Custom Tall Cane #143: Fancy Briar Burl, Makassar & Gabon Ebony

  • Advertise with us
Project by mmh posted 07-24-2013 02:52 AM 3587 views 10 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an elegant but very sturdy cane for a client who wanted a cane that he could enjoy for many years. He is a collector of pipes and expressed interest in Briar Burl and Makassar Ebony as two of his favorite woods. I was fortunate to find the briar burl and had a top quality piece of Makassar that was ready to use, as I had purchased the shaft stock green several years ago, and just recently I have come to realize that a tightly patterned piece such as this would be a challenge to find, especially dry and ready to use.

Many who turn wood like to use green wood, as it’s not as dense and hard as cured wood, thus easier on the cutting tools, but my work has to be ready to use and turning such a length of wood in it’s green state would cause a problem with uncontrolled warping and shrinkage during the drying period, so my stock must be dry when I work with it.

The handle is made from solid Briar Burl that is shaped to fit either hand, so there are subtle curves to allow one’s fingers to fit comfortably around and under the handle that make this an asymmetrical piece. There is a slight taper on each end of the handle to give a bit more geometric design to an otherwise organic shape.

The collar is a nice solid black Gabon Ebony that helps the transition of colors of the variegated Makassar Ebony. The pattern of the Makassar Ebony is so stately and prominent that it made it difficult to match with an equally stunning, yet different type of wood that could hold it’s own for a completed piece that would be elegant and unique. With the assistance of the client’s interests and the blessings of the Wood Gods, I am very happy with the end result and hope my client will enjoy his cane for many years to come.

One note on using Briar Burl, as with any wood, is that there is always the chance of a void showing in your work, especially in the most inopportune location. For the most part this was a solid piece of stock to work with but when I came down to the final millimeters of shaping, a long thin void emerged and would not disappear as hoped. I used very fine dust from sanding with a 400 grit paper to fill the void and stabilize it with CA glue. This technique will hopefully give enough body of wood dust into the void and allow it to oxidize along with the rest of the handle, as my client mentioned that the use of wood filler in pipes creates a pale spot and devalues the pipe drastically.

The last photo shows the Briar Burl rough stock and a Ziricote Burl handle that I made in attempt to match the Makassar Ebony with an equally stunning wood. The Briar Burl stock was originally cut for making pipes so I had to reshape it for my needs.

This simple piece gave me many problems to resolve, but the journey and end result was well worth the labor and time.

Comments and inquires welcome. Please visit Big Stick Canes for more of my work or Canes for Sale

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

14 comments so far

View lew's profile


12908 posts in 4322 days

#1 posted 07-24-2013 03:14 AM

WOW, Meilie! This is gorgeous!!

The tapered collar makes a beautiful transition from the handle to the shaft.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

339 posts in 3646 days

#2 posted 07-24-2013 07:10 AM

Beautiful choice of woods. One of your best canes yet. I love the ergonomics of the handle.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines, Instagram benji reyes

View Ken90712's profile


17798 posts in 3756 days

#3 posted 07-24-2013 08:30 AM

Wow is right, A real beauty! The finish work in this is Amazing!!!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Vince's profile


1221 posts in 3996 days

#4 posted 07-24-2013 09:55 AM

Very nice work, it has a smooth transition and a sleek look. I really like it.

-- Vince

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3583 days

#5 posted 07-24-2013 10:01 AM

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen one of your canes. this one is a beauty.

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2800 posts in 4159 days

#6 posted 07-24-2013 12:16 PM

Hi Meilie,

Yes, this cane is very elegant!!! Clean and Crisp with a beautiful wood selection!

-- Dennis Zongker

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3480 days

#7 posted 07-24-2013 12:37 PM

That is a Beaut! Very Nice Work!
Elegant and Beautiful!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View mpounders's profile


941 posts in 3462 days

#8 posted 07-24-2013 01:50 PM

Gorgeous! Simple and spectacular at the same time. I wish I could make joints so nice!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4653 days

#9 posted 07-24-2013 04:22 PM

Ah, Mellie, that is spectacular. Your canes are wonderful!


View balidoug's profile


497 posts in 3046 days

#10 posted 07-24-2013 11:47 PM


-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Spoontaneous's profile


1337 posts in 3897 days

#11 posted 07-25-2013 12:13 AM

THAT is one beautiful ‘stick’. Very nicely done.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Roger's profile


21021 posts in 3371 days

#12 posted 07-25-2013 12:31 AM

That is powerfully beautiful!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2859 days

#13 posted 07-25-2013 12:41 AM

Beautiful work!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Druid's profile


2152 posts in 3362 days

#14 posted 08-05-2013 07:12 AM

Beautifully done. Looks like a nice comfortable grip.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics