All walking sticks have something to cover the tip of the shaft where the stick meets the ground, this is called a ferrule. You can get rubber ferrules which provide a grip on the ground to avoid slipping, metal ferrules which are harder wearing but do not grip or bone or antler ferrules for antler handled canes.
Metal ferrules can be plain (flat) or spiked and can be made from steel, brass, copper or nickel. Many stickmakers turn there own ferrules from copper plumbing fittings as these are cheap and there is a ready supply. There are several ways to fit a metal ferrule to a walking stick and this is what we are going to look at in this article.
The first step is to prepare the bottom of the shaft where the ferrules will be fitted. The best way to do this is to twirl the stick around in your fingers with the tip against a belt sander so that you can get a nice tapered tip. The aim is to fit a ferrule so that it is flush against the side of the shaft with no edge sticking out that the user can catch themselves or something on.
Then choose or make your own ferrules with a diameter slightly less than the walking stick shaft due to the tapered tip you have just made.
Then you use some wire wool to rub the inside of the ferrule and then add some epoxy resin glue to the tip and then attach the ferrule. You can also pin the ferrule by hammering two sharp pins through the ferrule or by crimping the rim a couple of times with a sharp nail and hammer. Some stick makers use epoxy glue and then pins.
To finish, polish up the ferrule especially if it is brass so that it looks nice and shiny.
Some other ferrules you can buy are; magnetic ferrules (to pick up spent gun cartridges), steel tipped brass ferrules for extra durability and ice grip ferrules which are covered in spikes (like crampons). Then there's the combi-spike ferrule which is something you would find on wooden hiking sticks or other country walking sticks. It's essentially a steel spiked tip with a robust rubber ferrule that fits over the top so that the stick can be used or soft and/or hard ground.