Sticks & crooks representative image

“ The best, the most dainty car is a walking stick ; and one of the finest things in animation is going on a travel with it ” – Robert Coates

What are sticks and crooks?

A stick is a walk aid, the potency of which depends on its system of weights, length and the condition of its manage. A crook is a perplex traditionally used by shepherds, the cover of which is the right shape to hook a sheep by the neck or back branch. A criminal tends to be longer than a stay for this argue. A basic stick might be something you find on a walk in the woods, or can be something designed and crafted much more cautiously .

A walk ( or market ) stick is ‘ nose in ’ – i.e. the nose of the cover faces in, whereas a bend is ‘ nuzzle out ’ ( see photos ). A flick joint has a v-shaped handle that your finger slips through .
Sticks may well have been humans ’ first tools – as hammers / clubs and for defense mechanism vitamin a well as for walking. They can distillery be used for self-defense, of run – and the Irish shillelagh, for case, is decidedly as much weapon as walking stick. Sticks became fashionable for gentlemen in the seventeenth century when it was no longer acceptable to carry swords in public. Crooks about decidedly would have been first made by shepherds ; rams ’ horns would have been available for handles – the arrant determine to hook sheep – to catch them or to rescue them from bogs etc.

The main diaphysis, or shank of the stick is wooden, and the handle can be crafted from the same piece of wood, or be attached individually. There can be a collar between the handle and cannon, for more stability at the joint ; and there is normally a ferrule or boot at the bottom of the shank, for contact with the ground. Handles can be of woodwind, bone, horn or antler. See the diagram below for the parts of the handle. A full stick will be both ignite and strong .

What are the benefits of sticks and crooks?

  • a stick is an invaluable aid for walking. It can be used to pull yourself uphill, and take pressure off knees and hips when coming downhill
  • you don’t have to be old to use a stick. It will make life a lot easier for your joints, and you’ll be up and down mountains to a ripe old age
  • they can be works of art – and that is generally the aim of professional stickmakers; and no two hand-made sticks are the same
  • they can be made from natural, and often found materials, with minimum environmental impact in their manufacture
  • it’s a great craft skill that could be turned into a small business

various parts of a walking stick / crook

What can I do?

You can buy a joint from a stickmaker ( or stick dresser ), or you can make your own – in which case a course might be a dependable estimate, and there are respective dear books ( see resources for all the above ). A well-made stick can last respective generations. The most common wood for sticks is probably hazel, due to its lastingness and tractability. Willow, pear, crab apple and blackthorn are used excessively, but you can make a stick from any species .

Cutting & preparing the shank
Choose a terminal for your shank carefully – adenine true as potential and less than 1¼ column inch ( 32mm ) diameter or it won ’ metric ton straighten well. The standard jest is that the best time to pick your shank is when you see it, otherwise person else will – but actually, the best fourth dimension is November to February, when the blackjack is down and you ’ ll do less damage to the tree. Coppiced trees will produce true poles, and cutting your shank is truly a piece of coppicing, and will lengthen the life of the tree. It can be done with a bill .

Let your shank temper for 2-3 years under overlay – so you ’ ll be working on sticks that you harvested at least a couple of years previously. If you ’ re going to be making more than one stick, tie a bunch together of shanks together before storing / seasoning – it keeps them square, and you can steam / straighten them all at the same clock time, reducing your study load .
The first tax in making a stick is straightening. First you apply heat via a steam box, which you can make yourself from a metallic pipe or a long wooden box. It needs to be around 4ft 6in ( 1370mm ) retentive, or 5ft ( 1500mm ) for crook, and 4 in ( 100mm ) wide / diameter. Close one end, make a little hole in the top to release the press, and put 3-5 shanks in. Insert the tube of a steam wallpaper stripper well in the open end and steam them for around an hour. then to straighten them, either bend them with your knee or use a stick bid, which comprises two pieces of forest and a frailty ( see photograph below ) .

Fitting the handle and ferrule

You can find what you need for a manage from the rampantly – be it wood, cornet, antler or cram – or you can buy it from a specialist supplier. soft wood is preferable for a cover as it ’ s easier to work. Horn goes through a march of boil and pressing to make it flat .

Drill into your wield, standard precisely the length drilled and make a polish peg at the acme of the shank by whittling away the forest until it makes a perfect roast. Glue the manage to the peg with epoxy resin. You can fit a brass, copper or other type of metallic collar excessively, for extra stability. then shape the treat after it ’ second fitted to the shank, with files and emery paper. Shape against the grain until it ’ sulfur precisely what you want, and flush with the shank. then use either oil or varnish to finish it, or if it ’ s horn, polish it with metal polish or even better – it ’ s possible to get especial horn polish !
Finish the bottom of the stick with a rubber or alloy ferrule, or boot. You can get one to fit the exact diameter of the shank and it ’ s fixed with a administration nail .

Indulge your creativity
You can carve anything you like for your wield – animal heads are popular, including pets. If you don ’ triiodothyronine rate your artistic ability, you can give a picture of your pet to a stickmaker to carve for you. You can carve your appoint, a motto or pattern on to the shank using pyrography ( carving with fire ). You can embed a coin or a grok into the handle or carve celtic knot-work into it .

You could besides find a pole around which has grown a climb implant like ivy or honeysuckle. If you remove the social climber, you may find that the pole is beautifully grooved, and will make a very interesting, twist shank. You can achieve the same effect by winding copper wire around a coppiced pole as it ’ south growing.

Thanks to Stuart Lawrence of Wild Man Sticks for information

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The specialist(s) below will respond to queries on this topic. Please comment in the box at the bottom of the page.
keith-pickering Keith Pickering, aka the Stickman has been making sticks for over 30 years. He sells finished sticks and runs courses in Helmsley in Yorkshire to teach other people how to do it besides. He besides sells every component you could possibly imagine for function in stickmaking, adenine well as DIY kits, from his thoroughly across-the-board web site .

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