Dragon Claw Walking Staff Topper

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Project by drlamb posted 11-16-2021 02:30 PM 722 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is another commission piece I did while in Kelowna. It was commissioned by an author who likes to have made objects that his characters own in his books. This is the topper for a walking staff. It is a dragon’s paw, complete with claws, and meant to carry a crystal orb. The staff itself was work done by a fellow artist who didn’t have any idea how to carve the claw, so he asked if I would help him out. It is carved in Sequoia (for its light weight- but because it is so soft I had to reinforce the “fingers” with steel nails embedded within them. The claws are carved from beef bone and embedded in the fingertips. Each scale was first outlined via pyrography, then carved out by hand. Regardless of size, they each take 3-5 minutes to do (if you want to do it right at least!) and you need to maintain VERY sharp edges on your knives and gouges!
You can’t see it here because of file size restrictions but I have a video of the finished piece being spun around. The final piece is also painted: first with Gesso to even out the tone and imperfections of the carving, then by a layer of dark metallic green, then highlighted with a layer (on the back) of light iridescent green, and a copper base to attach the topper to the walking staff.
I think the whole thing took about 400 hours of actual work spread over 9 calendar months, as the only power tool used was a bandsaw to rough out the blank from glued-up 8/4×3” rough stock. All the rest was done with hand tools, (including the bone – using power tools on bone smells like death according to my wife, and she refuses to allow me in the house unless I shower immediately after :). The client was extremely pleased with the result, so I guess it was worth the effort. Not sure I’d do it again, but it was a fun project.

-- Dan

6 comments so far

View mtnwild's profile


4861 posts in 4982 days

#1 posted 11-16-2021 06:13 PM

Pretty cool…Great job on that!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


5094 posts in 4564 days

#2 posted 11-17-2021 12:12 AM

Very nice! And yes, that’s a really soft wood.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Thedustydutchman's profile


264 posts in 363 days

#3 posted 11-17-2021 12:22 AM

Dang thats cool!

-- Jerry H - Holland Michigan

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1513 posts in 3162 days

#4 posted 11-17-2021 01:17 AM

View swirt's profile


7669 posts in 4427 days

#5 posted 11-17-2021 01:05 PM

Very convincing. Nice work on it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View awsum55's profile


1285 posts in 1964 days

#6 posted 11-17-2021 04:22 PM

Love it!

-- "The Answer Is Blowin'n In The Wind" John D, OP, KS

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