to finish, the process of making a walking staff or cane involves
anywhere from 7-10 hours. I enjoy going out in the woods and looking
for that branch that will make just the right cane. I have a small
saw I carry with me and sometimes will spend 2-3 hours gathering
wood I know will be appropriate for making my creations. If the
sap is up when I cut the wood it makes it really easy to remove
the bark off of a piece of poplar. It usually peels off without
too much trouble.
A great blessing
is that I have friends who bring me wood all the time just because
they know what I make with them.
an old timey “Shaving Horse” that I have affectionately
named “Trigger” to remove the bark from the wood
once I get it home. The Shaving horse is straddled like riding
a horse and works from a foot pedal that holds the wood down
so I can use my draw knife to cut the bark from the cane or
staff. There aren’t too many of these old tools around
anymore, so it makes my craft a little unique.
the bark is removed I usually sand the staff down if the
wood is not still wet. If it is wet, I leave it for a couple
of weeks to dry out. I use 60 grit sand paper, then 100
grit, and finally 220 grit, to get a really smooth finish.
I drill a hole in the end of the staff about 3-4 inches
from the top. This will be used to put a piece of leather
strapping for a handle.
can see, there is a lot of preparation work before I even
get to the wood burning part. This of course is my favorite
part. I do all of the woodburning free hand. All of the hymns
are musically correct. I usually spend anywhere from 3-5 hours
in wood burning alone. I know I must sing the hymn over and
over a hundred times before I am finished. It is such a blessing
and becomes such a part of me to think about how good God
is and how He loves us. What a treasure we have in old hymns!
I always pray for whoever gets the cane or staff I am working
on. I pray that God will touch their lives and make Himself
known to them in a very personal way.
Next I will
put 4-5 coats of an acrylic sealer on the staff or cane, allowing
drying between each coat. After it is thoroughly dry, I put a
piece of leather strip in the hole that was drilled.
of wood used
A light colored
wood always shows off the work at its best, bringing out more
of the detail and fine textures. Pine can be used but tends to
be very grainy so you can't get much detail. Oak is light colored
but very hard and sometimes refuses to burn at all. Sycamore is
easy to use because there isn't much difference in hardness between
the grain. This makes it easier to burn.