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Theo
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hmm, at least two of the photos are NOT in the order I posted them. Not a clue how or why that happened.

OK, I am still making canes, for myself, and to sell (at least will be once I can get back into the shop - long story, and I likely won't tell it). Right now, among other things, am having to redesign every cane handle I had, because the latest version, is made totally differently, yet somewhat the same. After my Gen 5 canes I started making changes in how the canes are made, and think I am now on Gen 8. I won't go into making my Gen 8 canes, but this is to show how I made my Gen 3, 4, & 5, canes.

Gen 1 canes. Started out making canes from some nice saplings that had been air drying in my shop for 10+ years. Got a lot of good comments on them, sold a few, gave a few away, lost a few by putting them on top of my vehicle while engaged in other things and drove off with them still on the roof. This went on for a while, then slipped on an icy step, landed on my sapling cane, and snapped it like a twig, and didn't even know it until I got up. That is when I went to plywood canes.

Gen 2 canes. Made a cane master I liked, traced around it, rough cut, routed out 1/2 of a cane, from 1/2" plywood. Traced around that, rough cut, glued it down, routed around it, and viola, had a nice light, and strong, cane. Made a few of those, then did some mods.

First photo. Gen 3 cane. Pretty sure I got inspiration for this from looking at Aztec and Mayan hieroglyphics, because I can't figure out where else that design would have come from. The lozenge was added because I found out some people liked to put pictures, or write, on their canes, so decided to give them some space. You can't see it, but on the lozenge it says 'test cane'. That is because I painted it (has no finish) to see how it held up, and the shaft is a bit rough, just proof of concept. The side showing has held up well. The other side I painted on the glued on paper pattern, and a lot of the paint where it is gripped has worn or flaked off. Right now I am using it daily. I am pretty sure if I had used magic markers it would have held up a whole lot better.

The next three photos are some of my Gen 3, 4, & 5, cane handle designs. They are all made the same way, just changes to the shaft/lozenge design.

The next two photos are how the Gen 3, 4, & 5, canes were made. The first is the masters laid out on a rough cut cane. The second is the first half of a cane routed out. I have said before I nail my masters, now here is proof. You can see the nail holes in the routed cane half, but that will be glued nail holes down to another rough cut piece, then routed, and viola, a cane. I drill a lot of nail pilot holes, more than really needed, but I really like the option of more nails just in case some of them start getting loose. If they do, I either add more nails, or whack them down all the way.

The next three photos are of finished Gen 3, 4, & 5, canes. The designs are fine tip magic marker, and the finish is about five coats of 50/50 or less thinned Titebond II glue. The glue finish has held up well for several years, and I will likely keep using it - no smell, dries enough to handle and apply another coat in minutes, inexpensive, and water cleanup.

For the Gen 6 canes, I made changes to how the canes are made, so instead of three masters to make a one piece cane, I came up with four masters, with the cane a total of five pieces; however, was then able to cut the number of masters to three. Gen 7 & 8, more changes to the lozenge mainly. None of these have been made, but will proceed with Gen 8.

With all of my previous cane handles I sketched each design out individually. This gave some nice designs, but was time consuming. So decided to trace the painted cane in the first photo, and use that handle shape because it is very comfortable, and will provide uniformity. Will keep the basic handle and shaft shapes, but expand from there.

The next photo is the cane tracing.

The photo after that is what I will actually base my master on.

And the photo after that one is how I will do some of my designs - trace the handle master, then trace a circle.

The next photo shows a basic blank handle design. I'll nail my master, rout around the handle and shaft, not touching the circle, for that I will close cut with my scrollsaw and then sand to final shape. That will give the first half of that particular master, and then can draw different designs on the same shape.

And a very simple design.

The next three photos are examples of some of my designs. The last one was intended to be a dog, but looks more like a rat.

The next photo is two examples of designs without using the circle part. The top one is either Groucho Marx or the devil. And the bottom not sure where that one came from.

Next photo is part way thru my buzzard series. I started the same as the other designs, but the handle is changed from the others.

And last photo is my revamp of the cane in the first photo. Below that is a two headed cane design.

Still have a load of designs I need to update, including my vampire ducks, a rabbit or two, an elephant, a lion, frog, and I don't know what all else.

I started making canes because I use one, and didn't like the store bought ones. Discovered I like to make them, so will keep a few for myself, and see if I can start selling some as a steady business. Plan on making some Wounded Warrior canes, but haven't come up with a design I really like yet. Also looking for a few designs for little kids - I know some have to use a cane for whatever reason, so figure they'd like a more fun cane than just a blah cane, just need to figure out what designs a little kid would like for a cane - think maybe one or two of my rabbets, one of the elephants, maybe one or two others - suggestions for handles for these would be welcome. All my canes will be for sale, except for the Wounded Warrior, and kids' canes.

Well, I think I explained my cane making methods so anyone here can make one.
 

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Glad you put up some pictures Theo, those are some very original designs. Creative, fun and real conversation starters. Never thought about making a cane that wasn't round. I suppose you could glue up a couple of layers of half inch BB, make the shaft an inch wide, then use a half inch roundover bit to make it round. I guess I'm thinking inside a box, so to speak.
 

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Theo
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My canes are just a tad different, but every thing is different for a reason. They are two layers of 1/2" plywood, so they are completely square, which I think is stronger than a round cane, and it will not roll off a table or counter being square. I hit the corners with my ROS, rather than a router bit, much faster that way. They almost always have a hooked end, useful for hanging on a car door handle, pulling stuff off a high grocery shelf, or reaching in and pulling something out of the back of a shelf. And it's a lot of fun making different designs, some I can do in a minute or so for one of the birds say, took an hour or so making a new design of an undecorated cane I like a lot, still working out my new grumpy turtle, and it's a real laugh to take my Lowes cane to Lowes and have the cashier scan it, amazes most of the cashiers. They are actually quite light, but I figure they're sturdy enough to be able to beat an attacking dog to death if need be, the lozenge was not designed for it, but does provide some extra weight at the handle end to help in that. I figure if you're gonna have a cane might as well have one a bit different. Besides, couldn't find any I liked, so that's what started me on making them. Later I'll try my hand at walking staffs too. And the glue finish makes the plies really stand out.
 

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Like the canes, Theo. Like that they are different and unusual. I think those of us that use canes are very cognizant of what others are using. I know I always look for different ones. I've only made a couple and liked one and scrapped the other before wasting finish on it.
 

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Very original Theo.Could you show a picture of Grumpy Turtle when it's finalised ? I had an idea how you might change his shell but it wouldn't leave room for a full hand grip.Good luck with them all,Jamesjj.
 

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Gee Theo,

A CNC machine and some 2x4' pieces of plywood of your choice - you would be buying paint and stain by the gallon to finish em all. Tom would give you a marketing plan, and you're off to the races!!

Good original designs!!
 
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These are fun ... and life should be fun. Great job!

Love the pictures.

I suspect finding events to sell these will be difficult ... most craft fairs & boutiques involve a lot of walking, which could be a problem for your final users. On the other hand, you need to get people to see these, and having them visible at events may get family members/friends to get cane seekers to find you. If you're not out there, how could anyone find you?

Best of luck.
 

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Mike
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Theo I like the fun designs and I'm sure you are having fun creating each and everyone.

You can tell John is a CNC'er because, like most of us with CNC machines, he can see these designs being drawn up in the software and cutting rights and lefts and gluing the 2 sides together several at a time.

Let me see ..... if you glue two pieces of plywood together and use 2 sided carving then all that would be let to do after cutting would be a little cleanup and finish.

Of course you would miss all the fun you are having making each one with it's own personality.
 

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Very nice canes Theo. I really like them. If you don't mind I would like to copy one of them. Here is the one and only cane I made and it's not round as I don't have a lathe. I used a round over bit. It's cherry and I had to glue two pieces together. Thanks for posting this Theo.

 

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Theo,

Hope you are back in the shop soon so you can share some more great designs.

I have only made one cane, and I am now aware of how peculiar users are about what they expect in size, weight, handle shape, etc.

I asked a lot of people who use them at church what makes a good cane, and I still had to adjust it after my father started using it.

Thanks for the great tutorial, I may have to make a more whimsical one. Who knows, maybe one of the dolphins from the submarine insignia as the handle.
History of U.S. Submarine Warfare Insignia - "DOLPHINS"
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. It's fun stuff, possibly my most favorite thing, in the shop.

Shopguy: I think you're right, I look at a cane every time I see someone using one. And about 99.9% are store bought, and the others all seem to be sapling canes. And I've scrapped more than one, sometimes in the drawing stage, and the others I hang in the shop, just in case someone needs a free cane, or I lose my last one. LOL

James: Sure I can post a picture of the Grumpy Turtle. And the shell is the part I am still working on, so feel free to pass any ideas along.

John: Don' got no steenkin' CNC, don' wants no steenkin' CNC. No fun in using one of those, even excluding the cost. It'd feel like cheating. And my way don't have any motherboards just waiting to fry at the worst possible time.

Henry: I know. Been thinking of a flea market, but for that you really need two people, one to sit and guard the table, while the other uses the restroom, gets food and/or drinks, cruises the flea market, or just takes a nap. I get irritated rather easily by salespeople at time, and really don't want to be one. But figure a flea market would work, because I wouldn't have to talk to anyone much, just those interested in buying, so I could live with that. However, mostly I like the idea of selling on Etsy. May give craigslist a shot too.

Mike: Yeah, a CNC just isn't my cuppa. Using one of those would seem too much like work, not fun. I want the fun. Anyway, I figure it would be loads faster for me to make a change in design over a CNC. However, if someone wanted to give me a CNC tho, I would accept it gratefully, and thank them with all my heart. And then turn around and sell it on eBay or craigslist. Hehehe

Don: Nice cane, like the wood, a lot. If you want to copy one of my designs, just copy away - as long as it is for you, or a gift(s). Copyright you know, don't mind people making some for their own use, just no making them for sale. Or, ask nice and I might even be willing to work up a new design.

Doug: I hope I'm back in the shop soon too. My back is actually better - believe it or not, Jogging In A Jug actually helps my joints. But now my daily driver has decided to act up, so afraid to take it on the road right now. It will either need a very minor bandaid, or work that will cost more than it is worth to fix it. I'm thinking the latter. So, been spending a lot of time and effort finding something that runs good, is within my price range, and is something I actually want. May be able to get a very nice Dodge pickup tomorrow. If my son cooperates.
Every cane site will tell you that a man 6' tall needs a cane 36" tell. Apparently someone wrote that and everyone else just copied it. The also tell you hot to fit a cane, forarm at X angle, etc. I say it is all BS. I'm 5'7", and the cane I use daily is 37", lost my 38" cane off the roof. My next cane will be 40". I don't think I will need to go taller than that. This is based on using a cane going up steps. I figure you stand at the base of the steps with your cane beside you. You put one foot on the next step, push with your cane, move your other foot up to the next step also. This should put your cane on the base and be long enough that it will allow you to stand up straight, and still be able to press the cane bottom solidly down. Right now I have to bend slightly to allow still putting pressure on the cane. So, will try 40" and see how that works. Also I do not take a full grip on my cane handle, instead I put my thumb along the front side, and my index finger on the other side. I find this gives me a whole lot more control of the point of my cane, and is actually more comfortable than using all fingers around the handle. I'm even thinking of making a test step, and a test cane, that I can alter the length of. Don't know how those dolphins would work as a handle, but could definitely go somewhere. I have been collecting military logos, those would be the only time I would use someone else's work, they're all copyright free, being designed by the government, and it would be waaay too much to redo one for each cane. Both active duty logos, and retired. Wounded warrior too, want to make some of those.

Gerard: Yep, some are funny, but they are all meant for daily use, I don't make canes meant to just be displayed. And it's always funny to have some ask, "You made that?", like that couldn't believe that 'I' could actually have done it.

I said that almost all of my canes have a hook on the end. When I wanted to do some duck designs I decided bending down the end of the beak would look weird and stupid. And so was born the vampire ducks, problem solved. I love woodworking.
:grin:

Drat. Forgot to mention. Most of these designs are simple enough I can just draw them using magic marker. But there are a few, that I will have to put forth the effort and make a stamp for each side - grumpy turtle and fish, lion, elephant, and that's all I can think of just now. I may paint (more likely use colored magic markers) a cane or 3 for my own use, but don't plan on doing that for any cane I sell, unless the buyer is willing to pay a nice chumk of money more.
 

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My wife happens to be a geriatric nurse practitioner, and she confirms that most of her patients with decorative canes have received them as gifts from family members. Therefore, your target audience is probably 40+ and going to craft fairs featuring handmade goods.

Good craft fairs for handmade goods: unicorns, they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
My wife happens to be a geriatric nurse practitioner, and she confirms that most of her patients with decorative canes have received them as gifts from family members. Therefore, your target audience is probably 40+ and going to craft fairs featuring handmade goods.

Good craft fairs for handmade goods: unicorns, they are.
In truth, I don't know if craft shows would be a good place to sell my canes or not. And, anymore don't care - I'm just to damn stiff and all to do much carrying, so figure it would be more than I could reasonably do anymore. A friend does craft shows, or did anyway, he may not anymore as he is selling a LOT of the boxes he makes by word of mouth and repeat customers along with shops coming to him. He did good, makes some nice boxes, but it was something like $80 a day for a space, and a lot of carrying. That thought of flea markets, but again lifting, and need two people.

In my mind, decorative canes, are mostly just that, decoration. After I snapped that cane, I started taking a closer look at them, and just cannot bring myself to trust one for actual use, let alone daily use. They are just made too slender, or of material not strong enough. I figure mine are going to hold up for a long time, and if I do fall on one, I'll be more worried about my ribs than the cane. When I snapped mine, my ribs were just like nothing had happened, no ache, no bruise, nothing. Never more, never more.

Drat, was going to post a link on making stamps, which I will try for putting on the design on a few of my canes. Going to have to get the link, come back and post it. There are a few of my cane designs that are way too complex to do by hand each time, I figure a stamp will take care of that issue, well actually two stamps - one for each side. I could have them custom made, but at around $9+ a pop, that would add up fast. The simpler designs, no issue, I can just sketch those out in just seconds. I figure the more detailed designs would take at least 45-60 minutes to sketch out, and there would be a good likelihood that mistakes would be made. Don't want that. Stamps will at least be consistent. Here is the link. http://makezine.com/2011/07/05/how-to_make_no-carve_stamps/ I've got silicone, but not run across plexiglas yet. If this doesn't cut it, I do have another method to make stamps, a lot more complicated than this tho, and I would prefer not to do it that way if I possibly can avoid it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Knew there was something I was forgetting. My cane shafts are 1"X1" square. The lozenge is close to 12" long, and 3" wide - this will give plenty of space to put your military stripes, family pictures, or whatever.

I will be making one special cane for myself. On the handle I will have a Retired US Army logo. On the lozenge I will glue one of my set of stripes, or a printout of them, then a list of my assignments, and their lengths. Don't know if I will have that on one side, with something related on the other side, or both sides the same. Thinking of making a cane can (or whatever they are called) to hold several different designs, for my personal use, and swap out daily. Figure on sticking some in my vehicle, in case I find a buyer on my travels out and about - it has happened. Be prepared, or just in case, mottos to live by. I'd type out the Boy Scouts marching song here, Be Prepared, but some of the verses are X-rated, and this is a family forum.
>:)

And think there is still something I have forgotten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I love my cane

Had problems, still unsolved, with the Jeep, so had to get another vehicle. A week ago Saturday got a very nice 1997 Dodge Dakota pickup. Well, this morning needed to check something on the engine. And couldn't open the hood - had already pulled the latch inside. The outside latch simply refused to move for me. So, stuck the handle of my test cane thru the grill, and by pulling, with both hands, on the shaft finally got the latch to pop. But the hood still wouldn't open, seems it needed to be pulled again. Had to resort to the cane again, and was finally able to get it to open. Definitely need to oil that latch it seems. So, have discovered a new use for my canes. Not only good for walking, reaching onto high or deep shelves in the store, knocking down spider webs, poking irritating people, but now opening the hood on my truck.
:smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That is what woodworking is all about,your having a lot of fun and enjoyment out it.
Those must be strong built canes to open that hood, I was looking for you to say you broke the handle off.
Herb
Perzactly. My canes are the most fun I've had woodworking in a good while. And yes, they are strong. Two layers of 1/2" plywood, 1" wide, so the shaft is 1" square. No voids or splits in the plywood, so it makes for a strong cane. It didn't even creak opening that hood. I hope to talk a mechanical engineering professor at NCSU into test breaking strength on a couple of them for me, to see just how what it will take to break them.
 

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Perzactly. My canes are the most fun I've had woodworking in a good while. And yes, they are strong. Two layers of 1/2" plywood, 1" wide, so the shaft is 1" square. No voids or splits in the plywood, so it makes for a strong cane. It didn't even creak opening that hood. I hope to talk a mechanical engineering professor at NCSU into test breaking strength on a couple of them for me, to see just how what it will take to break them.
That is a terrific idea, and be sure to let us know it would be interesting.
be a shame to ruin one of your master pieces,though.
Herb
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That is a terrific idea, and be sure to let us know it would be interesting.
be a shame to ruin one of your master pieces,though.
Herb
Masterpieces. Now that is funny.

Found another use. The doors on the Dodge truck I just got open further than with my Jeep. There is a halfway position where it will stay, but usually it opens all the way. And if I have my seat belt on, can't lean out far enough to close it. But, the cane hooks the door handle neatly, and I can pull the door closed.
 
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