Choose and cut stock
Since you’ll be writing on the surface,
maple, poplar or a tight grained pine
is preferred, although I’ve made one
of these out of white oak and it seems
to work fine. If there’s a door stop in
your door jamb, cut your stock to a
width of 1½". If there’s no stop, or you
choose to mount this stick on your
kitchen wall, a 3" width works nicely
(Fig. 1). Rip a piece ¼" thick and cut
it to a length of 4½'. Sand all the blade
marks off your stock, or smooth the
surface with a jack plane (Fig. 2).
While you have the plane out, put a
slight chamfer on the front face edges.
I put a modified fleur-de-lis on the
top and bottom of mine by drawing
one edge on a piece of stiff cardboard,
cutting it out, tracing one edge,
flipping it over and tracing the other
(Fig. 3). Cut out your pattern with a
coping or scroll saw and sand your
edges. I went a little further and
continued the edge chamfer through
the entire pattern with the help of
a set of needle files. This decorative
treatment can be anything you want:
a family initial, profile of a handsome father, even a family crest.
Since you’ll be writing on this with
everything from pencils to markers you
want to put a surface finish on that will
stop the bleeding. Any varnish, lacquer
or acrylic will do fine; stay away from
oil finishes. Sand between coats to keep
it smooth. I’d recommend you not stain
the piece since that just makes it harder
Hang your stick
Hanging is easy; just tack it up with a
few small brads. One at the top, middle
and bottom should be all you need.
When it’s time to move or paint, pry it
off the wall, and you’re good to go!
Tools: Scroll saw, plane, needle files,
TIME: A couple hours
Materials: 3/4" thick white oak or
poplar, preferred finish
Ken Kupsche is editor and publisher of
Woodcraft Magazine. His spare time is
spent at the lathe or on his motorcycle.
He is also currently restoring a turn-of-
the-century building in downtown
Marietta, Ohio. While old enough to know better, he generally doesn’t.