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The Stick Man
Frequently Asked Questions
Please read these as they might just save us both a lot of wasted time!
Some questions are quite common so I've tried to answer them here.
Each web site page contains "Add to Cart" buttons that allow you to add one or more items to our Shopping Cart. When you do this, the item will appear on your shopping cart order form. Follow the onscreen instructions to either continue shopping or go to the checkout. You can use the cart to calculate the total cost including postage, packing and handling (without any obligation). You can edit the amounts of items or delete them from your cart before finally ordering. You can choose to pay by Visa/Mastercard - we no longer accept cheques. There's a text box on the online order page where you can leave a message regarding specific sizes, colours etc.
We can't accept orders by email, firstly because not all emails reach their intended destinations and secondly it takes much longer for us to type out and add up items, quantities and prices this way (the online ordering system does it all for us and you). We obviously can't take credit/debit card details by email as they are simply not secure - anyone can hack into them!
If there's a real reason why you
can't order online yourself then there will be a minimum
£10 charge for me to do the ordering for you. I
don't have secretarial staff and so have to stop work to
take phone calls. Giving card details on the phone is far
from safe - far less safe than ordering on a secure website,
in fact! I was the victim of card fraud myself and have
never used the particular card online!
3) How do I delete an item from the cart?
Simply change its quantity to zero and click the "Recalculate" button. To change the quantity, click on the number or 'swipe' the cursor across it. It should then be highlighted and then just put in the number you want.
As soon as you add any item to the "shopping cart" you are taken to your Order Form. This shows what you have ordered along with the price. There is a box marked "Type any Technical instructions/requests here" where you can leave requests for specific requirements. It is better to use this than send an Email about it because the order form is printed out with the instructions on it - the Email is separate and may not get passed on with the order or may not even arrive!
I'm afraid we no longer accept orders for tiny amounts - try adding something to the order (glue, ferrules etc - something useful for the future maybe?).
It's probably something I can't make or can't obtain. I'm no longer taking on dog, cat, horse commissions etc as they take up far too much time - if it's not on my web pages (or very similar to something you've seen here) then it's unlikely that I can make/get it for you, sorry. However - I'm in touch with lots of very competent stickmakers eager for work so can often pass commissions on to one of them for you.
7) What if I change my mind about ordering?
We will not receive your order unless you complete your address and payment details. You can simply abandon your shopping cart. We have no way of seeing its contents, ever. If you return to the website within a few minutes your order is often still held there for you - in case you were accidentally disconnected - but if you return much later all record of it will have been deleted.
If you complete the ordering system and then feel you don't want to continue with it use the "Cancel my order" email form on the website. Please note that if we have started to process your order but not dispatched it there may still be a cancellation fee - so if you change your mind please tell us immediately!
8) I sent you an email a few days ago but have not had a reply - why not?
I probably tried to reply but unfortunately you may have given an incorrect e mail address or your spam filter or ISPs spam filter may have blocked it. Please e mail me again as I probably did not receive the original - I never deliberately ignore e mails (unless they are stupid or abusive!). Take a look at the Index page as well - just in case there's a holiday message at the top. If there is then I may not be able to reply until I get back!
It might be a benefit to a few
customers who can't be bothered to use the email form (a
standard contact method for businesses) but it leads to
massive problems if I give out an email address!
I still give an email address to
people who really need one - like when sending a photo of a
dog they want me to carve - but even then it leads to
trouble and the people who appear to be most trustworthy are
always the ones who let me down! There's not a month goes by
without me having to ask someone to stop sending me
unsolicited items - or they have their email accounts hacked
and the spammers use all the addresses saved in their
inboxes or address books.
We can post to most places except
certain countries where credit card fraud is known to be a
big problem (such as African countries, Russia, China, India
11) Do you accept credit/debit cards, UK cheques, cash, UK postal orders?
ONLY CARDS OR CASH NOW, SORRY. Please refer to our Terms.
What's the price in Dollars/Euros? Click on the link below to
When paying by card the price you pay to us is converted by the bank into your own currency, so we get paid in Pounds and you get billed in Dollars (or whatever you use). The conversion rate is whatever the bank applies on the day of the transaction - we have no control over it and certainly cannot make any profit on the conversion!
Simply add the item(s) you want to the shopping cart. Select the destination for shipping then click "recalculate". The cost of shipping will be calculated for you without any obligation to buy. In some cases (particularly destinations outside the UK) the calculation may not be quite accurate, in which case we will let you know the correct cost (if it's higher than you were quoted) after you place your order. You can then decide to accept the cost or cancel your order. If the true cost is significantly lower than that calculated we will normally just use the lower rate without contacting you for approval! The minimum cost to ship small items is £3.60 per order but this only applies to small items that will fit in a normal "large letter" envelope within the UK. The minimum cost to post a stick is £12. These prices include postage, packing materials and our time to pack your order and drive to the Post Office (14 mile round trip) or have it collected by courier. If you think it's dear, work out the cost of coming to Helmsley to collect it :-). If you still think you've been overcharged, ask me politely and I will consider your individual case. I can't give an accurate price for overseas delivery until I know exactly what the order is, but minimum postage outside the UK is £10.
Please do not ask us to "leave in shed" or similar as we are unable to do this - it cancels any guarantees and makes claiming for loss impossible! You can tell your own postman/lady where to leave items or leave your own note at the delivery address instructing someone to leave a package somewhere without a signature - but we can't! It's difficult enough making a claim when something is damaged or delivered to the wrong address so please don't ask us to make it more so!
Yes - at the current UK rate of 20%.
Items shipped outside the EU are not subject to VAT and we
can take this off before charging your card. However
- there is a small admin fee of £15 (or 10% on large
orders) that we charge for doing the paperwork for this.
VAT IS charged on delivery - it's a legal requirement so please don't try to tell me I'm wrong to do it! If you don't believe me then check with HMRC before complaining to me please. Delivery is classed the same as any other "service" for VAT purposes.
15) How do I know that my credit card details are safe?
Firstly, your details are taken by a secure server and it's a LOT safer than faxing or emailing your details. Also, your card details NEVER get sent by email to or by us. They are safely encrypted on the server so it's actually far safer than giving me details over the telephone - anyone can hack into a normal phone line if they know how to!
Secondly, I'm not going to run off with your card details or deliberately overcharge you. I live in a small town where just about everybody knows me.
Most items on the D.I.Y. pages are in stock or can be made in a few days. If they are likely to be out of stock for more than a few days I try to indicate it on the particular page. If you order something and it doesn't arrive within one week PLEASE CONTACT US (check for holiday notices on the home page first though). December is always a bad month for postage but we can at least tell you if something has been dispatched (if you ask us to). If you don't tell us something hasn't arrived then we will assume it has - trying to locate items lost in the post becomes a nightmare if we leave it too long! ALL STICKS will be send by courier and will need signing for - that includes DIY shanks.
17) How long do I have to wait for a stick order?
The carved heads and horn sticks take the longest time. It takes up to three weeks to make each stick but at present I have lots of back orders which will take many months to clear and it would be unfair to allow anyone to "jump the queue" so please don't ask. If you really need a present in a hurry I might have an alternative in stock or can send you a "Gift Certificate" that you can give to your friend which tells them their stick is being specially handmade and will be sent as soon as it's ready.
Standard sticks (such as wooden walkers, hikers and thumb sticks - not animal/bird heads or horn sticks) are often in stock. You may have to wait a few weeks if we have to make them but quite often I can post them next day. If you choose to have a screw-joint fitted in the middle of your stick we will normally have to make a complete stick, since not every stick is of suitable diameter. Similarly, engraved collars take time to have the engraving done and are usually fitted when the stick is being made. In the run up to Christmas the demand obviously increases and it is unlikely that we can make anything for you without at least four weeks notice. If a stick is in stock - you can have it posted next day. It might be wise for you to email before you order to check on availability (please don't ask me to list everything in stock!) if you need something in a rush or you can place the order first and email immediately afterwards to check - before we have chance to process your order. Where possible we try to indicate what is in stock but if we only have one or two left they may be gone before I get chance to change the website. IF YOU NEED A STICK BY A CERTAIN DATE YOU MUST TELL US so we can let you know if we can't do it in time!
18) What if I don't like the stick I have bought?
See our Terms page. Generally, you have 28 days to return anything bought by internet or telephone. However - sticks or other items that are made to your specifications are NON-RETURNABLE. By pre-ordering such an item you agree to this condition. Such an order may be cancelled at any time before work on the order has begun, but a cancellation fee of £20 may be charged if we've lost other work because of it. Once work has begun, you must pay in full for the work. Please understand that each custom-made stick is made by hand - we can not press a button to make another one appear at once! If we make a stick for you then you must pay for it and no refund will be given!
19) How durable is a painted stick?
Acrylic paints are used because they are totally waterproof once dry. In addition, they are given several coats of clear varnish to give extra protection. Having said that, you cannot expect paint to last forever if it is constantly rubbed by grubby hands. If the stick is to be used frequently then I suggest you wipe it clean of dirt after each trip out - it will only take a few seconds but it is the dirt which is abrasive. Most of my painted sticks are designed to be held under the painted head, so limiting the amount of hand contact.
20) If the paint becomes worn, will you retouch it for me?
Yes, if it really needs it, but most paint will "age" rather than simply wear out, so it may actually look quite good with a bit of natural wear and tear.
21) Will my stick break if I use it to beat my dog/wife/pig?
I sincerely hope so!
If anything breaks it is usually the shank about half way down. This is normally caused by misuse - as in the cases above (beating the wife etc.). In normal walking it is possible for the stick to drop down a hole or between rocks and for the user to continue walking for a step or two. Result - the shank will crack and may snap in two. Hazel is very strong and tends to split lengthways rather than straight across. If this happens try to bind the cracked area with sticky tape or string - this emergency repair will often last quite a long time. When you can, bring or send the stick to me for a new shank to be fitted.
If your shank does break you can simply cut off the head or handle with a small saw and post it to me - this is much cheaper than posting the whole stick. Cut it at least 50 mm - 2" - below the joint, having first measured the full length! I can fit a new shank and, in most cases you won't be able to tell it's been repaired. I often re-shank handles made by other stick makers so if you have any old broken sticks it may be a cheaper way of getting a new one! Repair/refubishment jobs are charged at £15 per hour plus VAT, plus the cost of any materials used. Postage back to you is obviously not included and will be charged extra.
23) Does a screw-joint weaken a stick?
In simple terms, yes! By cutting the stick and fitting a joint it obviously causes it to behave differently. Downward pressure - as in normal use for walking - appears to make little difference. Sideways pressure, such as hitting something, swiping down nettles, or leaning on the stick at an angle, puts 'unnatural' strains on the joint which can result in the joint itself breaking or the stick around the joint splitting. Putting the stick in the car and piling luggage on it is also very bad - but then you should have unscrewed the parts to make the stick easier to put in the car anyway! Basically you have to weigh up the options - do you want a stick that is long and difficult to take on a journey but is slightly stronger than a jointed stick - or would the joint make the stick far more 'user friendly' and so outweigh the slight weakness?
24) Can I buy at trade price?
There is no "trade price" apart from some items on the DIY pages which we buy in and can get discount ourselves if we buy in larger numbers. You'll find any discounted prices when you try to order multiples of items (often ten or more). We can't make sticks for the trade, sorry.
25) I want to make my own sticks - when should I cut natural shanks? What type of wood should I use?
These and lots of other questions are answered on my stickmakers page