Friday, August 9, 2019

Raising Cane

I met up with an old friend recently and he was walking with a cane due to some knee issues.  The cane was a drug store cane - you know, the cheap aluminum cane with curved hook-style handle.  I couldn't let that stand.

A few years ago I made three canes based on a Paul Sellers plan.  They came out great and I gave them all away, so I thought I'd make another.
Started with two pieces of cherry
The handle and shaft blanks were about 7/8" thick and the shaft was plenty long to make a cane for Jay, who is 5'10" or 5'11" tall.  I started by squaring up the two pieces and marking out the shape of the handle on the smaller piece.
Handle marked out
I first mortised the handle to accept the shaft's tenon, then got to shaping the handle.
Testing the fit of the tenon in the mortise
I rounded over all edges of the handle and made sure it was comfortable before gluing it up.  I used two walnut wedges to tighten the tenon in the mortise.
The final shape of the handle and the handle/shaft junction
There's a neat trick that Sellers showed to "resolve" the junction between the shaft and the handle.  If you enlarge the above picture, you'll see how it works.  That little detail makes a big difference in the overall appearance.

The above picture was taken after applying one of two coats of polyurethane.  I forgot to get a picture during the building process, but I added a decorative spiral to the shaft.  That was done by laying out the pattern with a string wrapped around the shaft, marking a line next to the string, then removing material between the lines with rasps, files, scrapers and sandpaper.
Looking down the shaft to see the spiral
I was so anxious to get the cane to Jay that I didn't get an overall picture of it.  But he really appreciated it.  I just hope he doesn't have to use it for long.


  1. Nice thoughtful gift for a friend in need, bravo!
    I like your idea of a string to carve the spiral, that's basically how they used to carved large screw thread.


    1. Sorry for the non-response, Bob - just back from a long weekend away. The string works great for a cane, but I'm surprised it can be as accurate as needed for guiding the cutting of wooden screw threads. Maybe those very large screws didn't need to be as precise as the smaller ones ...

  2. Good job and I agree with Bob a very nice and thoughtful gift. As one who has on occasion used a drugstore cane, Gout doncha know, I know how miserable they can be.

    Good on you,


    1. Thanks, Ken. And here's hoping you don't have to use yours in the future.

  3. Very nicely done, the rip of using a string for the spiral is very clever.

    1. Thanks, Lionel. It's so funny how, with just a little imagination, these great tricks come about.