Project 0: The Stick

My first woodworking project, engraving my hiking stick

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My First official woodworking project

The hike in preparation for The Otter came and went and after this was when the ideas started. So my first pictures formed in my head of what I wanted to do.

Engraving the hike that we did along with the date when it happened.

So I set out and bought my first set of woodcarving chisels. Since this was completely new to me I could just go out and carve into my actual walking stick and risk messing it up, so I took a random piece of wood and started carving. Carving the alphabet. And numbers. Just some basic alphanumeric characters. I used the skew edged chisel from my first set to to carve out a small ‘V’ out of the wood.

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This was surprisingly not too difficult. It took me a few tries to become comfortable to carve out round letters but I used “B” as a practice tool for this. The problem with the curvature is that the direction of the grain differs as you go around so the way the chisel cuts into the wood requires a bit more control. When carving with the grain the blade naturally follows the direction of the grain and that can cause your idea of what an “O” looks like to change into a “U”. Given some practice I was able to create a consistent level of depth for the letters while staying within the lines as I was taught in primary school.

As I got the hang of it I decided to go over to my walking stick. First of all my walking stick needed some personality, so it needed something to make it different (besides the planned carving) and it also needed a name.

The Stick. Sure it sounds lame but it is more than just that. It is also a word play on The Stig from Top Gear. I took some insulation tape and some green coloured duct tape and fashoined a grip at the top of the stick. After this I engraved the name “The Stick” as well as a little picture of my version of The Stig.

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I was very happy with how this came out so I went on to engrave the first hike that The Stick has helped me complete. Suiker Bosch Fontein. Still using the skew chisel, taking my time so as not to mess it up as there is no “undo” button for woodworking. Well there is to an extent, but you have to sand off all your hard work and that isn’t always a viable option.

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It is not too clear on the photos, but it is there. I am considering burning it in, but I don’t wan to lose the distinct look of the carving. This a decision I will still have to make someday, but for now I am procrastinating this choice.

So as I go on more hikes I add then on the next level on The Stick, marking the name as well as the date. This is an ongoing project and it will only stop when either The Stick breaks or when it is full. So here is to many more years of hiking.

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Hikes so far:

  • SuikerBoschFontein
  • The Otter
  • Kingdom Trails

I will update this as time goes on and more hikes are hiked. In the mean time, there will be many other projects to make and older projects to blog about.

There is still a long way to go to catch this blog up with all the projects I have completed to date but with time…

Crazy Oak out.