How to Carve a Wood Spirit in a Hiking Stick

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Carve a Wood Spirit in a Hiking Stick
Carve a Wood Spirit in a Hiking Stick (Image: http://www.sticksrus.com/site/1616146/product/SS021)

Wood spirits contain human features and the elements of nature brought together to create a spirit believed by American Indians to protect from the dangers of the woods. Crafting wood spirits is a fun and relaxing hobby that exercises the imagination. Many wood craftsmen focus specifically on designing and carving wood spirit hiking sticks that are works of art.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Walking stick
  • Carving knife
  • Rubber mallet
  • Small chisel
  • Clamp
  • Sandpaper

Find a suitable stick to work with. You want a sturdy, thick stick that will be good as a hiking, or walking, stick. The best way to find the right stick is to go to the woods and look around, testing different sticks until you find one that's comfortable for you. Make sure the stick is wide enough to provide a good work space for you to carve on.

Decide what elements of nature you will combine with the human features. Make a rough sketch of your wood spirit so you have something to work from.

Place your stick on a solid surface. Secure it to a table with a clamp if you have one available. Begin by using a small chisel and rubber mallet to notch out the rough shape of your wood spirit. The finished project should look like a bas relief, so you want to hollow out space, leaving wood to carve your spirit. The finished piece will look as if the spirit face is 3D and rising from the background.

Use a carving knife and the chisel in combination to for the face and whatever nature elements you've chosen for your wood spirit. A good way to get the wood spirit down is to form the human features first and then set the nature elements around the human form.

Sand your wood spirit with light grain sandpaper until smooth. You can finish it with a clear coat of varnish or even use acrylic paint to add color, although the natural look fits the wood spirit motif best..

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