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For some hikers, a walking stick or a hiking staff is an essential tool because of the added assistance, safety, and stability it provides. Whether you’re an elderly hiker or you’re just looking for some assistance when hiking a more complex terrain, a hiking stick is super beneficial.

Instead of buying one, I’ll be teaching you how to make your own walking stick for hiking, a simple and fun process that requires the most basic woodworking abilities.

Embark on a holistic experience and connect to nature, by crafting your own walking stick, and feel the great satisfaction that comes with it.

The Ideal Material

The most crucial step of the way is choosing the material for the walking stick. The material should be durable, straight, and able to withstand extended use. I recommend going with a hardwood like maple, birch, ash, or walnut – the harder the wood, the better durability you will get. It’s up to you which type of wood you want to use.

Acquire your wood carefully, whether you’re collecting branches or cutting down a tree, and ensure safety and ethical practices.

Before starting the crafting process, let the wood dry down to prevent warping.

The Perfect Length

Now it’s time to measure and cut your walking stick to get the custom and comfortable fit you desire.

Measuring & Cutting

Point placement – Start by cutting the branch or material at the bottom where you want the point of the walking stick to be. This is typically the end that makes contact with the ground. Consider the type of terrain you’ll be hiking on, as different tips may be more suitable for various surfaces.

Comfortable grip – Stand on the stick while wearing your hiking boots. Hold the stick comfortably with a bent arm at a 90-degree angle

Top Knob Creation – After you determine the right grip length, it’s time to create the knob for a comfortable and secure grip. Cut about an inch above where your hand is holding, this is where we’re going to create the knob. The typical size for this knob ranges from 2 to 4 inches, it’s up to you and your preferences.

Refining The Walking Stick

Time to make your stick aesthetic and smooth, by removing unwanted elements off your hiking stick.

Branch Removal – Use a knife or a small saw to remove branches and twigs. Scrape away the bark and reveal the natural wood underneath. Make sure the stick is as smooth as possible.

Smoothing – Now use a scraping tool or sandpaper to smooth your stick as much as possible, removing any small twigs and branches and making the stick is consistent in texture.

After this process, the stick should have a refined form, comfortable to grip and smooth as possible, at a desired height.

Drying The Wood

After you have refined your walking stick, it’s time to let the wood dry to enhance the durability of it.

Air Dry

  • Leave the wood outside in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Leave it there for a few weeks, the duration will depend on several factors like wood type, thickness and environment.


  • Check occasionally for signs of dryness, like the color of the wood changing, and the weight of it.
  • Make sure there’s no cracking and that the stick is drying evenly.

Accelerating The Process

  • In case you need to dry it faster, place it in a warm and dry area
  • Do not expose it to extreme heat because it may lead to cracking of the wood

Sanding Your Walking Stick

To achieve a smooth and comfortable texture, sanding the walking stick is a crucial step.

Begin the sanding process with a coarse-grit sandpaper (50–100 grit) to remove any rough spots on the surface.

Then use a finer grit sandpaper (200 grit) to further smooth your walking stick, continue until you reach the desired texture.

You can use higher grit sandpaper for a smoother finish, it’s up to preference.


Increase the natural beauty of your hiking stick using stain.

  • Ensure the walking stick is clean from any sawdust and debris, use a damp cloth to wipe away any particles.
  • Apply the stain using a stain brush evenly on the entire surface of the hiking stick.
  • Stain can highlight any natural features so pay attention to intricate grain patterns. Work the stain evenly into the wood.
  • Leave your hiking stick to dry overnight, to let the color penetrate the wood.
  • Add stain for a darker color. Before applying more coats of stain, sand the surface (200 grit) for a smoother finish.


After the stain has dried completely, it’s time to add an extra layer of protection and use a wood sealer, adding longevity and durability to your walking stick.

  • Firstly, clean the stick with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
  • Apply the wood sealer, spread evenly using a clean brush, make sure the coating is thin and even on the entire surface of the stick.
  • Dry it once again overnight.
  • Apply sealing as many times as you see fit, sand between coats to ensure smoothness.

Staining and sealing your hiking walking stick will not only add character and appearance to it, but also protection and durability.

While stain enhances the beauty of the wood you chose, the wood sealer preserves the integrity of it.

Adding Grip

To ensure maximum comfort during your outdoor adventure, we have to choose the right grip material.


Choose a grip material that you like, good options include tennis grip tape, cord strips, and leather strips.

Tennis grip tape provides a cushioned and comfortable feel, while the strips offer traditional and tactile grip.


Place your hand comfortably on the walking stick and mark the top and bottom of your hand.

Applying the grip tape

Use a nail or a staple at the top of the handle to secure the tape, once it’s secure, you’re ready to wrap it around to the bottom mark.

Apply glue on the handle area before to enhance durability.

Start wrapping, with each lap overlapping the previous lap by a quarter inch.

Once you reach the bottom use another nail or staple to secure the tape.

Testing the grip

Now that you’re done, walk with it a bit, see that it’s firm and comfortable, adjust the tape as needed to feel comfortable.

Adding End Protection: Durability and Safeness


  • Rubber tip of cane or other type
  • Glue


1. Locating the Right Tip:

You can choose a rubber cane tip or any other kind of end cap that is same in shape and size as the end of the walking stick. This should act like a guarding shield that would prevent the wear and tear of the tip of the stick.

2. Gluing:

With much of it, glue the end of the walking stick where the protective cap is supposed to be placed. This will ensure there’s an even layer, which will make sure that the protection is tightly closed.

Press the rubber cane tip or alternate end cap lightly onto the glued area. Ensure it’s on tight as a protective layer to the end of your walking stick.

3. Ensure It’s on Firmly:

Apply gentle pressure against the cap, holding it for a few seconds until the glue settles. Check to ensure that it is not too loosely fastened as this will cause the cap to snap off during use.

4. Final Checking:

Inspect the cap after glue has dried completely to make sure it’s tight, and it forms a rough protection to cover the top of the walking cane.

Other Helpful Tips:

The Right Material for Cap: Those of rubber type are popular among consumers because they tend to be fairly durable as well as slip-resistant. Choose other personalized and strengthened materials like plastic.

Adjusting Cap Size: Ensure the chosen cap does not hang big and instead fits the size of your walking stick’s end snugly. A well-fitted caps will protect your walking stick with, adding to the aesthetic element of your creation.

Decorative End Cap: Includes one end cap at the end which has a unique design or options to add personalized details to your walking cane.

Written By David Ignatchuk

February 2, 2024