Making Staves




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By Michael Playle

Scout sticks are called staves. As a youth I was in a troop where we used "staves". When we were invested it was our task to find or obtain a stave or stick and to make it "your own."  Mine remained with me during my scouting life and to this day I still have it.  The first rule was it had to be at least as tall as you were.

Often Patrol names were carved in them and measurement in inches for the first foot then every foot was marked the key to these were they were "yours" an individual mode of expression.

Many of us fitted ferrules but there were also those of us who chose not to. My own was a piece of wood from a peach tree with the bark stripped of then my name cut in with my knife. The stick was dried and in the early days many people oiled them with linseed oil.

I had carved out 2 bands around the stick and painted these in my patrol colors (Red and Black).

Mine was shellacked and leather bands tied around it at intervals and then shellacked again

If you don't put a ferule on them you can make a noise using them in the den when coming to the alert (bang them on the floor). We also used ours for making pioneering projects in the den. Staves were taken to camp too. I never knew anyone who had to make a new one only when theirs broke from misuse.

Our staves were kept in racks in our patrol corners and the key to it is the reverence with which they were treated. As they were "ours" and ceremonial items I only ever saw in ten years them being used for fighting with. Needless to say the seriousness by which the Court of Honor dealt with this bought home to the offenders the gravity of the offence.

Any wood can be used.  In New Zealand, Manuka makes a good stick. Many people have a suitable stick at home or can put the word out to family members. Next time you go to camp go "stave" hunting. Often branches that are fallen reveal beauty when stripped and whittles right .

Accumulate them slowly encourage and adopt them as troop treasures. Think of all the things you can use them.

If you read Scouting for Boys it will tell you how to measure the height of an object using a stave.

You can use them for walking sticks, playing games, on parade, pioneering, for carrying troop colors, making a stretcher, and loads of other things.

See Also:

Scout Staff, Staves

Practical Uses for Scout Staves

Traditional Scout Staves

Carving Scout Staff Totems

Making Metal Stave Medallions

Scout Stave Positions & Drill

The Traditional Handbook






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Staff Uses ] [ Making Staves ] Traditional Staves ] Stave Totems ] Making Medallions ] Manual of the Staff ] The Scout's Staff ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.