I like to Carve Walking Sticks

Each time I go out in my woods I cast my eye around for a fallen branch that I can shape into a cane or walking stick. Basically I look for something about a yard long and with a sharp bend in it. I take it home and put it on my table saw. I cut away all the small twigs or shoots from it and that leaves a walking cane about 36 inches long and with a sharp turn at the end, that serves me as the handle. It's all one piece.
It takes me only a few minutes (each outing into the woods) to find a branch to serve my purpose. And, my skill level with the saw or carving or with a chisel is very low. So, it only takes me another 5 minutes or less to trim the thing down into a walking stick.
Here is my question. What can I do or what can I quickly carve (or cut into) the stick to..."dress it up" and make it look a little better? Where the branch comes up to form the 90 degree turn and makes the handle, I often have to saw off a bit of branch. That leaves an open grain showing, bare wood, sometimes with a nice or colored grain showing. I thought...maybe there I could carve...a lion's head or a Cross or something at that point. Whatever suggestions folks might have (I will appreciate but) remember I am practically an idiot with tools. I'd like to make a cut or incision at the point with my table saw and then...maybe chisel out a piece of wood, to form some kind of simple design?
Thanks for any help or ideas.
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One thing , do you have a Dremel? If so carving is easy. I too make sticks and my favorite carving on the handle is a moral mushroom. They take time to carve (about 2 hours) but they are easy to do and really give a nice look, especially for those who hunt mushrooms. So, using a Dremel makes life easier.
Rich AKA searcher1

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Searcher wrote:

I have always been intrigued by the process of collecting wild mushrooms, but I've been worried about the chance of one sending me for a ride with sirens blaring and lights flashing. I thought the method of selecting "good" and "bad" specimens was better left to those trained in the ways of black magic. Here I am, happy to find, that you merely have to check their morality! Is this a simple question/answer session, or do you have to douse them with some sort of holy water? Is a simple blessing over their cooking vessel sufficient enough to adjust their morality, or is more intervention required? I'm curious. Personally, I would love to find some moral morels. They're wonderful with fiddleheads. Don't get me started about _their_ state of mind, though.
Mark
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To which Werlax replied:>but I've been worried about the chance of one sending me for a ride with

yes, you don't want to mis-identify a mushroom! Someday, it'll all be over....
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Go to most any crafts fair, there's typically several booths full of walking sticks. Look at them for inspiration and talk to the craftsmen about their technique for more ideas.
DAGS for walkingstick images
H.
snipped-for-privacy@wmconnect.com (KrystalNJeff) wrote in message

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try carving a snake head at the end of the handle and making the whole stick looke like a snake.
i had a stick that came to a nice "Y" crotch at the top where the handle bend was so, i've wrapped a strip duct tape around a stick like a barber pole from near the bottom up to the crotch at the handle and carved out in between the tape and after i peeled the tape off, i had a roughed out snake climbing the cane with one side of the crotch as a handle and the other as a snake head. that took quite a while, but came out awesome.
i've also used the same process on a couple of taller staffs
i'll post a few pics alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking
KrystalNJeff wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@wmconnect.com (KrystalNJeff) wrote in

There are anumber of "Stickcarving" mail lists on Yahoo, or just do a Google on stickcarving and you will most likely pick up the other lists that are out there, this side of the pond and the other...then you will have all sorts ideas of what you can do, how to do and what not to do...there are also a number of books published on making walking sticks and staffs, check out the online bookstore giants.(G) The woodcarving NG might also get you some info.
GJP
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GJP <GJP> wrote in

Sorry that should have just been "Carving" as far as the NG is concerned. Here's a cane/stick forum web site that quite likely could answer some of your questions. http://www.stickmakers.org/Forum.html
GJP
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