Three Walking Canes

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    Matt McGrane

    One of my longest running and best friends recently had a bad accident with head trauma. For now, his balance is not what it should be (among other things), but indications are that he will have a full recovery. This gave me the impetus finally to make some walking canes and I will present one to him when I visit soon. The others I think I will donate to a charity.

    These canes were made from:
    1. Oak with light mahogany handle, wedged with walnut.
    2. Walnut (dark) with walnut (dark) handle, wedged with maple.
    3. Sapwood (light) walnut with heartwood (dark) walnut handle, wedged with maple. This one had no spiral.

    The finish was: two coats shellac, second coat buffed after 24 hours with 0000 steel wool. Three coats of a tung/BLO/poly mix, buffing after 24 hours with 0000 steel wool for each coat. Finally a coat of paste wax.

    Another great and really satisfying project. My stock was 3/4″ thick because I didn’t have any 7/8″ material. Dave Riendeau posted a question in the cane project forum (Nov., 2013) about the use of 3/4″ stock. I think the handles are a bit thin with 3/4 and would probably be more comfortable with 7/8, or even 1 inch thick material. If I use thicker stock next time, I will taper the canes to keep them fairly light. Paul was right in his video series when he said that adding the spiral significantly reduced the overall weight.

    Comments and critiques are welcomed.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:


    Very nice walking canes! I like the contrasting wood used for the wedges.. This reminds me that I had planned on building a second cane for my dad.


    Beautiful canes! I hope your friend recovers quickly!

    Swindon, England

    Bryan Donovan

    Hi Matt, I know you made these canes a few years ago, but I’m curious about the tung/bwo/poly mix you used. Is this something you mixed yourself or something you bought? I’m trying to decide what kind of finish to use on an oak/walnut cane that would be used in a snowy environment.


    George Scales

    I attend a church of mostly elderly people ( I am one myself). The standard joke there is that you have to have a knee or hip replacement to be a full fledged member. I started making canes and now make about three a month and give them to the folks that have leg joint issues. They love them and it gives woodworking yet another purpose.

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