One Piece Walking Canes

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Introduction: One Piece Walking Canes

About: Retired Firefighter 1966 to 1986; Retired Wheat Farmer 1987 to 2003. Drapery Sales 1969 to 1987. 17 year Quintuple Heart Bypass Surgery Survivor; 14 year Melanoma Cancer Survivor. 81 years young.

I got interested in making walking canes from Bois D'Arc wood from my acreage a few years ago.  To get a piece of wood suitable for making a cane is a lengthy process.  First, you must find a lateral branch and saw it off to promote it to send out new shoots.  Then you wait one year for the shoots to grow out.  They grow straight up and get 10 feet long and 3/4 inch diameter in one year.  You then cut that main lateral limb off again getting the new shoot.  You then cure that inside your shop for 3+ years, 5 is better.  Then you make a one piece cane out of it.  A one piece cane is much more durable than attaching a handle to a shaft.  I do most of the finishing with electric or air grinders.  Bois D'Arc is just too hard to work with a knife. 

Bois D'Arc wood is the hardest wood in the USA and wonderful for most everything except carving after it has cured.  It is also known a bo-dark, horse apple, hedge apple, and especially "THAT DARN TREE WITH ALL THE THORNS".

The first photos are my rendition of a 1930's coupe, something like the Lincoln Zephyr. The wood is so hard it will not accept stain so I burned the outside with an acetylene torch then polished it.  It looks antique and is really shiny without any wax or varnish, etc.  I later learned this is an old process and is called "Carbonizing".

The other photos are some I took at different times while making them.  Some are just the cured wood, ready to be finished.  The little animal is supposed to be a gecko.

I also make boomerangs and fly them, but that's another whole instructable.  The carpenter's square is a wooden boomerang and flies well.  They are all made of 1/4", 5 ply Baltic plywood, available on eBay and specialty wood dealers.  

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    8 Comments

    It is also called, "Osage Orange" as the Osage Indians used them to make bows, and is probably one of the best woods to use for bows as you don't need a lot to make an effective bow.

    1 reply

    Thanks overblast. You are correct. I thought I mentioned that. it's a very dense wood & it seems to be immune to rot & termites. Dad had some fence posts that were in the ground for 40 years & were still in great shape. After they cure, it's hard to drive a staple into them.

    Thank You,for showing your very detailed & absolutely beautiful work.Unfortunately, I cannot wait that long to make a one piece W.Cane.
    Would
    you please give me a 2nd alternative type of wood that I could use.It's for my husband.
    Sincerely,
    Jackie3horse

    2 replies

    Jackie, here is another handbook with info that's a little easier to read. http://www.slma.org/pdf/Hardwood-Handbook.pdf

    It depends on where you live. I live in Oklahoma and we have a lot of Bois D'Arc, also known as Bois D'Arc or Horse Apple growing wild around here. I am not an expert, just a hobbyist. Oak, pecan, walnut, white oak are fairly hard woods, but nothing in the United States, is even close to being as hard as Bois D'Arc. Fence posts cut from trees 50 years ago are still being used on farms here. They don't rot off & termites don't eat them. You can find information on the density of woods on a chart here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/rn/rn_nrs38.pdf

    Beautiful andvery nice. But we need step by step instructions. I'm a beginner.

    1 reply

    Cut away everything that doesn't look like a cane. Just kidding, but each is an individual project and entirely different. You just need to start work on it.

    Very nice! I had to look up what wood you were using, we call it Horse Apple around here. I agree its a very hard wood.