A traditional part of scouting equipment, the Group has a selection for pioneering.
- Grow them or seek a source and ask. Mine are hazel, thinnings from
my garden, thumb thick and slightly above shoulder high. The bark remains,
bevelled carefully at the end. More traditionally they are stripped of bark,
possibly with a foot between two and three feet from the top for grip. If
you hang them to dry weight the base to keep straight. Other European woods
– ash, chestnut.
- Straight as possible; thumb sticks are not staves
- Fit to the owner. Some sources suggest 5’0’’ for the
patrol, 5’6’’ for the patrol leader (to allow for pennant),
thumb stick for Scout Leader.
- Traditionally incised in yards, feet and inches. Pick your own scale,
they must be of use before ornament.
Incorporate small markers of patrol or troop as signs of ownership.
A metal foot (ferrule) will protect the end, in the form of a distinguishing
mark may act as a tool in tracking games and may tap out a rhythm in discrete
Some use staves as carriers of a history with metal badges. Be prepared to
move on to another stave when the original is too weighty or battered for
- Knowing of no source for pennants you will have to make your own. Half
the size of a necker, ensure the dyes are waterproof and the stitching sound
as the weather will find out flaws. Flags act as markers in wide games, mark
tents in camp and identify you to the world.
At the 2007 Jamboree some European Troops routinely carried a flagged stave.
- Last used to carry a lantern at the Founders Day 2007 it will require
a way of temporarily attaching a swivel.
- Bound leather will increase grip. A loop through a hole may be of use.
- Is man a biped or a triped? Despite the new popularity of single or
double sticks with walkers a stave will but infrequently aid the scout in
walking. Balance on stepping stones, or steep inclines when with a rucksack.
Without a load it shouldn’t handicap a scout.