Welcome to all those who want to take one of my fantastic Diamond Willow Sticks and make a cane. A good friend, Mr. Gerald Tanner, has offered to make a cane for me and for you, so that everyone will benefit from his expertise. We hope this answers all your questions. Here is Mr. Tanner, showing a cane he made earlier.
Of course, everyone knows that you get your Diamond Willow; "Pure Art by Mom Nature" at my HOME page.
My SECOND TUTORIAL for making canes lives at
Unfortunately, my friend Jerry Tanner is no longer with us but he "lives on" in this website. Here is what he wanted to tell you:
1. Sand your Diamond Willow stick and clean out the diamonds to the degree where you are happy with it. To change this work into a FUN job, use the New Improved Flex Drum Sander; click HERE.
2. Find a piece of Diamond Willow five inches long which would look good for a handle and sand it to suit yourself.
3. The finished stick should be close to 32 inches; make it whatever length is right for you but for now, leave it a
bit longer than you are going to want it, so that you can trim off the bottom end later to get the length exactly right
for you. I have been told: "Many folk prefer a 36" length overall- but this is not a universal size. Some people- like
me- require 40" canes."
4. Take a brace and bit, using a bit which is approximately 1/8 inch smaller than the diameter of the stick where you want the handle to be, and drill right through the stick as shown here.
This leaves a pretty huge hole as shown in the next picture.
5. Cut the end off the stick right at the middle of the hole, as shown.
6. Using a hand-held file or a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a piece of stick slightly smaller in diameter than your stick, clean out the half-moon in the end of your stick so that the handle will fit in it snugly as shown.
7. Set the handle into the "seat" allowing it to extend about 3/4 inch beyond the stick and mark where a screw will
need to be inserted. Make a tiny depression with a countersink or nail, to guide your drill bit. Drill the handle and
and use a much larger drill bit to "countersink" the hole so that the head of the screw will go down into the wood
completely. Insert the screw, allowing it to come out the bottom by 1/8 inch or so. We used a #8x3" flat-head screw, as
8. Drill into the center of the stick with a drill bit which will allow the screw to be snug.
9. Put plenty of glue into the "seat" and set the point of the screw into the hole in the stick. Drive the screw
into place and let the glue squish out; it can be sanded or cut off later.
10. fill the hole above the head of the screw with some kind of putty or wood filler; we used glue on this one, as shown.
Note that we had a bit of a crack appear when we drilled the big hole so we glued it and put tape around it temporarily.
11. Sand everything smooth and finish the cane with oil, varnish or whatever you prefer.
12. Add a rubber tip to the bottom for traction and safety. For some SUPER information about that step, see my stick-making page at http://www.sticksite.com/making_sticks/index.html.
During the process, keep in mind that it might be most comfortable if the handle sloped downward by about 5 degrees rather than being at exactly 90 degrees from the stick.
AND here is something else; sometimes I find a willow which has a branch taking off at 90 degrees to the main stem, and sometimes I'll take out a Poplar / Aspen and find it has a root which looks like a cane handle. Here are some of those:
And my buddy Lazz (Buddy Edwards:(firstname.lastname@example.org) tells me: "Greetings from Illinois: I really enjoyed your web page, I haven't been thru all of it yet but I will. Just wanted to send you a few tips that I have created for working sticks. I have been making walking canes and walking sticks for 22 yrs.I usually work twisted Dogwood, Elm and Oak. Here are a few tips that I've learned thru trial and error. After cutting the sticks and getting them home I apply a coating of wood glue to cover the cut ends only, after the glue drys I them put them away until I'm ready to work them. This may vary from a week to 6 months. When ready to use I soak them in a 4" piece of P V C pipe full of water from 3 days up to a week. This makes the bark easy to strip and the stick more plyable. The next step is to place the stick on a 2x4 using 2-hole pipe straps, make sure that you place strips of cardboard between the straps and the sticks. You can bend the stick or straighten it out as you are fastening it on the 2x4. You will need different sizes of straps for different sizes sticks. When striping for the board I re glue the ends and also leave 2" of bark at each end. Drying time differs as to where you dry them, inside or outside. One thing for sure they dry much quicker with 95% of the stick striped. One of the main things that I enjoy about working sticks is, going out and finding them ! Happy hunting and keep on Sticking. Lazz
AND, my friend "Jim" gave me this bit of great advice to pass along to you: "Ken, thanks for the prompt reply. Here is a tip which I use on putting handles on canes, and will share it with you, but you may already know it. I drill down thru the center of the "stick" and put in a piece of 5/16th ready bolt and then epoxy that in place, leaving enough sticking up to fasten the handle on. With the handle, I fashion it like I want to and then make a hole big enough in it to put in a 5/16th "tee nut" and then use JB Weld to hold it in place. I try to get the ready bolt to go about 2" down inside the stick. It makes for a very SOLID one, which will take side loading rather well. I also make a collar or band which goes around the top of the stick, made out of ridgid copper tubing about 3/8th or 1/2" long so that the stick will not want to split out, with a side load. You may already know about this, but if not, feel free to put it out for others Thanks. JIM"