Introduction: Walking Cane Made From Yardsticks

I was shopping at my local home improvement store, and happen to notice a bunch of yardsticks in the paint department.  These yardsticks were made of 1/4" pine, and were less than a dollar each.  I also noticed that they were nearly the perfect length for a walking cane.

 

Step 1: Materials and Tools Required

The material required for this project is very simple:

- three wooden yardsticks (you want wide, thick ones)

- white glue

- epoxy glue

- 120 grit and 220 grit sandpaper

- 1/8" rubber sheet (optional)

The tools required are minimal.  I used a bandsaw, but a hand-held coping saw would do the job.  I also used a belt sander, but you can always sand by hand.

Step 2: Make the Shaft of the Cane

I laminated two of the yardsticks together with white glue to make the shaft of the cane.  Since my yardsticks were 1/4" thick, this made the width of my cane 1/2" thick -- adequate for a medium to light duty walking cane.

Spread a fairly heavy amount of glue on one of the yardsticks and clamp the two yardsticks together.  Then set them aside for the glue to dry.

Once the glue has cured, sand the seam between the sticks to remove all the squished out glue.

Step 3: Cut the Parts for the Handle.

Using the third yardstick, cut four 6" long sections.  Glue two of these sections together.

Step 4: Cut Out a Section of the Glued Up Handle Parts

After the handle glue has cured, measure and cut out a piece that is exactly the width of the yardstick and about 1/2" deep (as shown in the photo).

Test fit the "yardstick shaft" to make sure it fits the slot you just cut out.  It is ok for it to be a little bit loose.

Step 5: Glue the Rest of the Handle

Take the remaining two 6" pieces and glue to each side of the piece that you just cut the slot in.  Either clamp all this together, or use a weight on it until the glue has cured.

Step 6: Saw Out the Profile for the Handle

Once the glue has cured, draw an outline of the handle you desire, and saw this handle to shape.  When designing the shape of your handle, be sure to leave the slot intact.

Next, begin shaping the handle.  A cane's handle should have rounded edges all the way around for comfort.  Rough out the shape with a rasp or coarse sandpaper, then refine it with fine sandpaper.  Because most yardsticks are made of pine, they are very easy to shape.

Step 7: Attach the Handle to the Shaft

Mix up some epoxy and pour a bit into the slot in the handle.  Then push the shaft all the way in.  Be sure to clean up any excess epoxy that gets pushed out.  If no epoxy is pushed out, you probably didn't use enough.

Set this aside to cure.  Even though the epoxy I used is the "5 minute cure" kind, I like to let epoxy harden overnight to obtain more strength.

After the epoxy has cured, attach a piece of rubber sheet to the bottom of the cane.  Before attaching it, sand a slight radius to the cane so that you won't put undue stress on the corners.  Attach the rubber with contact cement and let it dry.  This step is not absolutely necessary, but it will protect the tip of the cane and prevent slipping on slick surfaces.

Step 8: Finished!

Now you have a walking cane AND a measuring device!

You can finish your cane with polyurethane, or just leave it as is.

This is a very easy project, and if using power tools can be completed in about an hour.

Comments

author
3366carlos (author)2014-12-25

cool

author
Spadinator (author)2012-11-23

Very well done!

author
MrLWJ (author)2012-11-22

Nice, well done.

author
knife141 (author)MrLWJ2012-11-23

Thank you for the comment!

author
Rich99 (author)2012-01-29

knife141--

what a great idea, and you presented your ible so well. nice photos and commentary.

i've made a few canes over the years (i use a cane for a missing left foot), but i used hardwood -- walnut -- cuz i weigh and eighth of a ton, plus it finishes so beautifully. three of mine are 'out of the ordinary': a saw handle, a m1911a .45 caliber automatic and a s&w long barrel .357 magnum. i just trace them onto a plank of wood, then round the corners with a router and spokeshave. the 'handles' need a lot of rasping, sanding and carving. everybody
asks me where i got them!

-- rich in maine

p.s. use the 60 minute epoxy. it's much stronger.

author
knife141 (author)Rich992012-01-29

Thanks for the nice comment. I've also made a dozen or so other canes. On most of them I used oak for the shaft and exotic woods (olive, desert ironwood, paduk, etc.) for the handles. I made a few of them where they screw apart in the middle so they fit in a carry-on bag for traveling. Also made a couple using antique doorknobs for handles, but don't particularly like using them. I made the yardstick canes (about 40 of them in total) and gave all of them away as gifts. Every now I then I just get in the mood to make a new cane. Thanks again for the comment, and I agree with using the slow curing epoxy. Not only is it stronger, but I'm getting sort of slow myself!

author
Rich99 (author)knife1412012-01-29

if you're making canes that screw together, you're doing a lot better than me. once, i cut 3 inches off my favorite cane, knowing that it was too long. now, of course, it was too short. i drilled the stub and used dowel centers, but somehow i was way off. and i've used dowel centers quite a few (100s) times. oh well.

author
knife141 (author)Rich992012-01-29

The way I center drill a cane is to first make a little jig from a 4-5 inch piece of tubing that slips snugly over the cane shaft. If its a little too loose, I shim it by wrapping tape around the cane's shaft. Then I epoxy a hardwood dowel inside half the length of the tube. After the glue has cured, i center drill the dowel glued inside the jig using a metal lathe. Then, to drill the holes in the cane shaft I place the jig on the cane (shimming it with tape, if necessary) and using the hole I've drilled in the jig, I center drill the cane shaft. It seems to work pretty well. Hope my description makes sense.

author
dchall8 (author)2010-09-15

Pretty clever. I've become a fan of Gorilla Glue for wood projects, but I'm sure you're works fine.

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Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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