The Hiking Stick

Designed to replace an older model

When I first got to the campsite, I started just messing around with whittling the bark of an old stick I grabbed from wherever to hike with. I carved out a few works... "Planet Zebeth", "James' Stick", a Metroid, some other stuff. And then I thought... "why not try to do a thorough job of this. If I'm going to make a hiking stick, let's go all the way with it." Thusly, I decided to leave this prototype propped up against a tree here in our camp site when we left, because hey... hikingstickvertisement! I also scratched out another hikingstickvertisement at one point, and left it in a relaxing little grotto area where I spent some of my time.
Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures in the middle of the whittling process when I was at the camp. The earliest I've got is the first pic to the right, where I've already carved everything out except the grips (I was still debating what to do with them at the time). However, due to what I assume was the heat here combined with the low humidity, the wood was drying out ridiculously fast, so after carving apart the bark portion, I decided to throw a coat or two of varnish on that to stop the wood from cracking. The grip and top section i actually wrapped in a damp cloth for several days while I completed that section. A few small cracks still got through (mostly all from before I realized it was drying out so fast), but I managed to keep it to a minimum.

Figured I'd post a few close-ups of some parts here. The "Planet Zebeth" was one of the first things I carved into here. Basically, I copied what I did on that "first attempt" above, and essentially did most of the text and drawings. I always used to draw the Blair Witch symbol in dust or whatever as kid (and still do on occasion), so it being one of my first sorta 'tags', I put it on here. In total, what you should be able to find in there (or at least in the below pic that should show all sides of it) is a Metroid, "Planet Zebeth", "Metroid", the J+L heart, "James", the Blair Witch symbol, and the "K.T." signature that is in all of my comics. All of those (except the K.T., which came right near the very end) came before I started drawing wavy lines and whatnot around everything. Pretty much all of the rest of it is just me winging it, filling in space in whatever way I decided at the particular moment. The grips (of which the 'bottom' one says "KABS" came at the very end, and I used charcoal rubbed into the grooves to make it black. Other random coloured stuff I found made the reds. The top I kinda cheated on, and used a drill initially to make the holes 1/2 way through the stick, and then whittled away all of the surfaces so the inside is entirely knife-carved. I could have done it entirely with a knife, but it would have taken much longer, and vacation was nearly over when I got to this part. I knew I wanted to make a simplified version of "Wabbajack" from the game Skyrim, so I waited for that part until after I got home (which is where the grips were done as well, after I'd taken the charcoal and whatnot home with me when the camping trip was over) where I knew I had the tools to make this easier.

And if you're wondering why the bottom half appears to be darker, that's due to the wood darkening up over a few days after being carved out, followed by me getting it wet to stop it from cracking. I scraped it lighter again in the top half, but decided I liked the 'fade to darker as you go down' look.

And here we have my best attempt to show off all of the sides of the hiking stick. The digital camera I have at the moment is a 6-someodd year old 5 megapixel camara, so to get the quality I wanted, I needed to take the pics one half at a time before rotating it. I don't have a tripod, so I just stepped to the side and attempted to keep the same angle. Did a good enough job... gets the point across. Ignore that black thingy in the middle under the stick for most of the pics, I was using that to prop it into staying at whatever angle of rotation. But yeah, here you have it... probably about 20 hours of whittling and another few for the faces at the top, grips, and varnishing... about 4 or so layers worth. I wanted to make sure it couldn't too easily be scraped off. The varnish work isn't the greatest, and you can see some places where it pooled a bit, but that's unfortunately due to the many, many, many ridges, and how extremely hard it is to avoid anything pooling by them, AFTER having just meticulously made sure that the surface of the inside of all of the lines was varnished. All in all, I'd say it came out pretty good, and hopefully this'll influence some other people to take up a craft like this. For me anyway, it's surprisingly relaxing, and you get a pretty good feeling of accomplishment after having completed it.

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