I'm a hiker at heart, and swore off the expensive manufactured sticks after I wore out the second pair of tips. I started using and making hiking sticks from the free natural materials in the woods. It's an art, and it seems each new stick has a better hand feel than the last one. Hand feel, for me, is the most important characteristic. Sturdiness, of course, is mandatory, which is why I don't use dead wood. The preferred light-weight woods that make the best sticks--red maple, white ash, tulip poplar, lose strength if the dead wood sits out in the weather for any length of time. Culling living trees from the forest to make an old man's walking stick is, for me, a natural act--as natural as digging cattails or plucking water cress. Hand tools only. I use a stone as my finishing sander. Video uploaded for PJ Wetzel by F.I.T. Wilderness VLC.