Real Christmas trees adorn some homes during the holidays. Whether you have one you do not want to send to the landfill or your neighbor's tree is waiting for garbage pickup, you could commemorate the season by making a walking stick from the tree. It takes a few tools and some effort, but it's a project that anyone who likes simple woodworking projects can execute to make something practical to use or give as a gift.
List of Items Needed
- Tape measure
- Pin or tack (optional)
- Sharp blade
- Leather gloves
- Vise (optional)
- 100-grit sandpaper
- Leather or fabric (optional)
- Finishing oil
- 400-grit sandpaper
- Bucket or pail
Take off all the trimmings from the tree. Once the tree is bare, look along the trunk to find the thickness for the base of the walking stick you want to create. Verify that the trunk above that point is tall enough for you to use for a walking stick. A good proportion to use for the length of the stick is to hold your arm out and bend your elbow as if you were holding an imaginary stick. Ask a helper to measure that distance. If working alone, do it against a wall and place a pin or tack to mark the distance to the floor.
Remove some of the branches to make it easier to cut off the bottom of the tree. You can use a handsaw or jig saw to take off the branches. When you have clear access to the trunk, cut it off to form the bottom and remove the amount you need to from the top.
Use the saw to take off all the branches as close to the trunk as you can, which makes it easier to remove the bark. You can use a sharp blade, such as a pocket knife to take off the bark. This is the most dangerous part and it's a good idea to wear leather gloves when working with the stick. Putting it in a vise also helps hold it securely so that it does not move around.
Sand the stick. A vise helps hold the stick steady. Since the wood will be rough after removing the bark, use 100-grit sandpaper to smooth the stick. If you want to leave the stick as it is, just sand the area where you grasp the walking stick along the sides and top of the stick. You could also wrap the handle area with soft leather or fabric to reduce the chance of picking up a sliver or chaffing your hands.
Apply a finish coat to the stick. Tung oil, mineral oil or linseed oil are good choices for a walking stick. Apply the first coat by brushing it on or applying it with a rag. After the first coat dries, sand the stick with 400-grit sandpaper and apply more finishing oil.
Tips and Warnings
- Soak your used rags in a pail of water to prevent spontaneous combustion.