Walking canes, sticks and staffs

DSC_0048The first videos for making the Paul Sellers’ walking canes, sticks and staffs are up and ongoing on woodworkingasterclasses.com. Back in the early 1990’s making these proved a financial lifesaver for me as a new-to-the-US craftsman with no reputation and trying to support a young family. I formulated a business plan that worked and decided to take a single product anyone could make and make a business from that single product. I did the same to making wooden spoons, bird houses and other small items that were low-cost production items people could afford and soon i was able to return to my first calling as a furniture maker. Yes I had to work three or four days a week making repetitive products, but my skills increased, I became faster and so I left the other days in the week for designing and making furniture.

DSC_0061After three years of making walking canes, sticks and hiking staffs the business was solidly established. I was soon making and selling about 7,000 of them throughout the year and the business continued t grow steadily. We had them in gift shops and State Parks, galleries and at craft shows. Gander Mountain ordered them in lots of a thousand and more at a time and so too gift catalogs. It was what it took to make a living back then.

DSC_0071Making the sticks for instructional purposes brought back many fond memories of how we develop our lives. Things often unfold through a vision we have to start something and we go through hard times to make things happen. I want to continue the along the avenue of Going on Your own by describing what I have found it takes to ‘become’ an entrepreneurial craftsman. Just how do we get a product to a selling stage and what kind of product will sell? I once had a business making and selling catapults (slingshots USA). It was a good business all told. Not saying that’s what anyone would do today, but it took some prototyping to bring the product to market. after that they sold by the baker’s dozen, literally. That’s another story.

10 thoughts on “Walking canes, sticks and staffs”

  1. I am new to your blog and website. I enjoy learning about your experiences, and professional development. I greatly admire, like thousands of others, your skills and work. Thanks for spreading the word.

    1. Tank you Reggie and everyone else for encouraging the work we do. You are the ones that make it all so worth doing.

  2. Sandy,

    ‘Trug’ is an Anglo Saxon word meaning: A wooden vessel or trough or boat. The English Trug is traditionally a wooden basket favored by gardeners due to it’s unique shape although a variety of shapes are presently made for other uses. They are usually made from willow and chestnut wood but some rather bad modern interpretations are made out of plywood.
    Hope that helps explain it.

    Joe B.

  3. Ah, slingshots. Memories of the good old days, and running away just as fast as I could.

  4. Hi Paul , luv watching your demos with wood working tools. Watched making the three legged stool but could not find second lesson , shapeing legs and attaching seat, did you make a video of this procedure . I am an avid fan. Thanks once again

      1. Thanks for your response Paul, I’m waiting with eager anticipation.
        I served an apprenticeship in engineering not far from your early life in Stockport, I was amazed at how you used files to sharpen and care for your tools, I didn’t think that would work , thinking the material with heat treatment etc. would have rendered the file useless,and damage the file.
        Once again thank you
        John B

  5. It’s important to help your elderly relatives be comfortable wherever they are, whether that’s in your home or a retirement community. That is the great information for anyone who has wanted to take the proper use of walking aids. Thanks for posting!

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