Jarrard, a cabinetmaker, said his interest was kindled after he took his pocketknife and a little saw into the woods. He was searching for a limb to make a back scratcher. He used his skills and finished the product.
After this successful venture, he decided to make a walking stick. He returned to the woods and noticed several trees that had swirls on the bark due to clinging vines. He cut the free raw material and used simple tools to make his first walking stick.
“I was satisfied with the result,” he said.
Walking sticks then became canes, which Jarrard said are more difficult to make.
The curlier or fancy sticks require more time, according to Jarrard. The first step is to find and cut the right type of wood.
Once he selects 10 or more limbs, he returns home and begins debarking. Two hours is needed for a walking stick and four for a cane.
All types of wood, both hard and soft, can be used. However, Jarrard looks for special features, appropriate length and fitness.
He prefers soft wood like cedar but admits hickory is best since it has the strength to make a good stick.
Jarrard said he has mastered the skill of making walking canes and sticks. This has been accomplished by using his experience and knowledge of wood.
There is a set of criteria that must be met, according to Jarrard. This is especially true when making canes.
“In addition to strength and eye appeal, the handle and stick must be correctly joined,” he said. “The key is to let it dry before attempting to put them together.”
He hopes to teach disabled veterans what he has learned. “I served in the Navy and I am aware that many returned home with limited use of their limbs,” he said.
Many vets look for employment and it is not easy find a job in today’s economy, according to Jarrard.
“I believe this product would help,” he said. “It would be something they could sell or a hobby to fill lengthy days.”
He said he would speak to any local veterans group or individuals interested in learning the craft.
Jarrard also hopes to market his hobby as a new business – Limbs of Love.
He now participates in craft shows and plans to set up a website.
For more information, call him at 770-369-1046.