Walking Stick Production
The Art of Crafting Unique Walking Sticks
The production of natural wood walking sticks through the traditional forestry technique of coppicing is centuries-old.
In this process, native hardwoods such as ash, hazel and blackthorn are cut off to a height of approximately 120cm from the ground (above deer browsing height). New shoots result and take three to four years to grow to the correct diameter for walking sticks such as hiking staffs, thumbsticks and knobsticks.
The wood is harvested in the winter when the sap is down in the trees, before being dried for at least a year to remove the moisture from the wood. The sticks are then steamed and straightened before being hand sanded, varnished and fitted with ferrules to become finished walking sticks. Each one is unique and the craftsman who makes it takes care to work with the individual character of each piece of wood to ensure the optimum result: no two are identical.
Coppicing has many ecological benefits. The wood constantly renews itself so there is no need for clear felling or replanting. The system allows light to reach the forest floor, encouraging native wildflowers and the fauna that depend on them.
Ash dieback disease has sadly caused the deaths of many of our ash trees over the last couple of years, making ash walking sticks in very short supply. There is no cure for ash dieback disease, which has spread across western Europe over the last decade, killing millions of ash trees. We expect some of the trees to exhibit natural immunity, and their offspring will form the ash trees of the future.
In the meantime, hazel, chestnut and blackthorn are the main woods used to make rustic country walking sticks. Fortunately we are able to obtain these from specialist artisans so Classic Canes can continue to offer these highly-prized, traditional walking sticks to our customers around the world.