Walking and Whittling

Summer is the season to get outdoors, whether you’re simply moving your carving bench from the basement to the back porch or packing your kit in the car for a camping trip. Similarly, walking sticks are simple projects for summer that can be useful in the neighborhood or in the woods. Woodcarving Illustrated recently featured two carvers who specialize in walking sticks–both making and using them. 


Steve Buchholz and his family spend a lot of time in the woods. Steve says, “If you are walking in the woods, especially during berry- or mushroom-gathering season, you can easily startle a bear, which is a very bad thing.” 

To help safeguard his family, Steve designed rattle sticks–walking sticks with a large ball-in-cage integrated into the design. “If your stick rattles with every step, there’s no way to surprise a bear. My wife and I carry rattle sticks any time we’re in the woods,” he says.

Check out the Summer 2012 issue (#59) for Steve’s guide to carving a branch into a bear-warning ball-in-cage walking stick.

John Beaudet is another regular on the trail. In fact, he’s hiked the entire 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail four times. A carver as well as a hiker, John’s latest project is creating walking sticks for new inductees into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame, a program sponsored by the Appalachian Trail Museum Society. “Many of today’s hikers use trekking poles made of titanium carbon filler and rubber. I don’t like these newfangled things. I like a good old-fashioned wooden walking stick,” John says. The carver makes his walking sticks exclusively from Tennessee sourwood trees.

Larry Luxenberg, the founder of the museum and president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society, says, “John’s distinctive walking sticks symbolize the honor of being inducted into the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame. His care in selecting and preparing the wood and designing and executing the carving evoke the attachment many millions of people feel for the Appalachian Trail.”

Three of John Beaudet’s walking sticks are displayed at the Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners, Penn. Learn more about the museum at www.atmuseum.org. See a map of the trail at www.nps.gov/appa.

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