Walking Stick Making -Nick Pantelidies, John Adamson, Stewart Hood

Today I visited Hebden Bridge’s food market, and bought a buffalo horn from the dog food stall that usually has some antlers being sold as dog chews.   There was a new line in today – Buffalo Horn.    It was only £3.79 and it felt just right as a walking stick handle, so I bought it.    I will have to look up how to work it, so watch this space.   By chance the next post to be dug out of the archives was on walking stick making.   How apposite was that.













Back in April 2019, three members showed us the way that they 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 Brussels 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





Sean Dyche portrait in 5.5 hours by John Adamson (member)

 Sean Dyche portrait in 5.5 hours by John Adamson (member)

John had been asked to carve a portrait of Sean Dyche, manager of Burnley Football Club, on a tight budget.  The wood was a standing tree stump in a pub yard.  Photographs of Sean Dyche with his mouth shut are rare.  John managed to get a front view, but the side view had an open mouth.  It took some juggling to get the two photos printed to the same size.







The carving was started with a chain saw and continued with some very large chisels , gouges, and a mallet made from a crown green bowling ball,  that John keeps just for large chain saw work









The finished work was given a red beard and eye brows by another artist.









John had taken photographs of each stage of the work so members could see the whole process








To see more details of the carving process look at the step by step description on John’s website

Woodcarving Tools

For some time I have been carving some quite intricate figures.   My normal tools don’t quite get to all the places I need them to go, so I have repurposed some metal engraving tools.    In the process I have looked at repurposing turning gouges and searched the internet for inspiration.    I came across this site which claims to show 13 Different Types Of Wood Carving Chisels & Gouges- Woodcarving Tools. I thought that I should share it with those of you that have not been able to carve for the last 18 months and may have forgotten what the tools look like and are used for.

Article copied from the Woodworking Trade website

We usually consider chisels under two main categories. The first category includes chisels for general use (click here to see our list of woodworking chisels). The second type of tool comes under the category of wood carving which will talk about below.

Anyone who is into wood carving will have a vast collection of wood carving chisels. To the uninitiated, the number of wood carving chisels that you can get can be mind-boggling. Indeed, considering the scope of creating a collection of these tools, the sky is the limit! In this article, we cover the different types of wood carving chisels that you need, if you want to have a complete setup for wood carving.

Wood carving chisels further diversify into chisels and gouges. While the blade of a woodcarving chisel has a straight edge, that of a wood carving gouge has a curved edge. It enables the tool to “gouge” out the wood to create different shapes.












Different Types of Wood Carving Chisels

As we mentioned earlier, the wood carving chisel has a flat blade. However, unlike a regular woodworking chisel, a wood carving chisel has an angle on both sides. A gouge, on the other hand, has a curved blade called a “sweep.” We express the extent of the curvature of the sweep in terms of a number, which identifies a particular size of the gouge. So, let’s take a closer look at the different types of wood carving chisels:

Wood Carving Straight Chisel












As we said earlier, a wood carving chisel is, specifically, a carving tool with a flat blade. Wood carving chisels differ from ordinary woodworking chisels in that they have a bevel on both sides of the blade rather than a flat back. The standard chisels have a square cutting edge, but the length of the blade may vary.

Skew Chisel









This chisel has a blade skewed at an angle, typically 45°. You will find this chisel useful during wood turning operations. Plane, make different shaped cuts with the skew chisel or use it to make dovetail cuts. You get these chisels in various sizes from 1/8” to 1½”.

Fishtail Chisel








The shaft of a fishtail chisel is thin at the base, and it tapers out in the shape of a fish’s tail towards the cutting edge. You get the advantage of this tool due to its thin shaft, which allows you to cut deep without much interference. Also, you get better visibility while working in tight spaces, due to the thin shaft.

Spoon Gouge








As the name suggests, the spoon gouge assumes the shape of a spoon. You use a spoon gouge to scoop wood out of tight or confined spaces. You can get into spaces that would be otherwise inaccessible with any other tools. Spoon gouges come in different shapes and configurations. Here are some of the common variations:

Spoon Gouge (Right Corner)

This gouge has a cutting edge, which angles itself skewed to the opposite side. It positions itself in such a way that you can remove wood from tight right-hand corners.

Spoon Gouge (Left Corner)

You can remove wood from tight left-hand corners with this type of spoon gouge. The left corner spoon gouge allows you to get into tight corners, concavities, and curves like the right corner spoon gouge, only in the other direction.

Spoon Gouge (Front Bent)








If you need to remove wood from awkward spots, concavities, and curves but don’t need to bend the tool much, then a front bent spoon gouge will do the job. This type of spoon gouge bends in such a way that you get the cutting edge on the convex side of the bend.

Spoon Gouge (Back Bent)

Here is another spoon gouge which enables you to work on concavities and curves like other spoon gouges. However, this spoon gouge bends in such a way that you will find the cutting edge on the concave side of the bend.












The “V” gouge belongs to a group of carving tools that we call “parting tools.” This tool helps us to cut a workpiece from the main block of wood while doing woodturning. The “V” gouge finds a prominent place in carving grooves, letter-work, and outlining, thanks to its distinctive profile. The commonest angles that we get are 60°, 70°, and 90°, although you can get other sizes as well.

Fishtail Gouge










Similar to the fishtail chisel, the fishtail gouge also has a thin edge that flares into a fishtail-shaped blade. The only difference here is the curved blade, which helps us to remove wood from tight spaces in a broad curve.

Dog Leg Chisel










The dog leg chisel has a straight edge with an offset blade to form the profile of a dog’s extended back leg. Due to the double angle of the blade, we can use this chisel to get into awkward, hard-to-reach places and tight corners.

Straight “U” Gouge

We consider the “U” gouge to be the workhorse of wood carving. The “U” shaped cutting edge of this chisel may vary in radius. As we mentioned above, the “sweep” of a chisel, corresponds to the radius of the blade’s curvature. So, we get “U” gouges of different sweeps. You can scoop out wood with your hand or by using a mallet. The shape of the scooped-out wood will correspond to the shape of the “U” gouge.









By now, you should be better informed about the different types of wood carving chisels that we can use. You may be an artist, or you may create carvings for commercial use. Whatever the case, it is vital that you have a complete set of wood carving chisels to perform each task.

Knowing the purpose of each wood carving chisel or gouge and how to use it is crucial to becoming successful in the skilled job of wood carving. We hope that the information provided here will help you in carrying out this skillful activity to the best of your abilities!

Marquetry by Adrian Carter and Martin Haigh. Club members

Back in October 18, Adrian and Martin gave us a thorough insight into marquetry and even provided tools and veneer for us to have a go.    They have a different approach to the craft.

Martin with finish work

Martin started with a kit as an eight year old.  In the kits there are all the veneers needed, plus a baseboard, a knife and glue and a pattern to follow.   The first piece of veneer is cut to size at the top, but slightly oversize at the bottom and glued to the base board.   The next piece is cut in the same way.   The second piece is placed over the first and the first piece so that the second piece fits snuggly, then that too is glued down.   Further pieces are cut and fitted in the same way, always working down from the  top to the bottom of the baseboard.  There is considerable skill in cutting the veneer accurately.

Adrian learnt his technique at Leeds Marquetry Group   The patterns, veneers, glue, and tools are the same, but the method of cutting is different.  Each piece is cut to size but the cut is at an angle of about 10 degrees from vertical, so that it fits in to other pieces like a dovetail.  The work is only glued to a board after it has been completed and the  Leeds group test work before it is put on the board by holding it to the light to see if there is any light showing between the pieces

Adrian with. a part finish piece

Both Adrian and Martin have moved on to doing their own designs

Adrian Venetian scene

Adrian’s work with the original image

Martin’s birds to be incorporated into a larger work

My first attempt at marquetry using Martin’s technique. I did break one side of the A