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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently since I use an android phone, I can't post pictures here, but that's okay. My humble attempt is a little embarassing compared to the ones shown on this site. But I did manage to fashion a cane that I like, using information I learned by coming here.

A while back, a stick fell out of a tree and hit my 9 year old son. Since I didn't see it happen, I don't know what kind of tree it was, but my guess is oak, since where we were is full of oak trees. Anyway, he knew I wanted to make a walking staff so he brought it to me. The wood was completely dead, probably had probably been hanging up there for a long, long time. Where it had broken off from the trunk, there was still a good amount of wood left on it that kind of looked like a bird's head, if you used your imagination.

I decided I liked the bird head, so I ended up cutting the stick to the size of a cane, using the bird head for a handle. The wood has numerous purple stains from wild grapes, and black mold (I guess) stains all up and down one side of the shaft. It has a nice crook in it, that kind of makes it like one of those ergonomic canes.

Anyway, I ended up sanding on it for a couple of hours, finally with 220, and carving some designs and my family's names in it. I shaped the bird head's beak to fit my hand pretty nicely, and have applied 4 coats of tung oil so far. Oh, and I found a rubber tip in my shop that I robbed from a floor scraper. It just happened to fit perfectly.

The $1 is for the tung oil I bought at my local Habitat for Humanity's 'Restore'. I've ended up with what I think is a pretty nice cane. The carvings are not pretty, and some people probably wouldn't like the stains in the wood, but I do. The bird head handle fits my hand pretty well, and the thing is really comfortable to use.

I just thought I would share with you all, and let you know how much I appreciate all the knowledge contained on this site. See, I view my cane as a success, and now my mind is working about making more sticks.
 
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Sometimes nature's imperfections provide the best artwork. The carvings will prove meaningful to your family and perhaps one day your son will sport that heirloom and cherish the memories it brings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Plus, in the meanwhile I can continue working on it. After I wrote the first posting, later on that day I found an old St. Christopher's medal in one of my tool boxes (I sometimes toy with repairing jewelry). Looking at the image of St. Christopher holding his walking staff with one hand, and the baby Jesus in the other, I decided it was appropriate to inlay the medal into my cane.

Long story short, my inlay job wasn't so great, and I had left a couple of dents in the wood. The only way to fix them was to sand them out, and I ended up sanding the entire stick again. This time I removed all the mold stains. I guess I could have sanded more the first time.

I re-oiled the whole thing last night, and today I'm still finding indications of black. I might just re-sand the whole thing again today, because I have lots of free time today, and a new box of sandpaper.
 

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I like this:

"A while back, a stick fell out of a tree and hit my 9 year old son. ... Anyway, he knew I wanted to make a walking staff so he brought it to me."

An auspicious start. Instant history, just waiting to be made a keepsake. You may make many sticks that end up finer, but none that will enjoy such precedence.

Hope you can find a way to post pics.

I have bought a fair number of good hand tools, but I spend a lot of time sanding, and sanding, and sanding again. Found some diamond needle rasps at a local art supply for about $6. They work way better on detail than rolled up and/or folded paper. Work well digging into and smoothing out carving tear-outs.
 
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