Purple Walkin Stick for Gimpy (that's me)

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Project by Randall Sly posted 06-01-2013 01:10 AM 1190 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the longest thing I’ve ever turned and he gave me enough purple heart and accessories to turn a 1/2 dozen. I’ve also never turned a bottle stopper and in Don’s words “your going to now!” he gave me four kits. He wants to see my work and I hope I can make him proud. Who is he? Who is Don?

So it all started a few weeks ago, on Craigslist of all places. I saw an add for a work bench with grinder and bench vice. Turns out an older local man who had been making canes for some time to occupy his time was giving up the craft. He had already made arrangements for most of his power tools and I sent a kindly message letting him know I admire the cane making craft and all the reasons people make them. I went on to let him know that he did not have to give up the hobby entirely, and that if he wanted an active woodworker to talk to or share his tips with I was available.

A week later I get a message that he would like to meet and that he had some things he would like to give to me.

We played phone/email tag for a few days and another week passed and we finally met, I was looking for something of a mentor or teacher I believe I found much more.

The Photos:
1: My Finished project, Purple heart cane with imported fritz style hand carved antler handle
2: Finished project (and yes I wear this hat often)
3: Roughed blank 1” tapered to 5/8”
4: Final glue up still 1” to roughly 1/2” (I love the ratchet strap)
5&6: Just a few of the gifts from my new friend with a love for Purple Heart.

There is a sense of community among us, we wood workers, and sometimes all it takes is a little reminder to say thank you! This man served our country and out of the goodness of his heart gifted me what you see above for respecting and appreciating that.

-- I could retire nicely if I could sell my experience for what it cost me.

4 comments so far

View Randall Sly's profile

Randall Sly

48 posts in 2764 days

#1 posted 06-01-2013 01:30 AM

I was going to mention, that originally I had intended to do some spiral work on this piece. Unfortunately once again the benefits of the over $200 sorby spiraling tool has eluded me, even with a steady rest, spiral work on a piece over 30” at 3/4” thickness is just not in my skill set. :(

-- I could retire nicely if I could sell my experience for what it cost me.

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4949 days

#2 posted 06-01-2013 02:35 AM

Randall that is a great story and end result for you. I’m sure that the new friend will enjoy talking with you from time to time. Good going and nice cane, I use one myself and can appreciate the craftsmanship involved. Do you have any idea where he bought the “handles” and finials? I’d love to find a nice source for them.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Randall Sly's profile

Randall Sly

48 posts in 2764 days

#3 posted 06-01-2013 10:12 AM

Bill – I spoke with him a little about his sources, and aside from us both being disappointed in all of our local stores disappearing, he just said he picked things up on line. Hopefully in future correspondence I can get some details. I enjoyed this project a lot and I can see several canes in my future and already know the first few recipients.

-- I could retire nicely if I could sell my experience for what it cost me.

View Doe's profile


1437 posts in 3714 days

#4 posted 06-01-2013 11:30 PM

What a wonderful story! You sure are right about our sense of community—we’re always there to support and encourage each other. I wish you both have a long and enjoyable relationship. Please send regards to Don from Canada for me. Thank you for sharing.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

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