Little Mushroom Hiker Wood Carving Pattern


This wooden walking cane pattern will keep you company on your adventures

By Lora S. Irish in Cane Topper Woodcarving 

This little mushroom spirit will bring a sense of magic to your hiking trip! I love woodcarving. I love the feel of the wood in my hands and the movement of a crisply sharp tool working through the grain. Woodcarving is a hobby that encompasses all forms of designs, themes, and art styles. But as an avid hobbyist, I also want an art form that does not take me away from my family. The carving projects that I work are designs that I can create in my home, at my studio table, or in my lap during the evening hours. Working with a decorative carving directly into a 5-foot (155cm)–long walking stick means that I need a large, open space in which to move, turn, and twist the staff. By dividing the cane into small sections—the cane topper, the joint, the joint cover, and the staff—I can carve and construct a cane anywhere and in just about any space, including in the living room or on my back porch. Below I explain the four sections of these handmade walking sticks.

Cane Topper Woodcarving

Chock full of important tips and tricks, Cane Topper Woodcarving will teach you how to take full advantage of wooden walking sticks carving genre. Legendary carving artist Lora S. Irish will guide you through everything from basic how to carve construction techniques, four detailed step-by-step for creating expressive canes, six joinery methods for strong and durable joints between cane topper and staff, how to source and prepare staffs from found wood, and tips for adding joint covers, hand grips, and custom features!

The Staff

Harvesting
Autumn is my favorite time to harvest the year’s crop of walking stick wood. The leaves are changing and beginning to fall, which makes finding and identifying the different tree species easier. The sap in the trunks has begun to drop, so the drying time is less than it would be for a spring-cut sapling. During one morning’s walk through my yard, I found thirteen favorite tree saplings and cultivar branches that could be used in walking stick woodcarving:

Preparation
Whether you peel the bark, partially peel the bark, or leave the bark on the stick, all preparation methods will eventually be treated the same when it comes time to use either an oil finish or paste wax finish.

Cane Topper

Here comes the fun part! Cane toppers are the customized part of your hiking stick. While you can carve with any favorite carving wood, I strongly recommend precut basswood carving blocks for your first cane toppers. Basswood, while classified
as a hardwood species, is a soft, easy-to-cut wood. Its white coloring makes it perfect for painting with either acrylic craft paints or oil stains. Working with a precut size means that you as a hobbyist do not need to cut or plane a larger block down to your desired size. Other excellent carving woods for cane toppers include butternut, sugar pine, soft maple, and yellow cedar.

Joinery

Before you begin carving a basswood blank to create a cane topper, you will want to plan how you will join your cane topper to your walking stick. You will need to create the attachment using some form of anchor bolt or dowel and glue (For an in-depth overview, get your copy of Cane Topper Woodcarving). There are three important points to be considered when you are attaching a cane topper to a walking stick:

  • Alignment: It is much easier, and more accurate, to mark and drill a hole in your cane topper before you do any carving steps.
  • Air space: When you drill holes in both the cane topper and the stick, you need to allow a small amount of extra space for the glue and to allow the air inside the hole to escape when you insert the joinery hardware.
  • Glue choice: Certain glues are more appropriate for certain hardware. If you are using a metal hanger bolt or all thread rod, you will want to glue with two-part epoxy. If you are using a dowel rod, dowel pin, or carving an insert plug on the bottom of your cane topper, you should use wood glue for the joint.

For step-by-step instruction on attachments, get your copy of the Cane Topper Woodcarving book.

Joint Covers

Joint wraps serve three important purposes for cane topper walking sticks: strength, grip, and decoration. Leather has long been traditional as the wrapping material for sticks. It is available in a wide range of colors through leather crafting companies, jewelry supply stores, and large craft outlets. Other natural fibers include bailing twine, hemp cord, waxed sinew, craft twine, and polished twine. Rattail cord, rubber beading cord, faux leather cord, and paracord are synthetic fibers that perform well with long-term use. For step-by-step wrapping instructions, check out Cane Topper Woodcarving.

More Lora Irish Books

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Lora Irish Pattern Series

From celebrated artist, Lora Irish, comes 10 pattern packs that inspire relief carving, scroll sawing, and pyrography. With wildlife, holiday motifs, wood spirits, and Celtic-inspired designs, there’s a pattern inside for any project you can imagine. Choose from printed packs mailed to you or download our digital packs.

The Little Book of Whittling

Finishing Techniques for Wood Crafters

Finishing Techniques for Wood Crafters takes you through all the basics of painting and staining any woodcarving, pyrography, or gourd project. Sample projects throughout the book demonstrate specific techniques-like applying a vintage finish to a chip carved fish; creating realistic skin tones on a wood spirit cane topper; enhancing a Celtic knot dragon with an interesting stone effect; and more. Once you master these artistic techniques you can mix and match them on any project.