The makhila or makila

The makhila, a bask walking companion

This traditionnal Basque walking stick is a symbol of honour. It reflects a certain philosophy and a way of life. Elegant, practical, a redoutable defensive weapon as well as a decorative object, the makhila (or makila) is not only a mark of distinction but also a walking companion - a truly important element in Basque life.

The fabrication

Everything begins by the hunt for the rare medlar tree (Mespilus germanica) in the forests. Once found, wavy incisions are cut for decoration on the living branch. This is a springtime operation. The branch grows until the beginning of winter (thus expanding the design of the incision) when a return trip is made to the forest to cut the branch.

Once back at the workshop at Larressore, the bark is removed and the branches are straightened by the heat of a kiln. This is a delicate technique requiring particular knowledge and vast experience. The branches are now naturally dried for several years. The last stage in preparation is colouring the wood using a secret family technique, perfected many years ago.
The dressing and decoration of the makhila consists of preparing made-to-measure decorative fittings varying on the thickness of the baton. A harmonious line is sought after while respecting the weighted balance of the baton which is an aide for walking. The makhila is decorated with various metal bands including brass, german silver, silver and gold. They are cut, curved, braced and decorated, then adjusted to fit the medlar wood.
The handle is either all metal or garnished with woven leather straps and is finished with a horn or worked metal pommel. The handle can be unscrewed revealing the makhilas deadly secret ; a forged spike. Thus it was not only used for walking but also as a defensive weapon !

Personalization

Each makhila is unique with the personnal touches added by the inscription of the christian and family name as well as a motto chosen by the customer. On models crowned with an all metal pommel, initials or coats-of-arms are also engraved.