American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stick Carving

I've been working on three new hiking sticks this weekend.

We toured the new house and there was a pile of freshly cut hornbeam laying out by the deck so I helped myself to a few nice straight-ish pieces and limbed and cut them to length for my son, daughter, and my Dad.

When we got home I pulled out the work table and clamped up the biggest piece of hornbeam to cut off the bark and then debarked the two smaller sticks. This left me with a big pile of shavings and a need to get rid of them. My first thought was to just leave them there and allow the winds to scatter them back to nature but my wife just didn't think that a viable idea. So, I made a hole right in the center of the pile, prepped some tinder, and hit that tinder with a couple of sparks from a firesteel and had a nice little fire going.

When the fire burned down it was just a matter of spreading out the ashes to cool, sweeping them into the flower bed, and then watering the whole area to make sure there are no late night flare-ups.

It occurred to me last night (late last night) that this was a pretty good test for a knife as you're working on some of the most abrasive parts of the tree--knots and bark. You're also working a variety of grips in order to get the bark off and to shape the tips. Adding in the firesteel striking you've really got quite a thorough test of a knife--not the be-all end-all test but a good one nonetheless.

These sticks turned out so nice that I'm thinking about running back over there today to grab some more before it makes its way to the chipper/shredder.

Thanks for reading,



At 7:40 PM, Blogger Stephen Renico said...


Any pics? I've been working on an animal-head knife handle, myself.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...


Nothing yet. I've only just knocked the bark off.

They'll need to dry a bit before I do anything else. If I carved them now and then they cracked I'd be more upset than if they crack while they're plain.


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous George Hedgepeth said...

They WILL crack if they are damp/green and you debark them. Not a big issue for utilitarian purposes though. If you need them to not check, cut them 6 inches longer than needed, and season with the bark on. Then, they can be trimmed to length (past any end-checks) and debarked.


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