Walking Sticks – A Money Making Hobby

Carving walking sticks was never intended to be a lucrative hobby for me. When I was backpacking, I would occasionally build them, and I had always enjoyed bringing my pocket knife to a piece of wood to see what I could make. I just hadn’t considered doing anything else with the hobby.

When my wife Ana and I were briefly in the flea market business one summer, I observed the occasional seller selling walking sticks. They sold for up to $50 each if the event was more of an arts and crafts show than a flea market. Ana recommended that we sell them as well, so I went to work.

With my “shortcut” saw, I could cut 20 or young poplars in an hour and get two sticks out of half of them. White cedar, on the other hand, was my favorite wood. It grew straight and perished young in the Cedar swamps near my house due to congestion. Because cedar wood retains its strength for many years after dying, I was able to rapidly cut many straight and nicely dried sticks.

As I cut the bark off each stick and carved it into various shapes, there was soon a pile of wood shavings beyond the house. Many were just rounded off at the top. Others I shaped into spirals or pyramids. I added cushioning and leather covers to some, and drilled off the tops of others to insert excellent stones. This is a hobby that allows you to truly stretch your creativity.

To avoid splitting, I wrapped the walking sticks in leather towards the bottom, and most had leather handgrips. The leather came from old leather coats that I chopped into strips after purchasing them at thrift stores for $5 each. It was held together with glue and little nails. At most, each stick contained ingredients worth fifty cents.

A Profitable Hobby

They ranged in price from $6 to $24 per item. This was less than what other people charged for walking sticks, but we were selling them at flea markets rather than arts and crafts shows, where they would get a greater price. I also sold them wholesale to a dealer who sold them at gun fairs and a friend who sold them at Native American pow-wows.

How much money could you possibly make selling walking sticks? Nobody knows. That summer, I sold around $1200 in walking sticks before moving on to try our hand at an internet business. They went well with our other crafts and the plush animals we sold at flea markets. My advantage was that I was incredibly efficient when it came to making them, spending less than an hour on even the most complicated ones.

In one day, I sold $250 worth of walking sticks. I did, however, see sellers who paid $300 to book a spot for the weekend (we usually paid $10/day for a flea market area) and solely sold walking sticks. They were definitely selling far more than I, but doing something you enjoy while also generating a profit is a pleasant benefit of any money-making pastime.