This is the front and top of the walking stick I just completed today. I have about 75 hours of carving in this piece--since it was a really large branch when I started. The people I bought the wood from were doubtful that I could do a walking stick out of essentially a log.
The majority of the work is all hand chisels. I finished only the very minute details with a dremel (and broke 4 bits in the process). My hands have been injured before, and after a while they both hurt way too much to keep up the hand carving.
I then finished with 3 grits of sandpaper, and them a mixture of orange oil and beeswax.
Diamond Willow is a type of wood where a bug burrows into the tree. The tree encapsulates the bug to protect the rest of the tree. It ends up creating all sorts of beautiful knots, nooks, and crannies in the wood. It is clearly my favorite wood to work with. I hope to turn out some wands in this too. I also have a broom handle ready to go.
There is a crawling panther on the opposite side of a lions face towards the bottom. The top that you see here is a leopard king that I had dreamed about. His crown is topped with 3 long feathers. His paw is coming forward from the leaves. Another part of the staff has a prowling leopard coming forward from the wood.
The staff is 6 and a half feet long. It's for a guy who is about 6'4". It's already sold.
I'll post more pictures this weekend.