Thanks buddy. I have the Dembark 16 lpi set. I think this is the most course set. It's not so much that it's difficult, more like very tedious. I made 3 practice designs on flat wood that went very well. But this didn't prepare me for doing it on this round shaft. It took me about 40 hours to do the checking alone on this cane. Frazzled my nerves too. I also attempted checkering a scrap handle but gave up... too difficult. The hardest part is staying inside your design. My future attempts at checkering will be way less ambitious.
I spent some time yesterday watching some youtube vids of checkering. Slow, yes. That I can manage. Exacting, very. That I might not be able to do.
Thanks for confirming my suspicion about the difficulty of working on curved surfaces. I had intended to only do some small patches on fairly flat areas, just something to give a shaft a bit more "catch." Your advise will help me to keep my imagination running away w. my design.