69 inch Staff

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Project by PASs posted 03-15-2011 04:51 AM 2685 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was at a craft show a few weeks ago and a Scout Master asked if I could make a staff.
I make walking canes, but my Craftsman lathe only handles about 36 inches, so a staff would require two pieces joined together.
I wasn’t crazy about the joining issue due to alignment concerns but gave it a try.

The staff is 69 inches tall, made in two part with the bottom turned with a 3/4 inch dowel end that I epoxied into a receiving hole in the top half.

Both parts were rough turned on my Craftsman lathe to round the wood, then placed in my Craftsman Router Crafter (with a Dewalt router) to cut the pineapple spiral for the top and the reed (or is it flute) for the bottom.

I then put the parts back on the lathe for sanding and applying a 2 pound shellac sealer. I rough sanded with 80 grit sanding pad on a 3 inch drill pad in a Dewalt 3/8 inch drill, followed by 220 grit and finished with 320 grit. I didn’t sand any of the router cuts as they were smooth enough (but a sanding mop is also on the make-it list.)

Next I drilled the hole for the joint using a 3/4 inch Forstner bit in an Allied drill press. A lesson learned was that I should have marked the center before I cut the square end off because finding center was difficult (gotta make that center finding jig one day). Also ensuring the hole was plumb to the staff was difficult because the drill press is on a dolly and the shop floor isn’t even, so a centering and holding jig is also now on the list.

I then epoxied the parts together with 5 minute epoxy, sanded the joint smooth, applied another coat of 2 pound shellac to the sanded area, and polished the whole staff using the Beall system.

The wood is Indian Don’t Know.

The whole project took about 4 hours from square wood to polished staff with the exception of about 2 hours trying to get the hole drilling set up.

Additional photos are available here:

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

8 comments so far

View OzarkCarver's profile


18 posts in 3923 days

#1 posted 03-15-2011 06:33 AM

This is great looking hiking staff. Being a old Scouter I have a few staffs around, but not a nice as ths one. The Scoutmaster should be very happy with it.

-- Jim, Missouri

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5697 days

#2 posted 03-15-2011 03:04 PM

I’ve done quite a few joined staffs, with up to 4 sections, with threaded connectors, and I can tell you from my experience, that it never gets easier, it’s always a risk. I’ve built horizontal drilling fixtures, used vertical drilling, tried all kinds of things with the tools I have, and nothing has made it easy.

I think you did really well on this.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View hairyknuckler's profile


26 posts in 4424 days

#3 posted 03-15-2011 06:28 PM

Nice job. I reallly like the pineapple look on the upper piece.

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3985 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 06:32 PM

I, too, have an enormous staff. Mine is not quite as decorative, however. You really did a fantastic job on this piece. It is a pleasure to admire.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gdpifer's profile


47 posts in 3972 days

#5 posted 03-15-2011 08:25 PM

I bought a router crafter on ebay and have only done a couple of projects. The possibilities are great. Any tips or ideas? Let me know.


-- Garry, Kentucky

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4466 days

#6 posted 03-15-2011 08:29 PM


Two excellent books that will teach you LOADS:

1) Router Magic, by Bill Hylton

2) The Router Book, by Pat Warner.

Enjoy !!

-- -- Neil

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

226 posts in 3982 days

#7 posted 03-15-2011 08:46 PM

To me this is a fine piece of work. You’re walking around in the rarified atmosphere of complex turning…but you know that! And it is called fluting: engraved, leaving original material on either side, usually done with a cove cutter, (but other incised decorations can be called fluting as long as they leave something of the column, post, spindle on either side). Reeding is generally thought of as leaving nothing of the original surface on either side of the cut.
I don’t know if you have any interest in selling your stuff (amd I’m not pushing it!) but wiith only four hours in it, I would think you could easily market that type of staff for a living (maybe even thriveing!) wage. I make all of the hiking sticks for Whiskey Ridge Travel Gear (under contract) and their price point system would probably retail your staff for between $150-175 and, since they say they only keystone, that’d be $75-85 wholesale to you. I don’t make anything like that because I make a hundred at a time. However, if YOU sell them retail suddenly that sounds like a decent income. Incidently, the staffs and sticks that have a flaw won’t be accepted by the Whiskey Ridge people; but I did wring the concession from them that I can sell 2nds and overrun parts on my eBay site…so, with all of that work in them by that point they still aren’t scrapped.

About joinging parts…if it is a permanent joint you obviously turn your spigot or dowel end onto the workpiece while still on the lathe (because if you use a dowell off the shelf with a hole in both halves you double your chances of error in joining dead center). Mark above is right on, he’s been there, the op is always a little dicey, but gets easier with practice (and your jigs/setups evolve too)
Best to you, Stephen Mines

And thank you for your service to this great country.

-- Stephen Mines ([email protected])

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4096 days

#8 posted 12-19-2011 05:08 AM

that is a nice walkin stick

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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