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Stickmaking materials
and Accessories
(Finished sticks further down).

Alpine Spikes
Aluminium crook
Animal head Blanks
Badger blank
Bird head blanks
Blackthorn shanks
Brass collars
Brass ferrules
Buffalo horn
Cane holder
Carving blanks
Carving glove
Carving tools
Carving wood
Cock pheasant blank
Crook blank (wood)
DIY Materials
Dog blanks
Duck blanks
Engraved collars
Epoxy resin
Epoxy putty
Fish blanks
Fox blanks
Glass eyes
Grouse blanks
Hazel shanks
Heron blanks
Hen pheas't blanks
Hiking stick blank
Horn spacers
Horn Polishing kit
Horse blanks
Kevlar glove
Leather lace
Lyre blank (wood)
Magnetic Ferrules
Partridge blank
Polishing Kit
Rams horns
Roe buck antlers
Rubber ferrules
Salmon blank
Shrink tube
Stag horn
Stick press
Swan blank
Thumbstick blanks
Trout blanks
Wading staff kit
Walker blank
Woodcock blanks
Wrist loop straps

Sticks & Crooks
normally made
to order see waiting times on each page.

These are Not normally
available outside
the UK -
email for details!


Animal sticks
Antler thumbsticks
Antler walkingsticks
Beating sticks
Bird head sticks
Buffalo horn crooks
Buffalo horn thumbsticks
Carved sticks
Derby sticks
DIY Materials
DIY Stickmaking
Dog sticks
Engraved collars
Gen purpose
Hiking stick
Horn crooks
Horn sticks
Knob sticks
Lyre thumb stick
Nanny McPhee stick
Rams horn sticks
Regency stick
Resin head sticks
Wading convert kit
Wading Staffs
Wading Sticks

Gift Vouchers
Cane History
Stickmaking class
Cane holder
Straightening sticks
Why use a Stick?

How it all began

I started making sticks in 1985 after my wife, Jacky, bought me a present - a stick with a Labrador head as the handle. Thinking it was too good to take out (in case it got broken), I decided I would make my own. I had seen a TV programme featuring a retired Gamekeeper who carved his own sticks - using a small knife and bits of broken glass - yes, broken glass - he made some wonderful sticks! Inspired by this, I started with a cock pheasant head. It was rubbish! Undeterred, I made another - which was a bit better - then another. I was quite pleased with that one and was prepared to be seen in public with it!

The first day out with it probably changed my stickmaking life from being a small hobby into a potential business - though I didn't know it then. I had made my third stick - with the head of a cock pheasant carved on a one-piece hazel stick. A side branch had been cut leaving a lump where I could carve the face and beak and I'd used "Airfix" model paints to colour it. I took it out on the first day of the pheasant shooting season. At the end of one "drive", as we call them, I had a couple of shot pheasants in one hand and my stick in the other - held round the neck of the "bird". A man came to take the dead birds from me and took the two real birds and then put out his hand for the third. He visibly jumped a little as I showed him I had a stick in my hand. "That's bloody good" he said, "I thought you had a real one there!"

I was obviously being watched because a short time afterwards one Gentlemen who was shooting came up and asked about the stick. When I said that I'd made it myself he asked if I would make him one too, and how much would it cost. I had no idea what to charge, so suggested £20. That was fine he said, and we arranged for him to collect it a few weeks later when he next came shooting. It turned out that he was the Arch Duke of Austria! I had my first commission - from "Royalty". Austria no longer has a King and Queen, but the Arch Duke had the highest rank so was really King!

The same day another of the shooters said he had heard me saying I would make a stick for the Arch Duke - and would I make him one too! We agreed the same terms and a few weeks later the sticks were delivered to their new owners. I got my £20 from the Arch Duke but the second man said that I had not charged enough and gave me £35! You can imagine my joy as I told my wife what had happened when I got home!

That day gave me the germ of an idea and I had in the back of my mind the dream that one day I might just make a living from sticks - my dream came true!

After several years - and several hundred sticks - I decided to try and turn this hobby into a business. I joined "Brigantia", a craft organisation in North Yorkshire. With Brigantia's help I attended some country shows and found I could sell a few sticks - not a lot, but a few. I sold a few more through local shops on a sale or return basis. I began to have help from Business Link and my advisor there thought I could just make a go of it - but I had to take it seriously and put real effort in to it if I wanted to succeed.

I found it difficult to give up my job as a Trout Farm Manager - as the main wage earner and with a wife and son to support it was frightening to think what might happen if things did not work out! In 1998 fate stepped in - a car crash made me realise that life is for the living. Although I wasn't hurt, I was diagnosed with epilepsy (I had blacked out, causing the car to crash) and so had to give up driving for a year, while my medication was sorted out. It was during this period that serious plans were made - I arranged a part-time job with local butcher, Brian Thompson. Brian was instrumental in me taking the big leap into self employment - he was very understanding and allowed me to be fairly flexible with the hours I worked. Having left my old job, I worked almost full time for Brian for a few weeks while I sorted out the workshop I had rented from Helmsley Estate. After a while I had enough stick business to keep me employed each afternoon and after only six months I had to leave Brian completely and become a full time stickmaker!

After a few years the business took another turn when I started selling a larger amount of stickmaking materials. My older brother, Martin, had helped me set up this website (actually, he did it all - I just provided the photo's and information) and without the website I certainly could not make a decent full-time living from the business. The website had been running as an add-on to Martin's own website selling everything concerned with Satellite and Digital TV so didn't attract that much business - though Martin's was hugely popular! Only later did I get my own website address and learn how to update it with new items, photo's etc.

Jacky came into the business - well, I dragged her in really - a few years later and she's a great help making a lot of the sticks - she won't carve or make horn sticks, but does make a lot of the walking sticks, hiking sticks and thumbsticks. She also packs most of the orders and does my book keeping too! Jacky was a real help at shows because she organised me when we packed the car and trailer and when we set up the stall and put all the sticks and DIY items out for customers to see. We're a real team now - full partners in 'The Stick Man' business. I deal with the website now and normally take the phone orders too. I concentrate on the carved sticks - when the phone stops ringing - and do most of the horn sticks, though I have a couple of local helpers who make some of them if I'm too busy.

Around 80 to 90% of the business is generated from this website now. Even visitors to the shop or telephone callers frequently say that they found us first on the web. I'm often asked by other stickmakers how I can sell my sticks, while they can't. I think it's primarily down to three things: 1) An excellent product range. 2) Great customer service and 3) A brilliant website - these aren't my own words, they are what customers have told me!

Thanks for reading this - I hope it didn't bore you too much! To return to the Main Index just click HERE

Keith Pickering, AKA The Stick Man