How to Whittle a Stick
It’s Really Quite Easy
Stick whittling is really easy, and quite therapeutic too. It’s a little like peeling an apple, but instead of a vegetable peeler, you’re using a knife.
To get started, all you need is a sharp knife and a stick. You can use a stick you find on the ground, or you can buy a walking stick blank online. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s straight enough.
You’ll notice that I mentioned that you’ll need a sharp knife. This is really important.
If your knife isn’t sharp, you’ll have to use more force to make the cuts, and this will make the blade more likely to slip off. You definitely do not want this to happen.
The best way to keep your knife sharp is to get a diamond pocket sharpener. These are tiny things you can put on your keychain that will keep your knife sharp. You can also use them to sharpen your other tools, like your pocket knife, when you’re out and about.
I also recommend getting a knife with a leather sheath rather than a plastic one. That way, you can use your knife with two hands when you start to get more comfortable with it.
Ok, so, with your sharp knife, you can begin to strip off the bark of your chosen stick.
You can do this by cutting a line along the length of the stick, then peeling off the bark from that line and cutting another one. Keep doing this until you’ve stripped off all the bark.
When you’re done, you’ll have a stick with some rough parts that you can smooth out with your knife.
You can do this by holding your knife perpendicular to the stick and pushing it away from yourself, making an elongated U shape. It’s a bit like you’re scooping out a shallow channel.
You can also do this to add grooves along the length of the stick, which can look really nice.
You can also do this by stroking your knife along the length of the stick, like you’re sharpening a pencil. This is called “shaving,” and it can give a really nice finish.
When you’re stick whittling, you can leave the end of the stick sharp for sticking it in the ground, or you can round it off to make a walking stick.
If you’re making a walking stick, you’ll want to make a point at the bottom of your stick to stick it in the ground and stop it sinking into softer ground.
One thing to keep in mind is that you should always cut away from yourself, and be aware of where your fingers are. If you’re not accustomed to using knives, you’ll find this to be a bit strange at first, but you’ll get used to it.
Once you’ve made your stick, you can always varnish it to bring out the grain of the wood, and have the added bonus of making it more durable.
You can also use oil instead, which still protects the wood, but gives it a more natural look.