Traditional Staves

 

 

 

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By Andy Walker

Traditionally, all scouts carried a (traditional measure) 5 foot long stave while a Patrol Leader had one 5'6". This allowed the fitting of the patrol pennant (usually 6" deep by about 1 foot long) without fouling up the measures etc.

In my youth (I am now 74) we made ours out of Mountain Ash cut usually a year after a bush fire when the new seedlings grew close together so that they were straight. This was a big deal for our new recruits on their first bushwalk. 

To cut their own stave, peel it and cure it by hanging in the back shed with a brick on the bottom to keep it straight. I would suggest getting a copy of an old IHQ PO&R where you will find in the Second Class tests a requirement to know a number of uses for a scout stave. 

Similarly the Scout Handbooks of that era spell out many uses as ideas for a scout learning the ropes. Our staves were always personalized by carving. Probably your Patrol emblem on the top, then some of your personal history carved as you made progress. 

My oldest son (now 46) had a cobra coiled around the top (his Patrol) then his Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class badges and the dates he achieved them. Also all of his proficiency badges as they were called then. 

Leaders carried a 'thumb stick'. I can see mine now in the corner of my 'den'. My history is carved into it with all of the scarves I have worn over a period of about 60 years. It is a forked piece of willow (the fork forms a thumb rest at the top) about 3'9" long with a brass ferrule and is used like a longish walking stick or drum majors mace. It can even be tucked under the arm like an army officer's swagger stick. The measurement markings were usually from the bottom 1 x 6", 3 x 1", 6 x 1", 1 x 6". Very useful for estimating heights and distances

Andy Walker, Hon. Commissioner

See Also:

Scout Staff, Staves

More on Making Scout Staves

Practical Uses for Scout Staves

Traditional Scout Staves

Carving Scout Staff Totems

Making Metal Stave Medallions

Scout Stave Positions & Drill

The Traditional Handbook

 

 

   

 

 


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Last modified: October 15, 2016.