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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
 

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Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
Thanks for doing this. Is there a rule of thumb on how long to let a stick dry?
 

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Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
how wonderful!! this is great.

I can see that the designing is the hardest part - especially when dealing with a client who already has a "vision" of the end result.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
I was always told to allow a year for each inch of thickness and I coat the ends with latex paint and leave the bark on. But…..... I don't always wait a year and some woods carve better (easier) when they are green. I did a hickory cane that would have made me give up carving if I had waited until it was completely dry. I usually try and let my sticks dry at least 3 months and if they still seem pretty damp, I brush on a product called Pentacryl to prevent checking. I also wrap the carving in a plastic bag in between carving. You have to watch doing that, as mold can develop. I removed the bark on a large piece of crape myrtle and it literally split down the middle in a matter of days! Small checks can be filled with CA glue and sawdust or you can even use mixtures of stone and epoxy for some beautiful effects.

I enjoy the challenge of creating something that satisfies me artistically AND pleases the customer! It adds that little extra degree of difficulty that keeps things interesting! But it requires some patience, some persistence, and extra efforts in communication and listening!

I have a large quantity of sticks and although I can usually tell when they are ready to carve, it doesn't hurt to use a marker to write the date down on the end you just painted.
 

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Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I have long wanted to try making a cane, but never knew where to even start or find a proper stick. I will follow your blog closely in hopes to learh how this process works.
 

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Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
This will certainly be interesting to watch and learn from.
Looking forward to it.
I might need one myself in a few years , maybe I should make one in anticipation!! :)
 

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Choosing the Wood

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It's not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work.

So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used for many reasons, it is important to consider the person who will be using it and how they will use it. For an active hiker, a staff would be more appropriate, perhaps with a wrapped handle or hidden items that could be used in an emergency? Or dual ski-style trekking poles! A person that just needs a little extra support to steady them or for walking around town could use a much thinner, a more slender cane. These canes are very light and easy to carry, but they usually have a little flex when I bear down on them and would not be appropriate for a larger person who needs a cane as a medical necessity. If the intended customer is larger and needs the cane for assistance in getting up and really will be using it for a lot of support, then I need to make sure the cane is very sturdy and strong.

I usually size the shafts to range from 1"-1 1/2" in diameter at the top and then taper to 1/2" to 1" in diameter at the bottom. I have used 36" dowels, spindles that I have turned myself, stair spindles, bamboo, and a variety of salvaged and harvested trees and limbs. The choice depends on the effect I am trying to achieve or what the customer is wanting. I do some canes with the bark on. The bark can be very interesting with a lot of subtle colors and textures, but you should select sticks with thin bark that seems tightly attached and it is recommended that you harvest them in the winter when the sap is down. You do run a risk of the bark coming off, especially if sent to an entirely different climate. It also limits you in the types of carving that you can do and where you can do them. Usually, with a bark-on shaft, I will limit my carving to the handle area.

Wood Tool Plant Thumb Terrestrial plant


I love the bark and the shapes of Bradford Pear and thought it might work for what this customer wanted. But I decided to use a small cut-off to create a sample of the type of carving I would have to do to keep the bark and put a finish on it, so the custome could see exactly what I had in mind. It was not what she had wanted at all!

Wood Yellow Wood stain Gas Plank


So I sent a picture of a piece of Crape Myrtle with the bark off. This is a readily available wood for me and the little limbs and bumps add a lot of interest to a cane, whether elaborately carved or not. This was more what she had in mind and it would allow me to do the full-length carvings on it, without the concerns of the bark being loosened. Next up, I'll talk about handles.
I am looking forward to your next post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Handle Designs

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person's wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the measurement to ensure I can cut some off if necessary. I have made canes that range from 32"-40" and that is a pretty common range if you are not making it specifically for a person.

White Wood Font Wood stain Hardwood


Here are the patterns I like to use. I just drew these out using some French Curves and trying to come up with some designs I liked, although they are similar to some standards seen for canes. My thought was to have the handle to have a shape similar to a tree limb, but it also serves other purposes. You can place your hand on it in different positions, so it has some built-in flexibility in the height. It works well and is comfortable no matter which way the handle is pointed. The handle is long enough that both hands can be placed on top to assist in rising from a seated position. Here are some examples of other shapes also

Wood Musical instrument Drawer Metal Hardwood


The simple ball shape is also a surprisingly comfortable shape. Handles can be wrapped in cord or leather, although this is usually seen more on staffs. The cord gives a good grip and can be useful in emergencies, but I find it uncomfortable to my grip. Leather can be wrapped like a cord or laced on. You can also wet it and shape to a regular cane handle, but stitch the seams where the fingers will be placed for comfort. Antlers, bone and other products can also be used to make unique handles.

The grain direction in the handle is important, since a lot of weight will be placed on it. I usually run the grain from front to back and try to keep the weaker neck portion a little thicker to make it stronger. But I also connect my canes with a steel rod that provides added strength. Some times I will add a turned spacer below the handle with the grain running vertically to provide additional height and strength. This can also provide an area for carving that doesn't intefere with the grip. The handle below has such a spacer.

Wood Sewing machine Bar stool Line Stool


The spacer also serves another function. I like the bottom neck of the handle or the bottom of the spacer to be a little larger in diameter than the top of the cane shaft. I like to have alittle bead in this area, a little shadow that helps conceal the glue line joining the shaft to the handle. Some people use different exotic woods cut into washers that are used in a similar way to add visual interest between the two separate elements of the cane. But I use the little bead for an additional purpose! Some people will carry a cane or occasionally grip their cane in this area and I like to make it feel like I intended it to be gripped here, by some simple turnings, balls, or beads that delineate this also as a grip area. The spacer will allow me to make thinner handle to fit a smaller person's grip while having it taper down to a size that is sufficently large to make a nice transistion to the shaft. A taller spacer can also be elegant and it seems to add a kinda Windsor chair element. I did not care for the difference in the grain direction on the lacewood handle and spacer shown above. It looked too busy and had to many joints…just didn't feel right. Also, my hand felt a little cramped around the fingers. So I re-did basically the same shape in walnut and made the finger catch on the end of the handle smaller and more open. I made the handle thicker to be more comfortable in a larger hand and shortened the neck and included the bead element on it. I felt it was short enough and thick enough so that it would be strong with the steel rod attaching ti to the shaft. I usually prefer turning the beaded section on the lathe rather than carving it, but I carved and tapered this one because it allowed me to get the look I wanted with no seam at all.

Yellow Wood Gas Bar stool Tap


So when I have decided on the shape I cut out the side profile on the bandsaw. In the next section, I'll talk about joining the pieces together and the tools and methods I use for shaping the handle. I may even try a short video on the shaping, if I can figure it out! Thanks for looking!
 

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Handle Designs

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person's wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the measurement to ensure I can cut some off if necessary. I have made canes that range from 32"-40" and that is a pretty common range if you are not making it specifically for a person.

White Wood Font Wood stain Hardwood


Here are the patterns I like to use. I just drew these out using some French Curves and trying to come up with some designs I liked, although they are similar to some standards seen for canes. My thought was to have the handle to have a shape similar to a tree limb, but it also serves other purposes. You can place your hand on it in different positions, so it has some built-in flexibility in the height. It works well and is comfortable no matter which way the handle is pointed. The handle is long enough that both hands can be placed on top to assist in rising from a seated position. Here are some examples of other shapes also

Wood Musical instrument Drawer Metal Hardwood


The simple ball shape is also a surprisingly comfortable shape. Handles can be wrapped in cord or leather, although this is usually seen more on staffs. The cord gives a good grip and can be useful in emergencies, but I find it uncomfortable to my grip. Leather can be wrapped like a cord or laced on. You can also wet it and shape to a regular cane handle, but stitch the seams where the fingers will be placed for comfort. Antlers, bone and other products can also be used to make unique handles.

The grain direction in the handle is important, since a lot of weight will be placed on it. I usually run the grain from front to back and try to keep the weaker neck portion a little thicker to make it stronger. But I also connect my canes with a steel rod that provides added strength. Some times I will add a turned spacer below the handle with the grain running vertically to provide additional height and strength. This can also provide an area for carving that doesn't intefere with the grip. The handle below has such a spacer.

Wood Sewing machine Bar stool Line Stool


The spacer also serves another function. I like the bottom neck of the handle or the bottom of the spacer to be a little larger in diameter than the top of the cane shaft. I like to have alittle bead in this area, a little shadow that helps conceal the glue line joining the shaft to the handle. Some people use different exotic woods cut into washers that are used in a similar way to add visual interest between the two separate elements of the cane. But I use the little bead for an additional purpose! Some people will carry a cane or occasionally grip their cane in this area and I like to make it feel like I intended it to be gripped here, by some simple turnings, balls, or beads that delineate this also as a grip area. The spacer will allow me to make thinner handle to fit a smaller person's grip while having it taper down to a size that is sufficently large to make a nice transistion to the shaft. A taller spacer can also be elegant and it seems to add a kinda Windsor chair element. I did not care for the difference in the grain direction on the lacewood handle and spacer shown above. It looked too busy and had to many joints…just didn't feel right. Also, my hand felt a little cramped around the fingers. So I re-did basically the same shape in walnut and made the finger catch on the end of the handle smaller and more open. I made the handle thicker to be more comfortable in a larger hand and shortened the neck and included the bead element on it. I felt it was short enough and thick enough so that it would be strong with the steel rod attaching ti to the shaft. I usually prefer turning the beaded section on the lathe rather than carving it, but I carved and tapered this one because it allowed me to get the look I wanted with no seam at all.

Yellow Wood Gas Bar stool Tap


So when I have decided on the shape I cut out the side profile on the bandsaw. In the next section, I'll talk about joining the pieces together and the tools and methods I use for shaping the handle. I may even try a short video on the shaping, if I can figure it out! Thanks for looking!
I have always liked your canes. Thanks for letting us know your process.
 

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Handle Designs

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person's wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the measurement to ensure I can cut some off if necessary. I have made canes that range from 32"-40" and that is a pretty common range if you are not making it specifically for a person.

White Wood Font Wood stain Hardwood


Here are the patterns I like to use. I just drew these out using some French Curves and trying to come up with some designs I liked, although they are similar to some standards seen for canes. My thought was to have the handle to have a shape similar to a tree limb, but it also serves other purposes. You can place your hand on it in different positions, so it has some built-in flexibility in the height. It works well and is comfortable no matter which way the handle is pointed. The handle is long enough that both hands can be placed on top to assist in rising from a seated position. Here are some examples of other shapes also

Wood Musical instrument Drawer Metal Hardwood


The simple ball shape is also a surprisingly comfortable shape. Handles can be wrapped in cord or leather, although this is usually seen more on staffs. The cord gives a good grip and can be useful in emergencies, but I find it uncomfortable to my grip. Leather can be wrapped like a cord or laced on. You can also wet it and shape to a regular cane handle, but stitch the seams where the fingers will be placed for comfort. Antlers, bone and other products can also be used to make unique handles.

The grain direction in the handle is important, since a lot of weight will be placed on it. I usually run the grain from front to back and try to keep the weaker neck portion a little thicker to make it stronger. But I also connect my canes with a steel rod that provides added strength. Some times I will add a turned spacer below the handle with the grain running vertically to provide additional height and strength. This can also provide an area for carving that doesn't intefere with the grip. The handle below has such a spacer.

Wood Sewing machine Bar stool Line Stool


The spacer also serves another function. I like the bottom neck of the handle or the bottom of the spacer to be a little larger in diameter than the top of the cane shaft. I like to have alittle bead in this area, a little shadow that helps conceal the glue line joining the shaft to the handle. Some people use different exotic woods cut into washers that are used in a similar way to add visual interest between the two separate elements of the cane. But I use the little bead for an additional purpose! Some people will carry a cane or occasionally grip their cane in this area and I like to make it feel like I intended it to be gripped here, by some simple turnings, balls, or beads that delineate this also as a grip area. The spacer will allow me to make thinner handle to fit a smaller person's grip while having it taper down to a size that is sufficently large to make a nice transistion to the shaft. A taller spacer can also be elegant and it seems to add a kinda Windsor chair element. I did not care for the difference in the grain direction on the lacewood handle and spacer shown above. It looked too busy and had to many joints…just didn't feel right. Also, my hand felt a little cramped around the fingers. So I re-did basically the same shape in walnut and made the finger catch on the end of the handle smaller and more open. I made the handle thicker to be more comfortable in a larger hand and shortened the neck and included the bead element on it. I felt it was short enough and thick enough so that it would be strong with the steel rod attaching ti to the shaft. I usually prefer turning the beaded section on the lathe rather than carving it, but I carved and tapered this one because it allowed me to get the look I wanted with no seam at all.

Yellow Wood Gas Bar stool Tap


So when I have decided on the shape I cut out the side profile on the bandsaw. In the next section, I'll talk about joining the pieces together and the tools and methods I use for shaping the handle. I may even try a short video on the shaping, if I can figure it out! Thanks for looking!
Nice blog…
I am following along : )

Lisa
 

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Handle Designs

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person's wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the measurement to ensure I can cut some off if necessary. I have made canes that range from 32"-40" and that is a pretty common range if you are not making it specifically for a person.

White Wood Font Wood stain Hardwood


Here are the patterns I like to use. I just drew these out using some French Curves and trying to come up with some designs I liked, although they are similar to some standards seen for canes. My thought was to have the handle to have a shape similar to a tree limb, but it also serves other purposes. You can place your hand on it in different positions, so it has some built-in flexibility in the height. It works well and is comfortable no matter which way the handle is pointed. The handle is long enough that both hands can be placed on top to assist in rising from a seated position. Here are some examples of other shapes also

Wood Musical instrument Drawer Metal Hardwood


The simple ball shape is also a surprisingly comfortable shape. Handles can be wrapped in cord or leather, although this is usually seen more on staffs. The cord gives a good grip and can be useful in emergencies, but I find it uncomfortable to my grip. Leather can be wrapped like a cord or laced on. You can also wet it and shape to a regular cane handle, but stitch the seams where the fingers will be placed for comfort. Antlers, bone and other products can also be used to make unique handles.

The grain direction in the handle is important, since a lot of weight will be placed on it. I usually run the grain from front to back and try to keep the weaker neck portion a little thicker to make it stronger. But I also connect my canes with a steel rod that provides added strength. Some times I will add a turned spacer below the handle with the grain running vertically to provide additional height and strength. This can also provide an area for carving that doesn't intefere with the grip. The handle below has such a spacer.

Wood Sewing machine Bar stool Line Stool


The spacer also serves another function. I like the bottom neck of the handle or the bottom of the spacer to be a little larger in diameter than the top of the cane shaft. I like to have alittle bead in this area, a little shadow that helps conceal the glue line joining the shaft to the handle. Some people use different exotic woods cut into washers that are used in a similar way to add visual interest between the two separate elements of the cane. But I use the little bead for an additional purpose! Some people will carry a cane or occasionally grip their cane in this area and I like to make it feel like I intended it to be gripped here, by some simple turnings, balls, or beads that delineate this also as a grip area. The spacer will allow me to make thinner handle to fit a smaller person's grip while having it taper down to a size that is sufficently large to make a nice transistion to the shaft. A taller spacer can also be elegant and it seems to add a kinda Windsor chair element. I did not care for the difference in the grain direction on the lacewood handle and spacer shown above. It looked too busy and had to many joints…just didn't feel right. Also, my hand felt a little cramped around the fingers. So I re-did basically the same shape in walnut and made the finger catch on the end of the handle smaller and more open. I made the handle thicker to be more comfortable in a larger hand and shortened the neck and included the bead element on it. I felt it was short enough and thick enough so that it would be strong with the steel rod attaching ti to the shaft. I usually prefer turning the beaded section on the lathe rather than carving it, but I carved and tapered this one because it allowed me to get the look I wanted with no seam at all.

Yellow Wood Gas Bar stool Tap


So when I have decided on the shape I cut out the side profile on the bandsaw. In the next section, I'll talk about joining the pieces together and the tools and methods I use for shaping the handle. I may even try a short video on the shaping, if I can figure it out! Thanks for looking!
Thanks again for doing this. I'm staying glued to your blog and anxiously awaiting the next part :)
 

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Handle Designs

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person's wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the measurement to ensure I can cut some off if necessary. I have made canes that range from 32"-40" and that is a pretty common range if you are not making it specifically for a person.

White Wood Font Wood stain Hardwood


Here are the patterns I like to use. I just drew these out using some French Curves and trying to come up with some designs I liked, although they are similar to some standards seen for canes. My thought was to have the handle to have a shape similar to a tree limb, but it also serves other purposes. You can place your hand on it in different positions, so it has some built-in flexibility in the height. It works well and is comfortable no matter which way the handle is pointed. The handle is long enough that both hands can be placed on top to assist in rising from a seated position. Here are some examples of other shapes also

Wood Musical instrument Drawer Metal Hardwood


The simple ball shape is also a surprisingly comfortable shape. Handles can be wrapped in cord or leather, although this is usually seen more on staffs. The cord gives a good grip and can be useful in emergencies, but I find it uncomfortable to my grip. Leather can be wrapped like a cord or laced on. You can also wet it and shape to a regular cane handle, but stitch the seams where the fingers will be placed for comfort. Antlers, bone and other products can also be used to make unique handles.

The grain direction in the handle is important, since a lot of weight will be placed on it. I usually run the grain from front to back and try to keep the weaker neck portion a little thicker to make it stronger. But I also connect my canes with a steel rod that provides added strength. Some times I will add a turned spacer below the handle with the grain running vertically to provide additional height and strength. This can also provide an area for carving that doesn't intefere with the grip. The handle below has such a spacer.

Wood Sewing machine Bar stool Line Stool


The spacer also serves another function. I like the bottom neck of the handle or the bottom of the spacer to be a little larger in diameter than the top of the cane shaft. I like to have alittle bead in this area, a little shadow that helps conceal the glue line joining the shaft to the handle. Some people use different exotic woods cut into washers that are used in a similar way to add visual interest between the two separate elements of the cane. But I use the little bead for an additional purpose! Some people will carry a cane or occasionally grip their cane in this area and I like to make it feel like I intended it to be gripped here, by some simple turnings, balls, or beads that delineate this also as a grip area. The spacer will allow me to make thinner handle to fit a smaller person's grip while having it taper down to a size that is sufficently large to make a nice transistion to the shaft. A taller spacer can also be elegant and it seems to add a kinda Windsor chair element. I did not care for the difference in the grain direction on the lacewood handle and spacer shown above. It looked too busy and had to many joints…just didn't feel right. Also, my hand felt a little cramped around the fingers. So I re-did basically the same shape in walnut and made the finger catch on the end of the handle smaller and more open. I made the handle thicker to be more comfortable in a larger hand and shortened the neck and included the bead element on it. I felt it was short enough and thick enough so that it would be strong with the steel rod attaching ti to the shaft. I usually prefer turning the beaded section on the lathe rather than carving it, but I carved and tapered this one because it allowed me to get the look I wanted with no seam at all.

Yellow Wood Gas Bar stool Tap


So when I have decided on the shape I cut out the side profile on the bandsaw. In the next section, I'll talk about joining the pieces together and the tools and methods I use for shaping the handle. I may even try a short video on the shaping, if I can figure it out! Thanks for looking!
A great tutorial that everyone should see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
 

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8,861 Posts
Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Thanks for sharing this great video.

You're about as good as a video producer as you are a carver.
 

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Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Still tracking this Mike…. Thanks!

Great video…. hope you do more!
 

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Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Love the video, great work !!
Still following….

Lisa
 

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Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
I too enjoyed the video. Thanks for sharing Mike and look forward to seeing more…
 

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Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Good video and how-to! I will be waiting for the next installment. Where did you find your Foredom handle? It looks like it will run as much or more than the HF flex shaft grinder.
 

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Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
Wood Yellow Gas Machine Metal


Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory Wood Plucked string instruments


I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
Watch Writing implement Circuit component Pen Hypodermic needle


Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Hey thanks, you did great with the video thing and it wasn't that boriing either!! :)
Love the size of your bits, Compared to the small dremel ones I am using, they look huge!
Enjoying your series too.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Shaping the handle

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I prefer the threaded rod for a little added strength and weight…. I might bend it if I try hard enough, but it would be hard to break! The steel rod can also be bent slightly if needed to adjust for a crooked hole in the shaft…..epoxy fills up any gaps or looseness later on.
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Now I mark my centerlines all around the handle and I will draw rough circles on the ends to give me an idea of when I have it roughly rounded out. I will be shaping this down, making a radius from the centerlines on top and bottom to the centerlines on the sides of the handles.
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I use a combination of power tools and traditional gouges and hand tools for carving. Whatever makes the boring parts go quicker…..like sanding…like roughing out…like bandsawing! You can pretty much use whatever means you prefer to get it to a certain stage. But you will notice that I "carve" with the rotary tool just like I do with my knives. I bought a cheap rotary shaft tool with variable speed foot-pedal control from Harbor Freight for $50 and added a Foredom 44t handle that will allow me to use the large 1/4" burrs and bits for roughing out carvings. My favorite roughing out bit is the large carbide bit shown in the handle… it may be a mill end router bit? The large flame-shaped carbide burr is also useful, but doesn't leave as smooth a surface as the other (and it clogs up more, especially with slightly green wood). The sanding drums are also important. I cut roughly to shape with the bits, and then refine and get the smooth flowing parts with the drums.
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Now for something completrely different (for me anyway)! Let's see if I can get a video to work that may demonstrate what I am struggling to impart.

Wow! It works! I may not be as stupid as I look (or sound)! Feel free to use knives, Dremels, sanding drums or whatever you find will work for you. I am told that an oscillating spindle sander does a bang-up job, but I have never had the opportunity to play with one. A little tip I picked up was to leave my sanding drums extending a bit out over the end of the drum. This allows that part of the drum to flex a bit and makes it more useful for shaping some contours.

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have if I have skipped over a detail that concerns you. I am pretty much just winging it on this as I am working on my current cane project. Thanks for looking!
Yeah, I bought the Foredom handpiece specifically to take the larger burrs and it did cost almost as much ast the HF ginder! (I got it form Smokey Mountain Woodcarvers for $40 something). The HF grinder comes with a 3 jaw chuck that handles anything smaller that 1/4" and the Foredom has 3 different sizes of collets. So, for less than $100, I got a foot pedal controlled grinder and two interchangeable handpieses, which does come in handy when I am switching back and forth between bits. My thinking was that the grinder was really cheap, but I can buy 5 of them for the price of a foredom. Or, if I am successful enough to buy a foredom (or mastercarver) I will already have extra handpieces that I can use with the new grinder! So far, it has not failed and I really like the foot pedal control, despite the lower RPMs compared to my Dremel.
 

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