Posted by: terrapraeta | October 8, 2009

Stick It!

Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs dont break
Walking on the moon
We could walk for ever
Walking on the moon
We could live together
Walking on, walking on the moon

The Police, Walking on the Moon

So a couple weeks ago when I went hiking, I came back with an expected bonus.

Stick, Unfinished

I hiked up to my sit spot and stopped to relax and take in the vibe. It’s not a proper sit spot as I only get up there once every couple weeks – it’s just too far to make it a daily trek – but it is still a spot I return to as often as possible. As I was sitting there, I discovered a branch – probably drift wood washed down the gully during spring rains, although it was never there on previous visits (or it was buried under the pine needles and other detrious). I pulled it out of the needles and looked at it, and then looked again. It was gray and rough, with deep grooves running the length of the shaft, in some cases leaving large strips of wood ready to break off. It was gnarled and twisted, with what looked much like a handle at the wide end. A little over five feet long. On my third look as I was sure: walking stick!

I brought it home and gave it a rough sanding, then rinsed it clean with the garden hose. Decided that wasn’t enough so I got a cup of water and an old tooth brush and scrubbed the surface. It looked pretty cool at this point, a deep rich brown when the surface was wet:

A few days later, I bought some linseed oil and mineral spirits, mixed them up and rubbed the stick down several times (I used the same tooth brush for the first coat to be certain and get the oil deep into the grooves) and then let it dry. Then, I wrapped the handle and the midway branch extension with leather and fringed the ends.

Walking Stick, Completed for now...

I’m not yet happy with the wrap on the handle: it’s functional, but does not have the aesthetic I want. I’ll probably redo it eventually, perhaps even getting some lighter colored leather to contrast with the dark wood and fringes, but I’m not in any rush: hiking season is slowly fading out although I will be able to go all winter, the occasions will be fewer and further between. Eventually, I’ll know it is complete. And then my “gift from the gods” (or however you prefer to phrase it) will go with me on every hike.


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