourite tools are laying on the table in the first picture. I always carry a folding saw with me incase I find a potential walking stick. I use a curved carpet knife to peal the sticks. It works better than any other cutting device I have tried.