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"Methods to My Madness: Designing and Carving a Cane"

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Blog series by mpounders updated 1249 days ago 7 parts 25709 reads 39 comments total

Part 1: Choosing the Wood

1257 days ago by mpounders | 6 comments »

I thought I would start series on how I make my canes, since I have been working on quite a few here lately. I wanted start with the design process, since I usually spend a week or so on that part, and then go into some of the actually carving and the tools and methods I use. It’s not exactly a tutorial with plans and such, but you should be able to construct a cane of your own with a little bit of work. So, I usually start my design with the shaft of the cane. Since canes are used f...

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Part 2: Handle Designs

1256 days ago by mpounders | 4 comments »

So the shaft portion of the cane has been selected. The over all height of the cane will be measured from the highest part of the handle to the tip of the shaft, so it is important to include all of these elements when sizing the cane, always remembering that is easier to cut the cane shorter than it is to make it longer. A normal measurement used for canes is typically from the floor to the bend of a person’s wrist. I like my canes a little taller and usually add 2-3 inches to the meas...

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Part 3: Shaping the handle

1255 days ago by mpounders | 10 comments »

It is usually easier to drill any holes needed in the handle before you actually start shaping it. I just clamp it up and use the drill press to drill my holes…. the one in the shaft is usually drilled with a cordless drill. I like to use a 5/16 or larger threaded rod to join the handles to the shaft. Some people prefer wooden tenons and use it as part of the design with an exposed wedged tenon. You do have to carve or shape that tenon on the shaft unless you use a wooden dowel. I pref...

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Part 4: Laying out and carving the leaves

1254 days ago by mpounders | 7 comments »

I like some of the beautiful gunstocks that I have seen and I like incorporating some of those carved elements in some canes that I do. These designs seem to work well in canes for both men and women, depending on how they are done. You can get patterns from leather working books and I have seen some canes carved using a pattern for a belt that was simply spiraled around the cane. You can trace leaves from your backyard and then use a copier to resize them to fit your cane, but I just draw mi...

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Part 5: Smoothing the background

1253 days ago by mpounders | 3 comments »

This is brief entry on smoothing and preparing the background. I do this to make the carved leaves and limbs really pop out from the background and it also makes the woodburning and other texturing go better. You really need a smooth surface to do good shading with a woodburner. So, I use a little cushioned drum sander to do most of the initial sanding and smoothing and then go over it all by hand, removing any little ridges or marks on the background left by my gouge or knife cuts. I am...

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Part 6: Woodburning the leaves

1252 days ago by mpounders | 6 comments »

Once I have the main forms roughed in, the fun begins with doing the details. This is my favorite part, since things really start to look good, to come into focus. Ususally, this part also goes pretty quick, in part because I think I get so involved with it that I ignore everything else and just zoom right through it. And since it is the fun part, sometimes carvers like to get right to this part instead of doing all of the important things that lead up to it. It is real important to block ...

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Part 7: Finishing Up

1249 days ago by mpounders | 3 comments »

I should be completeing this cane in the next day or two, but it is pretty much completed for all practical purposes. I did manage to cobble together a short video showing some additional texturing techniques that I used to finish off the woodburning. I put a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits on it to “yellow” it a little bit. And I have got the handle epoxied to the shaft using the pipe clamp jig in the video. I’ll brush it offf good and put on a cou...

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