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Walking Canes (Read 272 times)
 
John Grace
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Everyone needs a good
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Bel Air, Maryland, USA
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Walking Canes
Mar 19th, 2021 at 10:13am
 
I've had an interest in trying my hand at turning and bending a walking cane for a while and have found a used bed extension for my lathe.  If anyone has had any experience in turning and cane bending, do you have any best practices you can share with respects to wood types, diameters, wood lengths from which to start?  I figure a 'spindle steady' is in the future and hoped others may have some thoughts they can share.  thanks...John
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Ed Weber
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Wilton, California, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #1 - Mar 19th, 2021 at 10:42am
 
Before you start turning,  make sure your billet is riven
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Ed Weber
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Wilton, California, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #2 - Mar 19th, 2021 at 11:04am
 
These sites may give you some insight into your questions
Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register

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robo_hippy
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #3 - Mar 19th, 2021 at 11:37am
 
John, if you don't know, riven means split. You want the straightest wood grain possible. If you start with a cross grain piece, it will break. I made a couple. I had a knee replaces a while back and needed one for rehab. I had some lovely straight grained Pacific Yew. I made a T type handle, a bit longer on one side and shorter on the other side, and made it fit at a slight angle for hand comfort. Worked pretty well. Made a few others for some friends who also got joint replacements... There are a number of options for tips, from crutch rubber type to all sorts of mountain climbing specialty tips, and I think some are combination type tips.

robo hippy
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John Grace
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Bel Air, Maryland, USA
Bel Air
Maryland
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #4 - Mar 19th, 2021 at 11:55am
 
Thank you for the links Ed...if I understand the concept correctly, 'riven' wood is where the grain runs parallel to the length of the shaft from end to end.  Is that correct?
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Buck Nemitt
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Toronto,Ohio, Ohio, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #5 - Mar 19th, 2021 at 12:14pm
 
I’ve been intrigued to make a Cane and thought  an end with 3 small legs would be quite sturdy but one that could be replaced with a classic tip when needed and visa versa.
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What the heck,Give it a try---
 
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Louie Powell
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Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
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PSI 12" Turncrafter Commander
Re: Walking Canes
Reply #6 - Mar 20th, 2021 at 7:02am
 
I've made several myself, and I watched Richard Findley make one in a demonstration at Totally Turning a few years ago.

Canes look best if the shaft tapers slightly.  I settled on a design that is 1 1/8" at the top, and tapers to 7/8" at the bottom.  The length of the shaft depends on the height of the user; the usual 'rule of thumb' is that the length of a cane should be equal the the distance from the users wrist to the floor when the arm is allowed to fall loosely to the side.  It's ok to be a bit longer than ideal, but its uncomfortable to use a cane that is too short.

My lathe has an 18" bed, so allowing for fixings, the longest shaft section I can turn is 12-13".  So I made mine in sections that I joined together.  Most of the joints are mortise/tenon - I made 5/8x3" oak dowels which resulted in fairly long and quite strong glue joints.  While it is possible to simply glue sections together, I found that it looked better to celebrate the joints by inserting very short sections of contrasting wood - I turned a fillet on one of the shaft sections at each joint, and then glued a thin slice of contrasting timber onto the fillet before finish turning that section of the shaft to its final diameter.

Getting the sections to have matching diameters at the joints requires careful measurement.  However, I found that I could dry-fit and mount adjacent sections in pairs between centers on my lathe to finish sand the joints and eliminate the mismatch.

This design resulted in four shaft sections to achieve the desired final length.  In a few instances, I made the middle joint a screw joint so that the cane could be collapsed for travel.  I glued a threaded insert in the lower shaft, and a length of all-thread in the upper shaft. 

I cheaped out and used black rubber feet (from Ace Hardware) on my lathes.  It is possible to purchase metal feet, and I suppose that one could also adapt plumbing fittings.

Some of my canes had T-shaped handles, and some had bulb-shaped handles.  Richard Findley observed that T-shaped handles are mainly used by those who use canes as walking aids, while bulb-shaped handles (like oversized wine stoppers) are used by those to view canes as fashion statements.  My T-handles are also turnings, but done on two axes so that the cross section is more oval than round.  For strength, I turned the end of the shaft down from its nominal 1 1/8" top diameter to around 7/8", and then glued it into a 7/8" hole in the handle.  For strength, I drilled a hole longitudinally through the handle (and therefore through the top of the shaft), and inserted a fiberglass rod that pinned the handle to the shaft.  A wooden plug concealed the hole in the handle.  It's also possible to purchase handles in a variety of shapes.

As Ed noted, Treeline.com specializes in components for canes - handles, tips, threaded couplers, etc.  Lee Valley also has some components in their catalog.
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« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2021 at 7:04am by Louie Powell »  

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Ralph Fahringer
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Ellsworth, Maine, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #7 - Mar 20th, 2021 at 12:36pm
 
Most of the canes I bought over the years were used for my hiking trips and also had a cap screwed onto the top so when removed, it left a 1/4 - 20 threaded post to attach my camera body....thus making it a monopod.

You could do that as well as at the bottom to offer multi style feet for it. Smiley
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Ed Weber
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Wilton, California, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #8 - Mar 20th, 2021 at 4:10pm
 
Ralph Fahringer wrote on Mar 20th, 2021 at 12:36pm:
You could do that as well as at the bottom to offer multi style feet for it.


Hiking or trekking sticks/staffs often have those types of interchangeable tips. Take off the outside pavement rubber to reveal a pointed tip more suited for soft soil or ice, where the tip needs to penetrate to be stable.
In that same vein, many have handles that can convert to reveal a standard camera mount, among other things.
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Hondo Walker
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Harbor Freight mini lathe
Re: Walking Canes
Reply #9 - Mar 31st, 2021 at 6:17am
 
Growing up I knew this old man named Johnny McBride. He made canes. He used saplings he cut and knots and paint and made the prettiest canes. He made several hundred.  They weren't very useful but they were pretty.
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Buck Nemitt
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Toronto,Ohio, Ohio, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #10 - Mar 31st, 2021 at 4:33pm
 
Some pieces like Hondo mentions currently  in my shed, another item to do.
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What the heck,Give it a try---
 
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Buck Nemitt
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Toronto,Ohio, Ohio, USA
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Re: Walking Canes
Reply #11 - Apr 6th, 2021 at 4:27pm
 
Walking through Wal-Mart today with the misses I saw this base for a Cane. Just what I thought would be useful and practical.
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What the heck,Give it a try---
 
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Louie Powell
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Saratoga Springs, New York, USA
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PSI 12" Turncrafter Commander
Re: Walking Canes
Reply #12 - Apr 7th, 2021 at 6:33am
 
John Grace wrote on Mar 19th, 2021 at 11:55am:
Thank you for the links Ed...if I understand the concept correctly, 'riven' wood is where the grain runs parallel to the length of the shaft from end to end.  Is that correct?


Exactly.

Riving is a process whereby a knife-like tool called a froe is used to cut the timber.  The wood isn't cut so much as it is split - the froe starts the cut, but then the wood separates along grain lines so that the cut edge is parallel to the grain. 

Here's a YouTube on the subject:  Multimedia File Viewing and Clickable Links are available for Registered Members only!!  You need to Login or Register
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« Last Edit: Apr 7th, 2021 at 6:34am by Louie Powell »  

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