How to Make a Wooden Walking Stick

How to Make a Usable Wooden Walking Stick for the Elderly

Regardless of whether it is intended as a gift or as an accompaniment for a hiking trip, learning to make a wooden walking stick can be a great weekend project. We give you all the directions that you can need for this DIY project.
HobbyZeal Staff
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018
You may be planning a hiking trip for which you want to carry a wooden cane that you have made or you may want to gift a walking stick to someone. The reason for which you want to try your hand at making a walking stick can be varied but the fact of the matter is that this can be an extremely satisfying woodworking project. It is a functional object that can be a lot of fun making and that will definitely garner you a lot of praise for your ability to fashion things out of wood. In this article, we give you simple steps that will help you make a wooden walking stick.

Choosing the Wood for the Walking Stick

Before you actually go on to the process of making a walking stick, it is important that you pick out the wood that you will use for the cane. In order to do this, you need to ensure that you pick a stick that matches your height or the height of the person that you are making the cane for. You will need to pick a proper location from where you can obtain the wood. You cannot actually walk into your local jogging park or garden and start chopping the trees there. Be aware of forest areas where you can go and pick out wood from. Ensure that you are not trespassing on someone else's land and that you do not cut species of trees that are protected. Most people who work with wood often advise working with dead wood as it is stiffer and green wood can be difficult to work with.

When you are picking out dry wood, there are many things that you need to take into consideration. This includes the straightness of the wood that you have selected. It may not be necessary to have a stick that is uniformly straight but it is important that the top and the bottom are aligned well. The length of the piece of wood, as mentioned before, is an important consideration. If you are gifting the cane to a person who is slightly older, then the weight of the cane is something that you definitely need to take into consideration. If there are too many knots in the piece of wood, then it may weaken it, so try and select a piece of wood accordingly. If the piece of wood that you have selected has a bark that is hard to remove, then you may try to remove it by heating it. Do this by placing it over fire or even steam. You need to ensure that the piece of wood is not rotten in any manner as that will only cause the cane to be weak. If you want to ensure that there are no bugs on the stick, then place the stick in a large plastic bag and spray it completely with insecticide. Seal the bag after doing this and then let it stay aside for a few days. Remove it after a couple of days to ensure that all the bugs and insects are dead. You can now start working with the wood to make a walking cane.

Making the Wooden Walking Stick

Now that you know what are the things to keep in mind while selecting a piece of wood for the walking stick, let us move on to the actual process of making the walking cane. Before you start working with wood, there are a couple of things that you will need. These are listed below.
  • Work gloves
  • Hand saw
  • Box cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Linseed oil or Tung oil
  • Rubber tips
  • Cotton cloth
  • Floor paste wax
Now that you know what are the different things that you need in order to make a walking cane, let us take a look at the steps that you need to follow to make the cane.
  • Always remember to wear protective gear while doing woodworking projects. For this project you need to wear heavy work gloves.
  • The first step would be to remove any of the branches on the piece of wood that you have selected with the help of the hand saw that you have. Try to cut out the branches as close to the main piece of wood as possible even if you have to create a small hollow space where the branch existed.
  • The next step would be to remove the bark of the wood if possible. In order to do so, you may need to heat it so that the bark softens slightly. Use the box cutter to remove the bark. Always use the box cutter in one direction so that the cane seems uniform.
  • You will need to start by removing the outermost part of the bark and keep removing the layers till you can see a red layer. You can choose to let this layer stay or remove it completely.
  • The next step in the process is to use the sanding paper to sand the piece of wood completely so that it becomes smooth and get rid of any wooden splinters that can hurt the person using the wooden cane. The process of sanding will take some time and you will need to ensure that it is done properly without a single rough spot remaining.
  • Next comes the step of attaching the handle. The easiest way to do this is by drilling a hole into the handle and the stick so as to allow the screw to fit. The hole should be about two inches deep in the main stick.
  • It may be a good idea to stick the handle and wooden cane together using an adhesive before you use the screw to attach the two permanently.
  • Another thing that will need to be done is to attach a rubber tip to the base of the cane so that there is no slipping. These rubber tips can be glued in or screwed in.
  • Once all of these is complete, clean the cane so that any dust or dirt is removed and wash it thoroughly.
  • Allow it to dry and once that happens use linseed oil or tung oil all over the cane. Use a cotton cloth to apply the oil. Allow it to dry properly after you use the oil on the cane.
  • Next you can apply the floor paste wax which needs to be rubbed on and then buffed with a cloth, so that there is dull shine on the cane.
These are the simple steps that you will need to follow if you want to learn to make a wooden walking stick. As with any craft idea using wood, it will take you time to actually master woodworking but do not be disheartened if the first two attempts do not work out.
Old cane
Walking stick for old person