Making Tobacco Sticks

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Forum topic by stixman posted 08-29-2009 09:13 PM 15677 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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62 posts in 3163 days

08-29-2009 09:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tobacco tobacco stick walking stick cane

The tobacco was harvested late in the summer each year. The tobacco plants were cut using a tobacco knife. Several tobacco plants were placed on tobacco sticks, which were hauled on sleds to the tobacco barn to cure, later the tobacco leaves were removed from the tobacco stalk and sold at market.

Dad, papaw, and grand-paw made their own tobacco sticks. A large tree was cut down. The logs were cut into approximately five foot lengths. Each log was then split into smaller and pieces, using a froe and a wooden mallet until the tobacco sticks were the end product.

A froe was a simple tool which functioned more like a wedge than a cutting tool. The blade was driven into a block of wood with a wood club or mallet which struck the back of the metal blade. The wooden handle served as a lever to pry the blade sideways deepening the split with further blows. Dad’s papaw had a blacksmith’s shop and he made the froe they used.

Often, the fall of the year was a slow period of time. Dad told me that on a good day, they could make 250-500 tobacco sticks. Several thousand tobacco sticks were needed for the tobacco grown on the family farm, however extra sticks were made and sold for much needed dollars. The tobacco sticks sold for about $0.03/each.

Our family no longer grows tobacco crops, however I have a small web site , where I sell handmade walking sticks. The best tobacco sticks are selected from the barn. The tobacco stick is cut to length and hand sanded to remove splinters from the wood. Several coats of oil based wood sealer is applied, followed by three coats of oil based polyurethane.

Most farmers have thrown away or burned the tobacco sticks used on the tobacco farms. The tobacco barns are slowly being torn down, soon the tobacco fields will be empty of tobacco. Creating walking sticks from the tobacco sticks is a way for me to save a small piece of our family history by providing walking sticks for people to enjoy for years to come.


3 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#1 posted 08-29-2009 11:27 PM

Interesting story and good use of materials from days gone by

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3656 days

#2 posted 08-30-2009 03:41 PM

I don’t know which I enjoyed the most …this story , your walking sticks , or all of the great music playing on your site !!
I especially liked the “Beverly Hillbillies” tune : ) Brought back some fond memories of Ellie May : )
Thank you very much .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View biged67's profile


1 post in 737 days

#3 posted 04-17-2016 03:52 PM

There is still a need for Tobacco Sticks there aren’t any small growers any more, the US Gov purchased all the acreage from the small framers the one’s that had 3 to 4 acres and sold it to the big tobacco growers that raise 50 to 100 acres now they go for weight in the older times 2,000 lbs per acre was good,now it 4,000 lbs or more per acre.
Most all the Tobacco sticks were from hard woods there were some that were saw cut,where I live in Montgomery County, Tn Tobacco was this area largest cash crop,my Dad was a Farmer and also a tobacco buyer,for Hail and Cotton and also traveled to NC,and South Georgia for the Fue cured market, today’s framer use Mexican labor to tin to the crop.

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