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Manual of the Staff
The Scout's Staff
by Andrew Hagemann
Collecting hiking staff medallions is a
great hobby and a great way to tell your Scouting story! Has anyone ever considered making hiking staff medallions themselves to commemorate
Troop events or individual achievements? How do you do it?
What sort of metal-working skills are involved? Is there a photographic or copy shop
alternative that can be laminated and attached to a hiking staff somehow? Any ideas?
My Metal Work MB staff and I came up with a simple way to
make stamped metal hiking staff medallions for the 1997 Jamboree.
Here's what you do:
METAL DISK: Have a machine shop make (and donate) punched metal slugs, about 1.5 inches in
diameter, using 0.0050 (fifty-thousandths) of an inch thick sheet aluminum.
BOTTOM SWEDGE BLOCK: Take a 4x4 inch stud and cut off four inches to use as a home-made
swedge block. To make the swedge block, gouge a straight, 0.75 inch diameter groove down
the length of the block, right down the center. Carefully sand the groove smooth; do not
apply any finish coat since it will soon be ruined anyway.
TOP FULLER: For the top fuller (the piece that will press the curve into the disk) obtain
6.0 inch piece of 0.75 inch (outside diameter) heavy walled pipe. Carefully sand the pipe
smooth. Remember, since aluminum is a soft metal, any imperfections in the bottom swedge
or the top fuller will appear in the swedged medallion.
Using 0.25 inch letter stamps or a custom made single-piece 0.5-inch metal stamp of your
own design (as a reference point, a 1 inch diameter two-piece stamp that will produce a
complex, coin-like design will cost about $200), stamp the design into the aluminum disk.
Drill two small holes in the top and bottom outside edge of the medallion for attaching it
to the hiking staff with small screws or nails. Do this before you swedge (put the curve
into) the aluminum disk.
Clamp the bottom swedge into a vise, resting the bottom of the wood block against the
vise's screw for added purchase. Place the aluminum disk across the groove, centering it
along the groove, mounting holes running either "east and west" or "north
and south" (your option).
Place the 0.75 inch pipe in line with the groove, resting on the back side of the disk.
With a single, firm blow to the pipe (use a 24-oz. ball pien hammer to make sure the blow
is hard enough), press the disk into the groove.
Presto - one custom made hiking staff medallion.
If you decide not to make a metal stamp, buy several 0.25 inch letter stamp kit and let
the Scouts go to town with their own messages.
Oh, yeah. Be sure to hold each stamp with a pair of good vise grip pliers before striking
them with the hammer. If you don't, an angled hammer blow will send the stamp flying off
like a bullet, and the offending Scout will probably mash his thumb to boot. And anyone in
front of the flying stamp will be seriously hurt. Trust me on this, please!
Write for more info or clarifications.
SA, Troop 6
Colonial Virginia Council
A "Charging" Buffalo, SR-158
Jamboree '97 Metal Work MB Booth Coordinator