Sometimes I need a cane to help me get around because of back & leg problems, and sometimes I need an umbrella. But I've noticed that I rarely use both at the same time. After all, if you start out with both hands full, what are you going to do if someone hands you a cup of coffee, or how can you explain a project to someone if you can't at least flail one hand in the air!
So, I decided to take an old umbrella and modify it so that one item could do the job of both.
Step 1: Materials Required
I went through my assortment of umbrellas, and I found one that was very strong. It had the strength that I needed for a cane, but it was about 1.5 inches too short. In my experience, there's nothing worse than a cane that's too short.
I went through my scrap pile and found some 1/2 inch diameter copper tubing and a wood dowel that fit inside of it. The tubing was a perfect diameter to slip over the end of the umbrella.
Since I had no cane tips that would fit a 1/2 inch diameter shaft, I carved a rubber plug from a piece of 1/2 inch thick dense rubber for a cane tip. When this rubber plug eventually gets worn down, I'll replace it with a regular cane tip.
Step 2: Assemble and Install the Extension
I cleaned the end of the umbrella and the inside of the copper tubing with acetone, then used JB Weld epoxy to glue the tubing onto the umbrella end.
I cut the dowel so that it would contact the end of the umbrella tip, and leave about 1/4 inch of clearance between it and the end of the copper tubing (1st photo).
I then coated the rubber tip with epoxy, and forced it into the end of the tubing until it contacted the dowel (2nd photo).
The idea is that the weight exerted on the rubber tip is transferred to the dowel, then to the shaft of the umbrella. The copper tubing is simply there to keep everything aligned.
Step 3: Completion
After letting the epoxy cure for 15 hours, the umbrella-cane was now ready for use. I did decide to blacken the copper tubing (using an oxidizer), but it would have been just fine to simply let it weather.
I have found this to work very well, both as an umbrella, and occasionally as a cane. Now instead of carrying both in my truck, I do just fine with one which can serve two purposes.