Hi Sandy. I have made them out of red oak, basswood, and it was either elm or box elder. I am not sure about that because I have had people tell me the tree that I cut up for boards was either of those species,,, anyway,, what ever it was,, it did not route very well at all, I had 4 blanks from that wood and only had one that turned out well enough that I could use and actually was lucky to still have all my fingers still intact after messing with that wood. It was just very "grabby" wood and just did not rout well at all. But the red oak and basswood both routed beautifully and came out nice. I do not like to mess with pine because it just is harder to finish and dents easily,,, but thats just my prefrence.
Only area that gave me any difficulity was when I routed inside the handle,, you REALLY !!! have to pay attention that you have a good hold on your work piece when you lower it over your straight trim bit, ( I used a forstner bit to remove most of the wood inside the handle so there was not a lot left to take out with the trim bit ), so the bit does not wrench it out of your hands, because its inclosed in that area and it surrounds the bit,, it will through it around wildly and if it happens,,, it is so fast that you could be hurt before you know what happened. But. like I said,, I only had problems with that 3'rd wood, what ever it was,, I do not use it for canes, anymore.
Another thing I might suggest, is to right now, before you make any canes,,, is to make another pattern right off the one you got now. Maybe just use one of your pieces of pine and leave it as your back up pattern. IF you spent a lot of time making your pattern and sanding it so it is smooth with NO defect that will be telagraphed to your cane blanks when you use the straight trim bit to take it to size. You will absoulutly cry if you are routing and happend to make a mistake and take a diviot out of your pattern. Then you would have to stop and make a new pattern right from scratch again. This way if you do damage your pattern,, just take your back up pattern and you can quickly make a new pattern right off your back up so you will again have 2 patterns and can then continue to make your canes. I learned that the hard way... I did slip and take a bite out of my pattern and ruined it. ALso last time I made these canes, I made 15 of them at once and I was using a piece of pine for my pattern,, and before I got done, I was pressing hard enough that the bearing at the top of my trim bit was putting a groove in my pattern,, so my cane blanks were starting to be undercut more and more with each cane being routed. So a few patterns are a good thing to have.
I used 1 inch thick wood for cane blanks so when I used a 1/2 inch round over bit as the last step in routing out the blanks,,, the lower part of the cane shaft turned out to be a full 1 inch round piece of wood and then got a good fit with the 1 inch rubber table legg ends that I bought at Lowes to finish off the bottom end of the cane. As Reible bought, the 7/8's inch diameter size, you might have to go with those so that it has a tight fit and will not work its way off as the owner is using the cane.
One more thing, I started out using a 1 inch long, 1/2 inch diameter, 2 fluted straight cut flush trim bit, but was having trouble because it was "Just " enough to cut the thickness of my wood,,, so I bought some 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 long bits and even chose the 3 flute versions and they cut even nicer because of the extra cutting edge.
Just be extra careful when you route inside the handle, other then that,, it is a fun project and you will have a ball when people see your cane and their eyes light up.
When ya get your cane done,, maybe you can post a picture of "your' version of them,, it would be nice to see some one else idea of a neat, fun project.