How to make a Walking Stick, Hiking Stick or Cane

details from the rainforests of Vancouver Island BC

by Wupen Sticks

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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).

Preparing maple sticksClamped maple sticks

Utilizing all the harvested stick:
I waste as little as possible. The narrow end of the raw sapling, I use to make
bag handles.
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.

Bringing home fresh cut sticks

me carrying raw sticks

I have several freshly cut maple sticks on my back. I lugged these about a mile. Green maple is pretty heavy (great exercise). You can see how long these sticks are by looking at the picture to the right.

My Shop

my shop

This is the awning in front of my work shop. My shop is a converted 8'x10' wood shed. I prefer to work outside. I have a large table outside where I can position my power tools when needed.

Check out my shop and how I make a walking cane on

My New Shop Addition

my new shop

I replaced my awning in front of my shop with an enclosed structure just in time to keep out the snow. Also protects me from the cold wind coming off the lake.

A new addition for the 2008/2009 winter

me after a snow shoe

We normally get one good dump of snow each winter. This year I was able to go for a snow shoe a couple times before it started to melt. Also tried out my cross country skis that had been collecting dust for some time.

As time goes on, I will be adding more pictures and details on making other types of walking sticks, canes, bonkers, and baghandles. Bookmark my site and come back again if you would like to know more. Click on the buttons at the top of this page to check out my products. Thanks for visiting my site.