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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been interested in trying my hand at making my own cane. I have looked for my answers and have not found them. Maybe using wrong wording on my part. If so, I apologize, and please point me in the right direction.

I have 2 criteria for my cane. 1) Wood that is strong enough to be used as a tactical cane. 2) It has to have the traditional crook.

With that, and living in the Ozarks, what wood do you recommend? Even more importantly, what/where do I look? Live branches? Dead fall already on the ground? I see many of you use roots. So do I dig up roots or watch for exposed roots? Any other hunting suggestions? Is there a hunting thread I have missed, maybe, with all the tips and tricks?

I've seen and read up on how to bend the crook using steam within pvc pipes, and understand why and how. Since, at this time, this is a one time venture, any other ways? Is it possible to "boil" the end of the wood in a pot of water, or does that create a different effect, or work at all? If this venture turns out half way decent and I look to do more, by all means I'll make a steamer.

Any other suggestions? I'm not after perfection or beauty, as in slick, stained and shiney. I was using my Grandfathers cane he bought at WalMart decades ago. He left it here for me about 12 yrs ago. I only used it when I could not take my CCW. Last year on an excursion in Cozumel, I forgot it on the bus. It may have been a $5 cane when he got it, but it was his. As we are looking at another cruise, I would like to have something unique, something my Grandfather would probably have made as he did woodworking, but if I forget it somewhere, it's no big deal.

Thank you all and I will continue to search here.
 

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Well, for root canes my method is to find a likely looking sapling and probe around it with my folding saw to get a feel for what the roots are like. When I have located the main roots I cut them several inches from the base of the tree to give me the length I'd need for making a good handle. Plus, extra length means that if they check during seasoning, I can cut off the splits. Coating them in something like paint or wax will help keep them from splitting. I usually avoid deadfalls, but some have decent luck with them. I've done a few with standing dead trees, though.

I've only tried bending wood once (not successfully) but I've seen it done with heat guns and large pots of boiling water as well as the box steamers. Saw one video which used damp sand with a fire underneath it. Sort of like a brick BBQ with the metal container of sand sitting where you'd put your steaks or whatever. The one with the pot of water didn't actually boil the stick but it was held over the pot with a towel draped over it to keep in the heat.

As for the type of wood, nearly any type will bend. I'd probably try oak. It bends well and is strong. Maybe chestnut. Make sure it's seasoned first, though.
 

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Do you have hickory there? I'd recommend it if possible. Hornbeam is another really tough wood. We don't have either that I'm aware of here on the west coast so I'm not sure what their ranges are. Oak does bend well. I'm not sure about the others.

I haven't tried bending a full crook. I know it can be done but count on a couple failures learning. Your sticks need to be seasoned at least a year to be safe. If you try bending them green they'll revert back over time. Also make the crook a little tighter than you want your finished result to be. It will spring back a little even if it is fully cured.

If you go for a root stick or branch look for a bend in the range of 90 to 99 degrees for it to be comfortable.

Dana (dww2) makes a lot of nice root sticks. He was just working on a nice natural crook not too long ago. I don't know if he was planning on selling it or not. That might be another option if you want one now.
 

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Thanks Rodney! I am a bit crook-poor at the moment, as it happens. The yellow birch one is done (although that one I think has a bit of a fritz element to it) and about 2 weeks ago a guy from New Hampshire bought 2 from my Etsy (the cherry burl handle one and the one with the carved ram's head). The only other one is still in pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you gentlemen for your advice. Two-piece are not recommended for tactical as it creates a weak spot. We do have hickory, but I have not heard of hornbeam. It is possible too that what your calling hornbeam we may call it something else. I'll have to look that one up.

I like the ideas of using wet sand or over a boiling pan covered by the towel to make the crook.

Dww2, would you care to be more specific concerning the root walking stick? I'm understanding you use the sapling itself for the canes main body and the root makes the handle? Or is that backwards?

Out of curiosity, we have a tree that I have found on occasion when cutting wood. It will dull a chainsaw like a rock. The shavings the saw kicks out, and the faces of the cut wood is as bright a yellow as a hi-liter pen. Any idea what that may be? I've thought of using some of that for a project.

Thank you for ya'lls help.
 

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Hard and yellow sounds like osage orange to me.Also known as Bois de Arc, bodark or hedge apple. That would be a good choice it's also used for bows. I'm not sure how it bends. Ash would be another good choice.
 

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That's correct. The first pair of pics, for example, is one I just finished recently. Before and after pictures.

Sometimes, though, I find a nice root but the shank isn't suitable or it's an exposed root off a big tree. I would take the root and put it on a different shank. The second pair of pics is a nice exposed ash root I found and put on a cherry shank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the possible I.D on the one tree Rodney. Next time I get out there I'll look around and see whats there.

Dww2, those are pretty cool looking. Makes me want to go looking right now, but it's 9pm!
 

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Thanks, Rob. Like I was telling Rodney one time, the only good thing about the hard clay we have below the thin layer of topsoil here is that it makes some great root handles. And when the topsoil washes away in places during the spring melt, it can leave some really nice exposed roots.

Dana
 
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