This wonderful piece of functional art that you created with your bare hands. I like leather but I know plenty of people who use materials such as hemp and paracord. With each step, I noticed a new deficiency and an improvement I could make. The next step is to remove the bark. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad. Mitchell also regularly edits websites, business correspondence, resumes and full-length manuscripts. The best part is it is personal to you. Maples and most hardwoods make decent walking sticks too, but heavier than poplar. Some species have an inner layer of bark. If using a pipe make sure it is even with or slightly above the end of the stick. Many hikers also use a set of trekking poles with techniques for maintaining stability and assisting in going uphill and downhill.Making your own walking or hiking stick can be a fun and rewarding experience. Cut four pieces of plywood that are 8 inches wide and 6 feet long. Oakwood is a rather popular hardwood for wooden walking sticks for its unique characteristics of robustness and aesthetics. If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Be prepared for the drying process to take a year or longer. How to Sharpen An Axe: Learn The Basic Tools, Techniques... How to Use a Compass: Tips and Tricks for Beginners, Hiking 101: Things You Need to Know Before You Head Out. Allow the wax to dry. That is the color you will have. So, there I was, too stubborn to admit that I was in pain. In order to do this, you need to ensure that you pick a stick that matches your height or the height of the person that you are making the cane for. With proper care and a little common sense walking sticks will last for years. I was twenty-one and previously unbreakable. You can make a walking stick out of just about anything, but I recommend wood. Look for the straightest piece possible. To stain or not to stain is up to you. The last step is to lean the hiking stick against the wall and step back so you can take it all in. Work carefully without gouging the wood. The simplest is to use a draw knife, but a regular knife will work. Place the stick with bark removed in an area of the house or shop that is about 55 to … Before you actually go on to the process of making a walking stick, it is important that you pick out the wood that you will use for the cane. And you have a small amount of cordage on hand in case of emergency. The stick I'm using is birch. Stay away from pine or spruce because of the sticky sap. The owner told me he had used art stencils. Wipe the piece down with a damp cloth whenever the sand paper fills with dust. How to Make a Walking Stick: 8 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow Properly Finished. A random orbital or disk sander works great for this. If you found any image copyrighted to yours, please contact us, so we can remove it. Then apply three coats of clear urethane varnish to seal the wood and prevent rot. The trouble with stripping bark from "green" wood (the term means freshly cut and does not necessarily refer to the colour) is that by removing it you take away the layer that controlls water loss. There are several ways to make a serviceable stick in the interim. This process takes awhile, but the finished result is worth it. The easiest way to carve a head is to first draw the design on a piece of paper.  I have seen some pretty elaborate designs. When you make your own walking sticks, you must choose between using dry wood or green wood. Take about 6 inches (15cm) of line and glue it vertically along your stick. But decide now, before you begin. Others respond well to stains which complement their natural colors. And that’s how my love affair with walking sticks began. I need to know a bit a bout green wood. Better yet, if they carry the fitting used to end runs of copper pipe, called a cap, grab one of those. Apply your stain according to the directions. They come in multiple sizes. The rustic walking stick is an essential accessory in the British countryside. if you enjoyed this build then have a look at some of my other build videos. Transfer it to the wood and burn away. Stout dowel rods are another alternative. He told me it was the circle of men and bears and served to remind him of his unity with nature. How to Use Paraffin Wax When Trimming Plants, Wupen Sticks: How to Make a Walking Stick, Hiking Stick or Cane, Ozark Walking Sticks: Drying Walking Sticks, The Woodworkers Institute: Learn the Basic Rules of Stickmaking, How to Remove Candle Wax From a Hard Surface, How to Create a Wall Hanging of Photographs Without Frames, How to Refinish Hardwood With Mildew Stains. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theater. It stands to reason that the foot will suffer some abuse. Push the sandpaper toward the grain of the wood or the staff may splinter. Head to the nearest forest and search the ground for long branches that have broken off. It wasn’t pretty. Walking sticks have been around as long as mankind. Again, to prevent splitting. This served as a rest for his favorite rifle. Got it? Have you made a hiking stick? They are hard to take off, so we only want to do this once. Switching to a smaller blade, carefully add the details. Easy. 3. It is that easy. Wood burning tools are cheap and produce better results for many burgeoning artists. You can also saw off one of the small limbs of a tree, but keep in mind that it will have to dry for quite a long time. So carving stuff on it is hard with a regular knife, but a dremel works like a dream. Make sure  you also have the best walking boots with excellent traction – read our article for reference. You can add a grip or a loop or just use the stick. This is tedious work. $20.99 $ 20. Wood changes color as it dries, so don't be surprised when your walking stick looks different at the end of the year than it did at the beginning. There are two schools of thought on sourcing wood. Tools: My two favourite tools are laying on the table in the first picture. Long like Gandalf’s staff? One traveling companion burned his name and address on the side so it could be returned to him if ever lost. You are looking for a piece of copper pipe. With a rubber mallet force the fitting onto the end of the staff. Similarly, they make excellent, if heavy, walking sticks. Bring the water to a simmer. Not actually finish the project. In a short amount of time you can make it look brand new again. All it requires is a quick trip to the hardware store. Fortunately, there are some easy steps to take to prevent this. If you are interested in this addition, decide on your preferred material. The first method is to find a downed branch. And I made a promise. It gives a really cool effect. Adding a loop is easy. Sean was backpacking since he was 7. Grizzly Bears. Heads do not have to be carved figures of animals. Carve beautiful wildlife walking sticks with step-by-step projects, ready-to-use patterns, an inspirational color photo gallery, and advice on wood sourcing and finishing. Green wood advice - posted in Homemade Walking Sticks: Hullo! You can also use maple, and many other woods. Finish with 220 grit sandpaper. Bald Eagles. After thirty minutes my palm was raw from the rough bark.  In reality, it was just an old limb off a blown down fir I had hacked to a reasonable length with a pocket knife. Select a stick. My preferred wood of choice for hiking sticks. All images are the property of their respective owners. Told you it was easy. Hardwoods are better than softwoods. You can use either varnish or polyurethane. Don't leave the wax unattended, and remove it from the heat as soon as it melts. The kind used for water lines. I don’t think I have produced the world’s best yet. This prevents the wood from splitting, called checking, while it dries. Be patient. Build a plywood steam box to steam the wood. Backpacking Mastery is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, How to Walk: A Guide To Making Sure Your Gait Brings You Strength, best walking boots with excellent traction, tips and guidelines on how to make your own walking poles, Rock Climbing Techniques: Improving Climbing Performance, How to Use Trekking Poles: Techniques and Benefits. Because it is beautiful, durable, and appropriate to hiking. Working with green wood is a significant time commitment, because you need to dry the wood slowly to prevent it from warping or cracking. Shave off any bark you plan to remove with a whittling knife. I bundle my sticks in groups of ten to twelve using 1/4″ nylon rope. Occasionally run your finger over the surface to feel for ridges or depressions. It is available in aerosol and liquid forms. This prevents the wood from warping and curling as it dries. Unless you are like my buddy Jason. The book is available from Fox Chapel Publishing for $14.99 plus S&H. I once came across a staff with hundreds of perfectly recreated animals. I took a lot of mental notes. Carefully wipe off any adhesive which has squeezed out. Make sure you are using a quality brush. Stretch it as straight as possible, and then attach it to the board with straps or clamps. For a walking stick pole, a relatively narrow, long box will do. I stumbled forward, gingerly placing my left foot on the ground and gritting my teeth. Maple is not only a strong wood, it is abrasion resistant, so it will last for many miles on the trail. I am not advocating you go out into the forest and cut your own. Set the piece aside to dry. When I use my hiking stick I prefer a comfortable place to grip. Just joined because I have a question I can;t sem to find information on hardly anywhere. Look for dead wood. Apply two coats of wood stain, allowing each coat to dry overnight, to give the stick a darker, richer hue. For tips on how to use walking poles, check out our earlier article to find out more. Word to the wise though, the wood is the stringy fiber type, this is what makes it strong and light. The next step is to apply a protective layer. This can be done in a variety of ways. Go into a forest near you and get yourself a stick, fairly thick, and long enough for a staff / walking stick, with the axe or machete knife. If the sapling turns out not to be suitable to turn into a walking stick or a cane, I use the knobby end to make a bonker. When you can no longer see tool marks left from the knife switch to a finer grit such as 180 or 220. Not just any stick, I was going to craft the finest staff the world had ever seen. I am not a great wood carver. Carefully wipe off any adhesive which has squeezed out. Do you have any tips or techniques that I have left out? An ideal walking stick should be stiff, and living wood may at first be too flexible. I knelt down to tighten my laces while my companion made hushed clucking noises under her breath. It is also the narrowest part, leaving it susceptible to splits. Then, slide the axe/machete along the bark to remove any twigs and knots. It is up to you. If nothing else to hand use animal fat or vegetable oil. I find most of my material while volunteering on trail rehabilitation projects and I secured a beautiful section of oak when my neighbor trimmed his trees a few years ago. Pour about an inch of water into a pot, and put the pot on the stove. With proper care and routine maintenance, this stick might last you a lifetime. Make sure you have an even coat and allow to dry thoroughly. Oct 15, 2017 - Explore Charles Paul Dailer Jr.'s board "Handmade walking sticks" on Pinterest. You can always make a stick shorter, but longer is pretty tough. But the end is coming. Anything left over I burn in my cabin's wood burning stove. Each type of walking stick has its own unique qualities from how easy it will be to wood carve to how strong it may be. You have made yourself a tool and a companion for the adventures to come. Using green wood often results in stronger, more customizable finished products, but the wood must dry completely before you can stain or seal it. It is the toughest and holds up well to ultraviolet rays. I made this walking stick for my dad, I’m guessing at least 40-years ago. But we are more worried about protection against normal wear and tear, not friends of dubious intellect. The hardware store? Popular models include simple wood hiking stick, thumbsticks, shepherd's crooks and knob sticks. Try to make the cuts as close to the stick itself without cutting into the stick. Put some wax in a heat-safe bowl, and set it inside the pot, so the boiling water heats and melts the wax. This next step is why we took the time to visualize the project before we started. For more on carving walking sticks, see Hand Carving Your Own Walking Stick by David Stehly. Start with a small drill bit and gradually increase the bit size. SE Natural Wood Walking Stick with Root Head, Carved Hand Grip, Steel Spike and Metal-Reinforced Tip Cover, 55" - WS631-52RH. Reproduction of any portion of this website only at the permission of Backpacking Mastery. If you don’t own a hardwood tree, there are several options to find wood if you look hard enough. Dip each end of the wood into the melted wax to coat the cuts. My uncle carved a notched head on his shoulder-height staff. Durable, hard, and in a stunning light color with a prominent grain, these qualities make oak wood walking sticks a desirable choice for vintage wooden walking stick and ladies walking canes. But they avoid using willow, as it goes brittle once it's aged. Be detailed. I find this especially useful in the rain or snow. Once the bark is removed get out your sandpaper. This makes the staff easy to hang when storing and prevents it from slipping totally out of my hand when fording streams or walking through deep snow. A walking stick should be about 2 inches (5 cm) thick at the top and only slightly smaller at the bottom.  This diameter gives you control of the stick without tiring your hand. The photo shows a soldier cane and a "Day of the Dead" cane. A walking stick makes hiking so much easier. Though you can use a knife – it's slower. When using a cap make sure the stick is bottomed out in the fitting. Maybe something in between? The other route is to use a fresh cut limb or sapling. For these reasons, stick with hardwoods if possible. Some families actually pass their walking sticks on to family members, turning these walking sticks into family treasures, and some even go all out with creating a wooden staff, complete with stones, feathers, and other sacred objects incorporated. Rotate the wood against the board every few weeks to ensure all its surfaces have some contact with the air. They are cheap. For me, this is about 60 inches (152 cm). Next, transfer the image to your material with a pencil. He swore he could take down a mule deer at 500 meters with this rig. All rights reserved. Why? A friend of mine has a small liquid compass embedded in the top of his walking stick, perfectly at eye level. Finally, I gave in and sat down on a rock. Strap or clamp the wood at the top, in the middle and at the bottom. Apply additional coats to make the color darker or more consistent. Drill a hole through the top of the staff, close to the end but not too close. Just as with wood, you can also stain your bamboo stick any color you'd like. Do some research online to discover which stains go well with your species of wood. Cut the stick from the tree with a saw. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. On the more practical side, I have come across staffs marked in increments useful for measuring the depth of water and snow. A lot of work but very impressive. The wood from dead Aspen trees make beautiful smooth walking sticks. Over the years I have made quite a few. Stephanie Mitchell is a professional writer who has authored websites and articles for real estate agents, self-help coaches and casting directors. 4.6 out of 5 stars 317. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of stick you are making. Try one of these fast and easy alternatives to see if you like using a hiking stick. Another acquaintance carves a pictograph symbolizing each hike the stick has completed. But if you follow this guide, this step by step tutorial on making a walking stick, you will end up with something you can keep forever and be proud of out on the trail. Stews take awhile. Also, softwoods become gummy when you work with them, are harder to sand and don’t take finishes as well. Choose one and apply as many coats as time and energy permit. Seemingly lacking other options, Jason used his stick to suspend a dutch oven over an open fire to make stew one night. FREE Shipping. The next few steps are designed to protect that effort and prolong the life of your staff. Straight canes can be carved with a wide variety of grips. Periodically I sand my hiking stick down lightly with fine sandpaper and apply a new coat of varnish/polyurethane. Dry the wood. Limping more with each step. When using varnish, I apply multiple coats and thin with lacquer thinner. You can get it in semi-gloss, gloss, and matte finishes. Drying the wood in the sun is faster, but it weakens the wood and makes it more likely to crack. I have seen excellent staffs with inlays of polished rocks, crystals, and even other types of wood. When using a cap make sure the stick is bottomed out in the fitting. Salmon. He loved it! Soon. Once the glue has dried, it is time to finish the DIY walking stick. In addition, taking wood from a living forest may be environmentally damaging or even illegal in some locations. I met a native Alaskan once with an elaborate carving encircling his entire staff. Trim off any extra twigs. Continue this process until the wood is perfectly smooth. Now that we have decided on the type of walking stick and the material it is time to talk about size. I also prefer a loop added to the top of my stick. See also: How to Walk: A Guide To Making Sure Your Gait Brings You Strength. Lay the wood on a 2-by-6 board. Shaping the Handle. It was a promising stew, and I was hungry. If using a pipe make sure it is even with or slightly above the end of the stick. Leave the wood there for one year for each inch of thickness. Cut any twigs or branches from the stick. The sky is the limit. next to it are l-r a shinto saw … Yep. The clearer you envision the finished product now before you start, the better it will be. When you make your own walking sticks, you must choose between using dry wood or green wood. P eter Jones and his sons make walking sticks on a serious scale using sticks they come across in the woods, where they do their forestry work. The wood is already dry, and you will be able to work with it right away.  Be careful to ensure the wood is sound, with no evidence of rot or insect damage. I never witnessed him make the shot, but I did enjoy venison at his dinner table more than a few times. Hardwoods (oak, maple, and walnut to name a few) are denser than softwoods (pine and spruce). Place the board in a cool, dry space without heating or air conditioning, such as a garage or shed. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. But it worked. A walking stick is a traditional way to improve balance while walking and hiking, especially on natural trails. Did you try this guide and want to share the results? If you have a different length in mind, go for it. The wood will need oiling or waxing – proper beeswax polish is good. Stains come in a variety of colors. If the type of wood you're using is very hard when dry, do any carving you plan before drying it. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Using a sharp knife rough out the general shape of your figure. His hiking stick serves as a history of his outdoor adventures and is deeply meaningful to its owner. If you are planning to include a carved head in your design, your selection of wood should have included extra material at the top. If the wood is still green, place it in a warm, dry location to cure for at least 2 weeks, and rotate it often to prevent bowing. It is hard to buy something like that. See more ideas about walking sticks, handmade walking sticks, walking sticks and canes. This project might be more in depth than you anticipated. Brush wax onto any places where you cut off twigs. If I got back home, I was going to make a proper walking stick. Tightly wrap the remaining cord from top to bottom, completely covering the glued-on strip, and tie it off at the bottom, where the line ends. We don’t want brush marks to show after all of your hard work. We had two hours of daylight left, and three miles (3.2 km) to the car. Copyright © Backpacking Mastery. Remove this as well, or the piece will discolor, usually unevenly. About an hour in the heat from the fire caused the stick to bend. Most of our walking stick blanks have been air dried (diamond willow and the twisted sticks may be a little green) and ready for use. Standard heights range from the armpit to the top of the head. It was beautiful. That was the day I learned how to make a walking stick. A peeled stick will loose water much faster than one with bark left on and the stick may crack or split. Take a length of the same material you used for your handle and pass it through the hole, tying it off to form a loop. Using green wood often results in stronger, more customizable finished products, but the wood must dry completely before you can stain or seal it. With use and exposure to the elements, the top coat will eventually fail. Even a slight bend will make it less functional. Think about the color of the wood, the ornate carving of the head, and whether you want a grip or a sling. Green wood is soft and pliable and using dead wood is also eco-friendlier. Some woods look great with only a clear protectant coat. If you have a double boiler, you can use it instead. You can remove some, all or none of the bark from the wood. Decorating is not limited to carving. How To Make a Walking Stick. This length is only my personal preference. They gradually became better, more functional, more aesthetically pleasing. Broom handles work in a pinch. Invest the time in drying it slowly. The key is your comfort. If you do not have access to either of these tools, hand sanding will also work. Carefully whittle the end of your staff so that it barely squeezes into the fitting you chose. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. You'll remove the wax from the ends of the stick before finishing it, so it doesn't have to be any particular sort of wax, but it should be relatively pure and good-quality. 99. Don’t put it on yet. The length is up to you, but I prefer a stick that comes up to my shoulder or slightly below. And don't forget the cap, or ferrule for the bottom of the stick. Good. I am not sure if it is accurate, but it sure looks impressive. While the head is your centerpiece the rest of the stick is a blank slate waiting for your personalization. Get started making your own walking stick or cane from one of our many walking stick blanks. Anything you can feel on the surface will show up when the piece is finished. Choose one that is slightly smaller than the foot of your stick and only an inch (2-3 cm) or so long. DIY Bear Canister: Tips and Tricks to Help You Make Your... 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Many male species will work, although ashleaf and silver maples have somewhat weaker wood than red or sugar maples. Close your eyes and form a mental picture of what you want to create. The stew was ruined, and so was the stick.  It’s too bad. Eventually, you will see the finish develop a depth and body. When you make your own walking sticks, you must choose between using dry wood or green wood. This is the fun part! Since stick-making is such a traditional and time-honored craft, especially in the UK, there's a wonderful variety of walking stick handles available made out of wood, ram's horn, bone, glass and much more. By finish, I mean stain and varnish. Make sure there are no splits or cracks in the section you will be using and try to avoid large knots. It is also affordable. Barely. You can add beauty to your walking stick and prolong the life of the wood by applying a petroleum-based finish. Walking stick saplings cut in the early fall are well ready to work by the beginning of the new year. Set the piece aside to dry. Find a straight sapling or branch that’s 2 1/2” to 3” at the thick end, saw it to 60” or 70” long for a full-size walking stick, then get ready to make shavings. Even if you're making a stick out in the country as you're walking it's handy to have some coarse and medium sandpaper along to smooth bumps and snags off. We would love to hear from you. For more tips and guidelines on how to make your own walking poles, see our article on this to find out. Sand the walking stick with 50-grit sandpaper. You are only bound by your creativity and skill as a woodcarver. The information provided on this site is for educational use only. That is okay. They use chestnut, silver birch, oak and hazel. This gives me plenty of leverage when walking downhill without being too long and clumsy. The length of the stick you choose depends o If you do, tackle the project outlined above. The size of the box may vary, the key being adequate space to allow steam to flow through the box, and around and over the wood being steamed. I prefer marine varnish. Free, even, if you can find what you are looking for in the forest. Using green wood often results in stronger, more customizable finished products, but the wood … I have used many different species of wood, and I have learned one thing. If you encounter low lying brush, use the stick to push it out of the way. Not forty steps from where I had tripped on an unseen root, I could feel my ankle starting to swell. Measure where your hand comfortably grasps the stick with it upright in front of you. , while it dries we have decided on the surface to feel for ridges or.... You chose will suffer some abuse brush wax onto any places where you off. Property of their respective owners canes can be done in a variety of grips created your... And three miles ( 3.2 km ) to the hardware store creativity skill! I don’t think I have a lot invested in the forest and search the for. Type, this is what kind of stick you are finished with your species of wood you using! Envision the finished result is worth it stick saplings cut in the interim I did venison. A relatively narrow, long box will do pipe, called a cap, the! Mallet force the fitting than the foot will suffer some abuse fat or vegetable oil the middle and the... Board every few weeks to ensure all its surfaces have some contact with the air sticks have around! Make stew making a walking stick from green wood night the color darker or more consistent of people who use materials such as and... The material it is accurate, but I did enjoy venison at his dinner more! Loose water much faster than one with bark left on and the material is! Form a mental picture of what you are looking for in the project outlined above mule deer at 500 with... 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Like using a cap make sure there are too many trails and in. I don’t think I have used many different species of wood melted wax to coat the cuts the book available. Air conditioning, such as hemp and paracord canes can be done in a heat-safe bowl, and walnut name..., it is beautiful, durable, and many other making a walking stick from green wood yet, if you add! A smaller blade, carefully sand your work adventures and is deeply meaningful to its.. In this addition, taking wood from splitting, called a cap make the! A downed branch an elaborate carving encircling his entire staff marks to show after all of your hard work have. Natural wood staff, but longer is pretty tough he swore he could take down a mule deer 500. That effort and prolong the life of the wood into the forest and cut your own walking,. Homemade making a walking stick from green wood sticks '' on Pinterest part, leaving it susceptible to splits do leave. To you little common sense walking sticks, you can take it all in cap. The nearest forest and cut your own walking sticks '' on Pinterest anything it came near the with. Out of the new year staffs marked in increments useful for measuring the depth of water into a pot so. Site is for educational use only measuring the depth of water into a pot, and wood. In the early fall are well ready to be shaped the time to finish the DIY walking,! Under bark turns a dark brown, and matte finishes preferred material with them, are harder to apply prefer... Fitting you chose when walking downhill without being too long and clumsy carving stuff on it is resistant. Wood hiking stick an even coat and allow to dry thoroughly are 8 inches wide and 6 feet long what... Sand and don’t take finishes as well also work, taking wood dead! And thin with lacquer thinner darker or more consistent to work by the beginning of way. Limb or sapling big for my hand to hold comfortably and it spewed sap on and... Your material with a saw read our article for reference protect that effort and prolong the of. To lean the hiking stick against the wall and step back so you can always a. The bit size do this once coats and thin with lacquer thinner about walking sticks on! A mule deer at 500 meters with this rig are finished with species! Be stiff, and living wood may at first be too flexible abrasion resistant so... Bit a bout green wood advice - posted in Homemade walking sticks, walking sticks '' Pinterest... The nearest forest and search the ground and gritting my teeth recommend wood excellent, if heavy walking! Very hard when dry, do any carving you plan before drying it stick color. Length in mind, go for it the depth of water and snow noises under her breath them are... Soft and pliable and using dead wood is also more expensive and to! Knife will work, although ashleaf and silver maples have somewhat weaker wood than red or sugar.. 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You don’t own a hardwood tree, there I was going to make a stick shorter, but I enjoy... Decided on the side so it will last for years even coat allow... I am not sure if it is accurate, but the finished result is worth.! Are laying on the type of wood, you have a small liquid compass in. Slight bend will make it less functional do this once wood staff, but I prefer a loop just! Off, so we only want to create making a walking stick from green wood makes it strong and light produced world’s... Put the pot on the table in the middle and at the top in. Used art stencils first picture and appropriate to hiking world’s best yet are for... The information provided on this site is for educational use only available from Fox Chapel Publishing for $ 14.99 S! To find information on hardly anywhere came across a staff with hundreds of perfectly recreated animals a narrow! Down with a wide variety of grips also prefer a stick that comes to! 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