Carve a Cane That's in the Spirit

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By Bob & Jacquie Goad

Follow our instructions for this fun walking cane, and you'll create a happy, helpful wood spirit to guide your path on those long walks in the woods. 

Legends have it that within every tree there lives a wood spirit, guarding the tree and the forest. The elusive creatures are said to bring good luck to anyone who finds them. I recently tried my hand at coaxing a couple of these bearded beings from within some gnarled tree limbs. This particular type of carving doesn’t require more tools than just a knife, but since I have a simple set of chisels I’ll demonstrate their use as well. 

Finding adequate sticks for carving is a fairly easy task. If you live near a wooded area or have walking trails near your home, an afternoon’s hike should turn up more good candidates than you can, well, shake a stick at. Dogwood, sassafras and cottonwood all make good canes, but just about any hardwood will do. Sticks with knobs or knees (Fig. 1) are very easy to find. You may even be surprised that wonderfully twisted sticks like the one in Fig. 2 – ones that have had vines wrapped tightly around them for a few years – are far more common than you thought.

If you have no luck finding a twisted stick, they can be ordered through Smoky Mountain Wood Carvers Supply of Townsend, Tenn. They also turn up from time to time on eBay.

Choose a stick that is slightly longer than you want for a cane. That way, if you aren’t happy with your results, you can cut that part off and begin again. If you get your carving right the first time, simply cut your cane to the desired length from the bottom.

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