This video is dedicated to my dad on his 70th birthday and I have a guide below explaining the whole process of how I made this walking stick for him.
I’m making him a walking stick as he enjoys walking but due to an old injury struggles a little so I thought this might help.
And since I mentioned his age and frailties, he can also use it to beat me with!
For this project you will need:
- A stick – hazel, ash or any strong wood works well
- Some buffalo horn pre-shaped – I’m using a pistol grip style
- A bone disc – not vital but will make the handle look much nicer
- Threaded bar – I’m using 8mm
- Brass ferrule for the end of the stick
- Sandpaper – multiple grits
- Abrasive paste
I started by sanding the end of the pre-shaped buffalo horn flat. I wasn’t too worried about a fine finish here as this is where the glue would go so I just used 180 grit sandpaper.
I then marked a centre point with my centre finder, set the drill depth about 30mm and drilled a small hole for the 8mm threaded rod that will connect this to the stick.
I then took the (presumably human?) bone and sanded it flat and the two ends parallel to each other and again marked the centre but this time drilled the hole straight through it.
I then marked with a pencil where the bone and horn meet and slowly shaped the bone down to size with my bench sander.
The hazel stick I had to grow so I used some hazelnut chocolate, dirt and water and a few magic words…
Once grown I tested the ideal height using me as reference since I’m about the same height as my dad.
I then cut the stick to the size accounting for the rough size of the handle and then marked the centre of the end of the stick.
I then drilled a pilot hole to make sure the hole lined up correctly (I’ve been burnt by this before!) and finally a larger hole for the threaded rod.
I then double-checked the handle would match up with the stick, sanding and shaping the bone and horn further until it was a perfect fit.
The other end of the stick needed a ferrule to protect it so I did a test fit and whittled down so it fitted snuggly.
Once happy I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy and glued the ferrule onto the end of the stick ensuring any excess was wiped off quickly. Its better to do this now than later ones its dried!
While the glue was out I turned to the parts of the handle and glued them together. To ensure everything was a really tight fit I put clamping force on the threaded rod with my vice and a separate wing nut onto the bone spacer.
Once properly dried I did some final shaping of the head piece to ensure it matched the stick then sanded up the grips with 120, 240 and finally 400 grit sandpaper. In hindsight I should have used more grit sizes in between to hide the toolmarks as this made the final sand extremely long.
I then put on some Yorkshire grit, an abrasive paste that I normally use for woodturning. Its amazing stuff though and worked into the piece it gives you a wet sand that doesn’t get dust everywhere plus the particles in it break down to give you finer and finer sand as you go on. I wipe it off when done leaving something fairly polished without doing actual polishing.
I last check to see it fits and then I add epoxy to the thread rod and glue the head onto the stick.
The bark I wanted to leave on as this helps protect the stick, just as it once did while the tree was growing. Plus it looks fantastic.
A special mix of 1 part linseed 1 part tung 1 part mineral spirits was mixed up and I put on 3-4 coats with 24 hours between coats lightly with lint-free cloth.
Teak oil works too instead of Tung and I can say since its nearly 2 years since he’s had the stick, its held up extremely well.
The stick (sorry to ruin the magic), ferrule, bone and handle were purchased from the awesome Keith Pickering and not actually grown. If you want to make one please check out his stuff at:
This is my first walking stick but I’ve developed a taste for it so please let me know if you’re interested in seeing more! Maybe next time I’ll hand carve something interesting for the handle.
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