Three members showed us the way that we have made walking sticks. These were sticks meant to be used rather than show pieces made to the exacting standards of the British Stickmakers Guild. Nick showed us the proper way of making stick!! A potential stick should be collected in Jan or Feb, allowed to dry out bit so that shrinkage has happened, straightened whilst there is still some moisture in the stick, and a handle attached. There are lots of designs for stick handles in magazines, but do check that the illustrated handle is the right size for your stick. The stick can be made from such odd things as brussel sprouts stems and bamboo. The joint of the handle to the stick needs to be strong. Nick recommended a quarter inch hole in handle and stick, and a threaded bar. Adrian Carter suggested using a washer that fits the diameter of the stick, to help find the centre of the stick when drilling. Make sure that the handle meets the stick without a gap, and that they meet smoothly. Use Araldite glue or similar, only glue rod into the handle first, and protect the outer surface from excess glue with some masking tape. Drill a small hole at the bottom of the hole that will hold the threaded bar in the stick, to allow the excess glue to escape. The stick needs a ferrule of some sort and can be finished with whatever you have.
John Adamson showed us another way, he collects his sticks ready made from the hedgerow, and uses them without any straightening. It is just a matter of being there at the right time ( a minute before the other chap), and having your eye in for sticks. It helps to go somewhere that is likely to have plenty of sticks. His favourite place is besides a railway line where some ash trees were clear felled some years ago. For a ferrule he uses shot gun cartridges. If he finds a wonderful stick handle that needs a stick, he fixes it on to a commercially available metal walking pole. These have the advantage that they can be collapsed down and fit into a suitcase.
Stewart Hood showed us some of his wonderfully carved walking poles. May be a bit too heavy for actual use but a good talking point