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How To: Before and After
September 12, 2014

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Walking sticks are special to most hunters and hikers. Each has a story behind it that makes them very unique. If you find one that you prefer, it is disappointing to see it has a sharp bend in it, or in general it isn't straight. A friend and fellow hunter, Don Bodinar, gave me some very special information on how to fix that concern. He has devised a way to straighten bent pieces of wood. This method even works with wood that have unique grape vine strands around them. These make great looking walking sticks.

With a wooden box, an outside grill, clamps, and a bucket of water, he is able to permanently fix that situation.

Inside the box surrounded by steam and the pull of clamps with a protective cover the stick takes on a shape that is very desirable. Step by step he explained the procedure and I was fortunate to have my brother, Gary Grimm, with me to capture it on film. A picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes a special walking stick is worth the time and effort. It is a personal thing and they all are different, but to find a special one that has a bad bend is disappointing. Thanks to Don things are able to get straightened out.

In a general overview, the steps are:

1. Build a box that will house the length of the walking stick.

2. Place the stick in the box after you clamp it to a board.

3. Gradually, move the clamps that are covered with protected cloth to relieve the bend.

4. Place the open end of the box over a pot of water that is brought to a boil.

5. Elevate the box so the steam will be channel upward toward the end of the stick.

6. Reposition the clamps to gradually relieve the bend.

7. Let cool and serve with one of your favorites locations to go hiking. Sometimes the stick can be steamed prior to adding the clamps, if the situation warrants it.

Ask someone what the story is behind their walking stick and it is always an interesting conversation. It may be a hike in the woods with their grandchild to find one similar to their grandfather's. It may be a stick with a roofing nail imbedded in its lower end that is used to flip rocks to reveal an Indian artifact. Whatever the story is, it is always of interest to hear and it provides another reason to enjoy the great outdoors.

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