Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Prudent Prepping: Staff of Knife

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.  

It's actually the staff for the seriously cool Birthday gift that Erin Palette sent me, but "Staff of Assegai" just didn't quite cut it.

The Staff
I've been goofing with the staff off and on (mostly off) since February. The first thing I did was shape one end to accept a walking stick end, detailed here and also here. I wanted to add the option of using the spear blade on a longer shaft in the manner of a traditional spear, just like things were done before that avant-garde eccentric Shaka Zulu came along. However, that is more difficult -- much more difficult -- than making a tapered end, so I decided to take a break from hand-filing a practice run on a broken push broom handle and refinish the walking stick as it is right now.

The Stick
This is the pole after the taper and with the factory finish. Since this is sold as a replacement broom handle and I'm going to use it as a hiking and walking staff, the original finish has to go. I won't go over the details of the cleanup, but 36 grit sandpaper followed by 60 grit cleaned things up quickly. Since this is a hardwood from Brazil, I needed a finish that is intended for very dense wood types like teak, mahogany and rosewood.
I picked a brand that has a fantastic reputation and a wide selection of wood finishing products,
Watco brand Teak Oil Finish.

It wipes on very easily and penetrates into the wood, leaving a dull finish. When it's been worn off, I only need to clean off the dirt before wiping on another coat. 

Coated Pole

Here is the pole after soaking in teak oil all day. I brushed a full, wet coat on the staff and then placed the taper in a small pan filled with teak oil to allow it to soak into the wood as much as possible. Since the taper will be inside the brass end and not visible, I want to protect that part of the wood as well as I can. The day turned out to be fairly warm, so I'm hoping that helped the oil penetrate into the raw wood.

After it dried overnight, the surface was not sticky, which would be a sign of too much oil being left on the surface. I'm happy with how this part of Project Pole turned out!

The Takeaway
  • Take one step at a time. I'm still figuring out how to duplicate the compound taper required for the Assegai. 
  • Do things you know how to do first. I can now use this as a hiking staff, even if nothing else is done. 

The Recap

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