Glossary
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Some of our Sticks

Ambulist

Comes from the Latin word 'ambulare' and, strictly speaking, should mean 'one who is in the habit of walking' but has become the word used for a collector of walking sticks.

Antipugilism

The 'art' of fighting with sticks.

Balance

In a stick the word refers to how well it carries.  The shank should be farily straight and head/handle and shank should be in line.  It should also have an easy taper from top to bottom.  The whole stick should feel lively and not 'dead' in the hand.

Cámóg

An Irish word to describe a stout/thick stick... prenounced Kaw Mogue

Cane

The generic name for a walking stick  in America where the term walking stick is generally understood to refer to longer hiking sticks.

Carrying Stick

A stick which is shaped like a shalow W and is used for carrying objects across the shoulder - the weight on the back is counterbalanced by one hand on the stick at the front.

Chinning the Cosh

Expression used by travelling community to describe cutting a stick.

Cleek

The end crook of a Shepherd's Crook which is used to catch sheep by the hind leg.  

Collars

Also called Bands or Spacers, collars are used to tidy up or decorate the joint between the handle and the shank.

Congo Pearl

Method of causing small, regularly spaced knobs on a stick.  This is done by wounding it with a special instrument during growth... the knobs are the resultant scars.  Mostly used on chestnut.

Coppicing

Long established way of harvesting wood by cutting back to just above ground level every eight to twelve years.  Most hardwoods coppice well but most conifers will not.  The crop cycle can carry on almost almost indefinitely.

Cromach

Gaelic name for a crook.

Crook

Handle bent in full semi-circle.

Cross Head

Name given to stick handles which look like an upside down 'L'.

Crown

The highest part of a stick at the top of the handle.

Crozier

Scottish name for a crook.  Perhaps more commonly used as name for the staff carried by bishops.

Distaff

A cleft stick for holding wool or flax while being spun by hand.

Fancy

A shepherd's crook with carved decoration.

Ferrule

A fitting at the bottom of a stick to reduce wear and prevent slipping.  Can be made of many materials but the more usual include rubber, brass, copper and steel.

Flaming

Lightly scorching a stick to give it added colour and effect.

Fuming

The staining of a stick by using amonia fumes.

Gypsy Sticks

Gorse/Furze/Whin sticks traditionally sold by members of the travelling community.

Handle

Name given to the part of the stick which user holds when walking.  There are a multiplicity of types and shapes some of which are shown here: -
A selection of various metal handles and crooks
 
Sketches of carved wooden handles
 
Some examples of root handles

Heel

The point where the handle turns from horizontal to vertical towards the shank... can be angular or a gentle curve.

Horse

A heavy board propped at an angle of about 60° with notches down each side.  The notches are used to straighten shanks after steaming.

Knob

Name given to the part of the stick which user holds when walking.  There are a multiplicity of types and shapes some of which are shown here: -

Leg Cleek

A hook shaped handle used as an aid in catching lambs and sheep. Can be made from wood or horn but most often shaped from metal. The width of the mouth may vary depending on the job in hand, e.g. smaller opening for use in catching lambs.

Mouth

Also known as Gape, it is the distance between the shank of a walking and the inside of the nose (cleek) at its narrowest point.

Nose

The top (highest) point of the handle, crook or cleek

Pad

Term used in Scotland in place of ferrule.

Perches

A unit of measurement (5.5 yards) used in the past when measuring hedges and field boundaries. See also Poles and Rods.

Poles

A unit of measurement (5.5 yards) used in the past when measuring hedges and field boundaries. See also Perches and Rods.

Pollarding

Pollarding is a pruning system in which the upper branches of a tree are removed, promoting a dense head of foliage and branches.

Reducing

Term used to describe the reduction in the diameter of a stick. This can be done by shaving with spokeshave or, more usually, by means of a specially designed plane.

Rods

A unit of measurement (5.5 yards) used in the past when measuring hedges and field boundaries. See also Perches and Poles.

Scorching

Giving the shank of a stick some extra colour by lightly burning (scorching) the surface.

Shank

The main section of a walking stick or cane, i.e. the piece stretching from below the handle to the ferrule.

Shepherds' Crook

A stick,  almost always of hiking staff length, with a crook, cleek or hook as a handle.  This crook, cleek or hook was tradtionally used by shepherds for a multitude of functions with their flocks, e.g. catching, dipping, etc.

Shillelagh

Pronounced Shill-eh-lay,  this term today relates almost invariably to a short (no more than 24") blackthorn stick with a hammer type head.   Irish folklore consistently tells us that the stick was used as a lethal weapon by poachers in pursuit of game.

Squoyle

Stick used by poachers - usually has a weight inserted into the handle.

Thumbstick

A hiking stick, usually at least 48" long, with a Y shaped handle into which the user may rest his/her thumb.

Twisties

Sticks where the shanks have a spiral indentation created by the constriction of honeysuckle which has grown up along the shank.