Walking Cane (Steampunk Fashion)




Introduction: Walking Cane (Steampunk Fashion)

About: Happy Mutant, Foodie, Techie, Foodtechie and Maker with side-interests in: synthsounds, boardgame-design, flatpack-furniture & 3D printing.

A fashionable walking cane to complete your Victorian/Steampunk/Goth get-up.
Bring out the DIY dandy in you!

I used ready-made parts, which make it a bit more expensive - especially the ornament, which counts for 2/3 of the cost. However, if you can find an old ornament or door-knob, this project is dirt-cheap.

You can whittle your own cane, if you want to:

Step 1: Shoppy Time!

Shop around for:
1. Glide-pins (big "tacks"), prefrably with rubber soles (you will only need one per walking cane).
2. Curtain-rod (or whittle a staff); length: +/- 1 meter
3. Curtain-rod ornament / doorknob, or salvage or cannibalize one instead.
4. (Outdoor) woodstain, paint and/or varnish. Pick your own color.
5. A flat paintbrush
6. Some string

I found all this stuff at my local hardware-store, but (thrift)shopping for a nice ornament / (door)knob pays off double, since it is the heart and soul of your cane and by far the most expensive part.

Step 2: Fitting the Knob (A)

1. Measure the length by which the cane will fit inside the ornament.
2. Mark this length on the cane.

Note: If you are using a door-knob, you don't have to measure anything.
You will screw the knob onto the head of the cane, instead of fitting it over it.

Step 3: Fitting the Knob (B)

If the ornament does not fit onto the cane, you'll have to whittle it down, until it fits.
Do not whittle below the marking you made.

1. Use a sharp knife to whittle the top of the cane to make a snug fit.

2. Fit the ornament onto the cane.

3. Repeat 1 and 2 until the cane fits the ornament exactly.

4. Us an awl / bodkin, or a big nail or an ice-pick to mark the place where you'll screw the ornament into place. (step 9)

Step 4: Sizing the Cane

When a cane is to be used as a mobility aid, I recommend you to get the cane properly sized by a health care professional. If you wish to size it on your own, please do the following:

1. It takes two people to "fit" a cane. The cane user should be wearing their usual walking shoes and standing as naturally upright as possible. Their arms should hang at their side with a normal bend at the elbow.

2. The second person places the cane with the knob/ornament on the ground, on the side the person will be using the cane. Mark the shaft where at the middle crease of the user’s wrist. 

However, you can take this measurement solo. I know I did.
Just hold a pen in your other hand to make the marking.

If you wish to make your cane super sexy, you can make it an inch or two longer than you sized.
This allows you to grip it dandy-like below the knob, which allows for quick, curt striding.
Such a fashionable cane is a must-have for the gentle(wo)man who is going places.

Step 5: Saw to Size & Sand It Down

Cut off the excess lengt off the cane, using a sharp saw and a mitre box for an even cut.

Whittle, scrape and sand the top edges at both ends rounded and smooth.

Sand the whole cane smooth.

Clean the wood with ammonia. This will help the stain / paint to bind to the wood.

Step 6: Hammer in the Glide-pin

Mark the middle of the surface at the end of the cane.
Hammer the glide-pin into this point.

Make sure you only hammer it half-way in!

(Excusez moi for the terrible quality of this photo.)

Step 7: Paint It, Paint It, Paint It - Paint It Black!

1. Suspend the cane by the glide-pin from a piece of string.
(This is the reason you should not hammer the pin down all at once.)

2. Stain or paint the complete surface of the cane (including the ends) with a thin layer.

3. Let it dry for 4 hours.

4. Sand the paint-surface lightly. This will help the next layer of paint to hold much better.

5. Clean off the dust with a paper towel.

6 Repeat 1 - 5 for the first two or three layers. Then repeat 1 - 3 to paint a final layer.

Step 8: Hammer the Glide-pin in Completely

Hammer the glide-pin completely down onto the end of the cane.
This is now the foot of your cane.
The metal surface shields the foot from wear and tear,
while the rubber sole (if any) acts as a shock-absorber.

Step 9: Attach the Knob

1. Match up the holes in the side of the cane and in the side of the ornament.

2. Fix the ornament in place with a screw.

When you are using a (door)knob instead of an ornament:
1. Mark the middle of the upper end-surface, as you did in Step 6.
2. Screw the knob onto the cane, at the marked middle-point.

Step 10: Finished!

You are now the proud owner of a unique handmade one-off Victorian fashion statement.

Walk proud!



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    8 years ago on Introduction

    That handle/ornament looks like an old fireplace knob. If anyone else is making one and looking for something with more support, if you trawl ebay and local antiques stores you can often find some very sturdy examples, though they may have a fireplace attached.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know if my comment went through but here it is: what about taking a thin piece of bar stock or small copper tubing and drill a hole in top of the wooden rod and solider or bend the end of the wire to it?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    So where's the hidden Tesla coil? Now that'd be awesome!


    12 years ago on Step 1

    Where do you find glide pins?  Hardware store?

    A a r t
    A a r t

    Reply 12 years ago on Step 1

    In the screws & nails section of my friendly local hardware store.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    i walk with a cane and im giving it great consideration to make this. i have one question about it though, how does it feel to walk with it in you hand after leaning on it?

    A a r t
    A a r t

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    It compresses about half-way in, so it supports you when leaning on it, though an inch or so lower than it looks. The drawback is in placing the cane when walking:
    it wobbles in all directions, so you are swinging it into position rather than pointing it into position. So I won't recomment this design if you really *need* a cane. It's just too uncomfortable.
    If you make it a "fashionable" length you can grip it under the knob and use it like a staff. However, this isn't enough support for someone who *needs* to lean on it.

    I did find a couple of useable spriralling curtain ornaments which are sturdy enough to support without compressing and wobbling, so I hope you can find such as well. I haven't found these in copper though, but they could be painted.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I like the visual effect the spiral fob gives, although putting one's full weight on a wire handle may not be the most ergonomic surface. Nice design for a found object piece.

    However, should you be interested in a wooden handled cane, please visit: www.bigstickcanes.com


    12 years ago on Step 1

    is that little knobby thing bouncy.... because I bet it's bouncy... boing boing!

    A a r t
    A a r t

    Reply 12 years ago on Step 1

    Boing Boing indeed ;-)
    It's a bit... flexible. So I'm glad the length is "fashionable" (1 inch longer), so it can be gripped below the knob. Though even when leaning on it the spring is strong enough to sagg in for only half it's hight.