Walking Sticks - My Money Making Hobby
By Steve Gillman
I didn't plan on carving walking sticks as a way to make money.
It was just a hobby at first. I sometimes made walking sticks
when backpacking, for example, and I had always enjoyed taking
my pocket knife to a piece of wood to see what I could make.
I hadn't thought of doing anything more with the hobby.
Then, when my wife and I briefly got into the flea market
business, I noticed the occasional vendor who sold walking sticks.
If the event was more of an arts and crafts show than a flea
market, they even sold them for as much as $50 each. My wife
Ana suggested that we could sell them too, so I went to work.
With a short saw I could cut 20 or young poplars in an hour,
and get two sticks out of half of them. My favorite wood, though,
was white cedar. In the Cedar swamps near our home, it grew straight
and died young from overcrowding. Cedar wood remains solid for
many years after dying, so I could quickly cut many perfectly
Soon there was a pile of wood shavings behind the house, as
I cut the bark off and carved each stick into various forms.
Many were just rounded off on top. Others I cut into a spiral,
or pyramidal shape. I put padding and leather covers on some,
and drilled out the tops to inset nice stones on others. This
is a hobby that lets you really exercise your imagination.
All the walking sticks were wrapped with leather near the
bottom, to prevent splitting, and most had leather handgrips.
The leather was from old leather coats I bought at thrift stores.
It was attached with both glue and small nails. Each stick had
about fifty cents in materials in it at most.
I sold them for as little as $6 each to as much as $24. This
was less than others sold walking sticks for, but then we were
mostly selling them at flea markets, rather than arts and crafts
shows, where they would get a higher price. I also wholesaled
them to a vendor who sold them at gun-and-knife shows, and to
a friend who sold them at Native American pow-wows.
How much can you make selling walking sticks? I don't know.
I sold about $1200 in walking sticks that summer, before we moved
on to try an internet business. They were a nice addition to
our other crafts and the stuffed animals we sold at various flea
markets. My advantage was that I was very efficient in making
them, spending less than an hour even on the most elaborate ones.
I never sold more than $250 in walking sticks in a day, but
I saw vendors who paid $300 to rent a space for the weekend (we
typically paid $10/day for a flea market space), and sold only
walking sticks. They were undoubtedly selling much more than
I. In any case, doing something you enjoy AND making a profit
is a nice advantage of any money-making hobby.
And if you want more money making hobbies that get you outside,
check out this collection of pages on outdoor
work at EveryWayToMakeMoney.com.
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