If you love to hike then you probably already have or at least have
considered getting a hiking staff. They can make your trek up and
down the mountain so much more enjoyable and can serve you in many
ways. Some people just find a stick on their way up the mountain
and that works fine for them. If you want something that is truly
nice, you might consider making your own staff. It is sure to have
lots of meaning for you.
The first thing that you will want to do is to find a good piece
of wood or a stick. Choose something that is durable but not too
heavy. You want something that you can really put your weight into.
Some people swear by diamond willow, but it may be hard to find.
The easiest thing to do is to find a few suitable sticks on a trail
that you normally frequent. Make sure that it is long enough as
well. Remember that you can always cut off excess length, but you
can't put it back on, so choose carefully.
The next step is to remove the bark from the stick. Some of this
you can do with your bare hands but you will probably need a knife
to finish the job. A pocketknife or jackknife with a short, sharp
blade should do the trick; just make sure to wear gloves. Leather
gloves are best because they are harder to penetrate. Don't
overlook the gloves because they will help to protect you from nasty
cuts which are easy to come by when you are carving wood. In fact,
you may want to take even further precautions to protect your arms,
eyes and other vital body parts. Once you have removed all the bark,
you will want to sand the stick. You can use a simple piece of sand
paper or a drum sander. This is especially helpful if you plan to
make more than just a couple of staffs. Follow the sanding by cutting
the staff to size. Most people recommend that the staff be 6 inches
longer than where your elbow rests, but that is purely a personal
decision. You should choose a length that is comfortable for you
and still provides the necessary support.
When you have finished removing the bark, sanding and cutting to
size, you are ready for the fun part of making a hiking staff ...
personalizing it. You can carve whatever you wish to in your staff.
Some people like intricate designs, pictures or patterns. Some people
prefer to simply put their initials in the stick. You can even get
a wood burning kit form your local craft store and burn a design
into the staff. Whatever your choice, it will surely help your staff
to stand out from the rest and make it easy to identify as your
Making your own hiking staff can be truly rewarding. It gives you
a deeper appreciation of nature and what it provides to you. It
also means that you will have a stick that is well suited to you
and personalized. You will cherish the staff for years to come when
it is made from your own hands.