There are many different ways that you can carve a walking stick. You can use a variety of different tools to create different designs. The following are some ideas that you may want to consider when carving your own walking stick.
10 Walking Stick Carving Ideas
1. Twistie Sticks
Simple enough, first on this list of walking stick carving ideas is the Twistie Stick. To make one of these, you’ll need to find a fairly straight branch that is about as thick as your wrist. Once you have your stick, use a sharp knife to whittle away at the bark until you’ve created a smooth surface.
The sloping sides of the stick should then be carved into a spiral pattern. Once you’ve finished carving, you can sand the stick down to make it smoother. Finally, apply a coat of varnish or oil to protect the wood. To look further into this project, take a look at the tutorial on ArtDesignsStudio.
2. Free Mountain Man Cane Carving Pattern
This involves making the topper for your walking stick out of a small block of wood. It should resemble a man with an overgrown beard and mustache whilst wearing a bear or mountain lion head on top. To start, you’ll need to cut out the shape of the man from a block of wood.
The stick itself can be just a regular walking stick. The pattern and design have been provided over on LSIrish so you can take a look at it for yourself.
3. GI Joe Mushroom
The GI Joe Mushroom is a topper that can be placed on top of any walking stick. It’s a relatively simple design that might be easier to create. To start, you’ll need to carve out the basic shape of the mushroom from the wood which will be his army helmet, and then the rest of his face as the design can follow.
Perfect for fans of GI Joe, further artwork can be found over on Woodcraft’s site.
4. Wood Spirit
A popular carving idea, a wood spirit is a fantastic addition to any walking stick. This carving is of an old man’s face that has been carved into the wood. However, his hair is made to look like the branches of a tree rising up. Similar to the Wild Man Cane, this is a carving that will take some time to create.
The good thing is that it suggests you simply screw the topper into the rest of the cane once you are done with the carving. If you’re looking for some inspiration or a pattern to follow, take a look at Woodcraft’s site. They have plenty of different wood spirit designs that you can use as a reference.
5. Tiki Topper
A bit more on the fun side, the Tiki Topper is a great addition to any walking stick. It’s a relatively easy carving that can be a lot of fun to make. The basic shape of the carving is that of a head with an elongated nose. The mouth is usually open and teeth are sometimes added for extra effect. Once you’ve carved out the basic shape, you can start to add in the details.
You can take a look at this particular idea over on Woodcraft for inspiration.
6. Twistie Snake Topper
For those who are trying to perhaps look like movie villains or just are big fans of the reptiles, the Twistie Snake Topper is perfect. This carving is of a snake that is coiled around the top of the walking stick and it’s body runs along the length of it too. It’s a relatively simple carving that shouldn’t take too long to create.
You can find a pattern for this particular carving over on Woodcraft.
7. Mark Twain
Should you be a fan of the works of Mark Twain, then this is the carving for you. This carving is of the great author himself and can be made to look like him in a number of different ways. One popular way is to have him smoking a pipe, but keep in mind that this design is quite different from his actual appearance.
Even though this might be more of a challenge compared to the others on this list, if you’d like to try your own hand at carving this out, then check out this design over on Woodcraft.
8. Viney Cane
As it sounds, this walking stick is made to look like a vine that has wrapped itself around the cane. The addition of leaves or even perhaps flowers make it look that much better and can be added later once you’re done with carving the basic shape.
If you’d like to give this project a go yourself, then take a look over how it was done on Woodcraft.
9. Braided Beard
A funny yet creative addition to any walking stick, the Braided Beard is perfect for those who have a bit more of a sense of humor. This carving is of a man’s face with a braided beard that has been carved into the wood and runs along the length of the stick.
To try your hand at this carving, you can find a pattern over on Woodcraft.
My favorite out of all of the ideas above, the Viking is a great addition to any walking stick. This carving is of a Viking’s face but his eyes are covered by a horned helmet and his beard runs along the length of the walking stick in two separate braids.
You can find inspiration for this particular design over on Woodcraft if you want to try your hand at carving it yourself.
How to Choose a Branch for Carving a Walking Stick?
Types of Wood
There are many different types of wood that can be used for carving walking sticks. The two main types are hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwoods tend to be more durable and easier to carve, while softwoods are typically lighter and cheaper.
The most common type of hardwood used for carving walking sticks is oak. It’s strong and easy to work with, but it can be expensive. Other popular choices include maple, cherry, and walnut. Softwoods such as pine and cedar are also widely used, although they’re not as durable as hardwoods.
When choosing a piece of wood for your walking stick, make sure that it’s free of knots or other blemishes that could make carving more difficult. It should also be straight and around the right size for your desired design.
Also Read: Best Wood for Carving
Size of the Branch
This is more important than you might think. If the branch is too small, then it will be more difficult to carve. If it’s too big, then it will be heavier and harder to carry around. The ideal size for a walking stick branch is between 1 and 2 inches in diameter.
You should also make sure that the branch is long enough for your intended design. For example, if you want to carve a snake onto your walking stick, then you’ll need a longer piece of wood so that the snake can wrap around the entire thing.
Another important consideration when choosing a walking stick branch is how you plan to grip it. Some designs, such as the Viking, make use of the natural shape of the wood and can be held quite easily. However, for more intricate carvings like that of Mark Twain, you might need to add a handle or other grip to ensure comfort and safety while walking.
The branch should be wider at the top than at the bottom because it will make it easier to grip. It should also be sanded down so that it’s smooth and more comfortable in your hand.
Green or Dry
Obviously, you can’t carve a walking stick from a green (living) branch. It needs to be dry so that it doesn’t split or crack while you’re working on it.
The best way to dry out a piece of wood is to let it air-dry for at least six months. You can speed up the process by placing it in a warm, dry room or in front of a fan. If you’re in a hurry, you can also put it in an oven set to the lowest temperature possible. Just make sure that you don’t let it get too hot, or you could damage the wood.
Once the wood has dried out, you can start carving. However, make sure that it’s completely dry before you try to carve intricate designs or add a handle, as these steps can sometimes cause the wood to crack if it’s not fully dry.
There are many different walking stick carving ideas that you can try. Whether you want something simple or more intricate, there’s a design out there that’s perfect for you. Just make sure to choose the right piece of wood and design your artwork on paper first and let your creativity flow to ensure that your carving turns out exactly as you planned.
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Lawrence D. Reynolds is an experienced carpenter and woodworker who started this site to help others get into this craft by providing advice on choosing tools and materials and sharing How-To guides about woodworking. He has been into Woodworking for over 25 years and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge and helping others learn about this wonderful material.