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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a while but last time I mentioned it I had a couple members ask how I make the tips on my sticks. I'm putting together a few canes so I finally had the chance to show how I do it.

I'm currently using copper pipe due to I have some here. When I run out I'll most likely switch to brass.

The raw materials.


A piece of 1" copper pipe 1 1/2" long, a rubber stopper to fit and a #10 stainless steel sheet metal screw.

This tip is for a hiking staff, I usually use 3/4 pipe on canes.

Drilling the stopper.



Yes, it's a pink lathe. I rebuilt it for my daughter when she was around 6 yrs old. Her color choices were heavily influenced by Barbie and the Disney princesses at the time.

I put together a wooden fixture to hold the stoppers to get the holes reasonably centered in them. If you're only doing a couple you can just eyeball them and drill with a handheld drill.

Counterboring with a Forstner bit for the screw head.


Turning the stopper down to fit in the pipe.



The tool should have been sharpened first. A pretty ratty looking cut but it won't show in the finished product. I've heard freezing rubber will help to get cleaner cuts when machining it too.

Checking the fit.


Beginning to sand and polish the copper.


First step is to sand through the grits to around 600 grit.

Then I switch to buffing compounds. In this case I used the coarse black then the white.

The finished tip test fitted on the staff.


I wasn't entirely satisfied so I went back and buffed it out again after this picture was taken. The stick still needs one or two coats of oil and a final buff before I can put it together for real. The copper will be secured to the wood with epoxy. The rubber just gets the screw up thru the middle so it can be changed if needed.

I like the rubber to be a little larger diameter at the bottom. I think it helps with stability and it's still not as clunky looking as a crutch tip.

I figure each tip costs under $4.00 to make not counting time. I've done a few and with my jigs, it takes maybe 30 minutes or less per tip to make them.

I've been using my canes for several months, nearly a year now. The copper tarnishes to a dull shine and the rubber stoppers seem to be holding up well.

I hope this helps,


· Registered
3,146 Posts
nice work well done.

you don't think that copper is to soft for a ferule?

I like my rubber ferules slightly smaller so I use hot water to make them supple and more flexible push them on so when there cold it has a good grip

only your daughter could convince you to paint the lathe pink , just thinking about the look in her eyes when talking to you but like most of us talking to our grandchildren now we still would do it. just all big softies

· Registered
1,843 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fortunately she's outgrown the pink phase. Now she thinks the original blue might be nice. The lathe is a very basic beginner's lathe from the early 40s that I rebuilt for her.

I think a drill press could be used instead of a lathe with the right jigs. Cutting the rubber down to fit the pipe could be accomplished with a small hole saw. I have a lathe available so I use it.

So far the copper hasn't had any problems on the canes I use every day. I'm not gentle with them either. But that's only been for a little less than a year of use. Time will tell. I don't think there's really a lot of forces or impact to the copper. It basically does two things. It keeps the end of the stick from splitting and it takes up any side loads to the rubber. Under normal use there's not a lot of loading on it.

I'm almost out of copper. I'll switch to brass after. Brass looks better to me.

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