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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I'd start with something really simple for my first cane: Turning an ash broom stick into a cane. I'd like a T-shaped handle, but I haven't decided if I'll buy it or carve one out of found wood. Probably buy a handle and make one myself later. The cane need to support my weight.

I have very few tools, no shop, only place to store wood is inside and very little money. But still hoping to get a new hobby. I think I could make a decent stick with knives, hand saw and other hand tools. I do have a drill.

I think I'll need most advice on how to attach the handle to the shaft. I've seen different methods in use - insering shaft through handle or using a special kind of bolt. The first seems more intuitive to me, but which one do you prefer? If I buy a handle that I'll later replace with my own, I need to have thought this through first.

I'm looking forward to learning from you all!
 

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The good news is you do not need a lot of tools or a shop to make sticks. The tools you described is a good start. A good hand saw, and some wood files would be good. Something like a Black and Decker workmate folding work table is a good work bench and vise to hold your work.. I am sure there is something like that in your country. Here is a book that would be very helpful too.

Organism Font Water Adaptation Terrestrial plant
 

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Welcome aboard. A simple handle that I have used is a round doll head blank. Here in the states they can be found at the large hobby/craft stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! I bought this book some years ago: www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Own-Walking-Sticks/dp/1565233204

I like the look of derby handles, but I thinks it feels better in my hand with a more flat top than most of them have. I see there are some confusing name mixing going on in my google search. Unfortunately, I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and have no picture to share.
 

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If you can find a piece of wood with a branch coming out at a roughly 90 degree angle it'll make a very good handle.

Here are some pictures of one I did a while ago using just a saw, files, a drill, and epoxy glue. (I added a bit of deer antler to make it nicer, but you don't need it) The shank is a piece of yellow birch, but a broom stick would work the same way.
 

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You can use a round mortise and tenon joint to join the shank to the handle. It's basically the same joint that is used on an axe or hammer head.
It's very simple and strong.
 

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Rodney makes a good point, but I'd add that if you go with a through tenon and put a wedge into the end of the shank, be sure to go perpendicular to the grain of the handle. If you go in line with the handle grain, it could split when you drive in the wedge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you! That handle looks very much like the one I imagine :) And the mentioned method for assembly is exactly what I had in mind. (In addition to being new to the topic of woodworking, tha language also keeps me back a bit, but google helps.)
 

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Good point about the wedge. I was thinking just the plain version without the wedge.
Tarold you said you're new to wood working. If you do a through tenon, drill a small hole all the way through your handle first, then drill partway through with your full size bit and flip it over to finish the hole. That will help prevent tearing out the wood when the bit goes through.
Rodney
 

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Thanks for the tip!

So, this project has suddenly gone from theory to practice. I now have the ash broom stick (170cm x 2,4cm) and I rediscovered a wood piece I had forgotten that may be suitable as a handle.

I think it's probably maple. 14 cm long, but it had a couple of nasty knotholes in one end (the end where the shaft will sit), so I've worked a diagonal 1cm to get rid of them (they are still there, but not noticable). The diameter is ca 4cm, but it is kind of oval. It's a round piece of a branch.

I've seen that people with fancy machinery working with rectangular pices of wood attach the handle to the shaft before they shape it, but I don't think this would work here. But I should probably drill through it before I start shaping it too much? Or is it best to wait to avoid it being off center? I've let the shape of the handle piece guide me so far: Because it is nearly straight (just a slight curve, almost invisible), I'm going for a Fritz/T handle. I think the joint should be in the thickest part. But maybe it doesn't matter? Should/could the joint be angled front/back or is it important to make it straight?

I've sanded the shaft to get rid of the lacquer, but I think it looks a little bit too thick. I need to cut it now, but I'm pretty terrified of cutting it too short. I've read that it should be ca. 90cm, but I'm only 160cm high. If 85cm would be enough, the broom stick could result in two canes, not just one.

I really wish I had a cane to use as a model! My initial plan was to buy a finished handle, but my research show that I can get a whole cane for the same price, and there are very few models of unmounted handles available. Now that I found my old wood piece, I prefer to make it myself.

I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow.
 

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Depending on the size of the knothole, I probably would have drilled the mortise for the handle through the knot itself and thus taken advantage of the wood's strength. It would also depend on whether it is a dead knot (the tree has grown around a dead branch, like you see in pine boards) or if it was a live knot (the branch has continued to grow with the tree)

In the picture I posted above, the shank of the cane was mortised into the branch itself. (Where I am holding it in the second picture was the branch)

I found a diagram which might help show what I'm saying. If the piece of wood you have has a live knot (the area circled in red) and you want the handle to be the bit drawn badly in blue, I'd drill out the knot and put the shank in there (in black)
 

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It was two dead knots, positioned almost opposit each other, quite clos to the end of the piece. You can still see the remains in these pictures:

img_20180315_122859s.jpg


img_20180315_122833s.jpg


The x is roughly where I would put the hole for the shaft.

img_20180315_123131s1.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I have now picked up the courage to cut the shaft, and think I got it right. I've also started to make it thinner.

Still not sure about the joining point on the handle.

And thinking about the finishing. I like to make the maple darker and add some red to the ash shaft. It should be something that is easy to apply and not gives off poisonous fumes (I have sensitive critters at home and may have to do this indoors). Since the cane will be used a lot outdoors, it should withstand some weather and humidity.
 

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Your X looks like as good a spot as any.

As for finishing, I like polyurethane, but I've been doing some Danish oil finish lately too. Both come in varieties with tinting added so you can choose what looks best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you for answering! When should I drill the hole in the handle, and should I attach it right away?
 

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For that style get your shaping and sanding done first. Do your staining too if the shank and handle are to be different colors.
The more you can do as two separate pieces, the easier it will be. If you're putting a clear coat over the stains, do that after it's together.
There are water based finishes available. I don't use them so I don't have direct experience with them. I prefer more traditional oil based finishes, but the water based ones might be good for your situation.
It's looking good so far.
Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The project is progressing. I have thinned the shaft as much as I care to, and sanded it. I'm afraid to make the handle too thin, both for aesthetic reasons, and for the tenon to go through. It isn't sanded yet, since I'm not sure it is finished. I can't afford to buy the finishing until wednesday, so to keep up the progress, I'll settle for the same finish on both parts. After all, this is my first cane, learning by doing.

That means it's soon ready for assembly. But how do I make the hole go where I want? And should it be 90 degrees or some angle (seen from the side)?

img_20180317_190827.jpg


Should the tenon be smaller? The diameter is 1,5cm

img_20180317_190737.jpg


img_20180317_190728.jpg


Even if I do go for a straight angle, it won't be easy to make it straight. I should probably buy some clamps, but I can't wrap my mind around what types I need. And I also need some wood glue. I have super glue, but that will dry to fast for adustments. On the other hand, without clamps, the glue have to dry fast...
 

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The angle and placement you show in your first picture is where I'd put it. Drilling the mortise for the tenon will be tricky, though, because the handle is round.

If you don't have a vise of some sort to hold it, you can make a sort of cradle with a few bits of scrap wood.Take a board and nail or screw two smaller pieces of wood to it which are spaced at the width of the handle. This will keep it from moving from side to side. Slide a wedge under one end of the handle when it is between the boards so you get the spot where you want to drill at the proper angle. You can run a pencil line down the side of the handle and from top to bottom to use with a level and square to make sure it is in the proper position for drilling. Thin wedges tapped in from the front and back of the cradle will hold it in place if you don't think you can hold it steadily enough by hand. For a neater look, I'd drill or carve out the finished hole so that the shank goes into the handle a bit. Maybe 2-3 mm. This will hide the shoulder of the tenon.

For glue, I use a 2 part epoxy. I have couple of long bar clamps for holding the stick while the glue sets. If you don't have one, wrap a piece of heavy string from the handle to the bottom of the cane a few times and tie it off tight. Then put a stick between the strings on both sides and twist them to tighten the strings.
 

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Dana said pretty much what I was going to say. The top picture looks good for angle and location. You want the dip in the top of the cane to be directly above the shank. The angle isn't as critical as the location to me. The top and second pictures both look good for the angle, it can vary a little and still be comfortable.
The third picture has the of the handle pointing too far down though. It wouldn't be as comfortable.
When you have a handle of that style your hand will settle into the dip and your finger will point down the shank. It's a very comfortable and natural grip.

Your on your way to a very nice cane.
Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Back from a visit to my local hardware shop. Not much to choose from, so I ended up with Liberon bistrot varnish in the colour mahogany. It's a polyurethane. Have done a test and the maple won't take much, while the ash seems to like it. I'm still indecisive if I like it. It's not as red as I would have liked for the ash (the cold grey wood would need a lot of red to get warm). The salesman tried to sell me some clear varnish as well, but the price of this one was sufficiently overwhelming. I'll order some online, where there are more options.

The maple is very different from the ash - almost fatty. The dust from sanding behave different too - maple falling to the ground, while the ash require a dust mask. Is there a trick for forcing the varnish into the maple? Could acetone help (before applying the varnish)? Or is there another kind of coating that will be better?

I'm very happy with your advice! The mortise is drilled and I'm working to expand it. Will need better tools if I make more canes (larger drill bits).

I also bought an epoxy. I would have gone for a wood glue, but the salesman didn't believe that would be sufficient. The good thing is that the epoxy can be mixed with something flashy (like mother of pearl) if I accidentally make the mortise too big. Like an inlay. Is this right? I'm a little fascinated by inlays and like the idea of a "gem" hidden under my palm.
 
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