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.