Custom Fancy Cane #045: Black Walnut Crotch w/ Manzanita & Brazilian Cherry - Larsen Handle

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Project by mmh posted 03-29-2009 04:46 AM 4077 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a custom cane that I designed for a client who needs to put most of his weight on the pad of his thumb and palm area of his index and middle fingers. With limited finger use, I also had to make sure there was enough room for his fingers to rest and have enough surface for his palm to be comfortable when leaning on the cane. This was a definate challenge, but for a worthy cause, as this gentleman has such a positive and charming disposition. I have named this design the Larsen handle.

With his assistance, he made a clay handle and sent me photos of how he held his cane so I could see how his fingers wrapped around it and where his other fingers had to lay. I made the palm area flat and wide, but had to allow his thumb and first two fingers to wrap around the handle and cane for support. I left the front knob large and bulbous (“bulberous” for you creative types) and the handle swerves around to allow the last two fingers to rest against the wood without being pinched when in a closed position. The swirl at the end allows for a finger catch with some asethetic value.

I used the crotch piece of black walnut for ultimate support of the grain in a “Y” form for the handle. This also allows me to use a single piece to extend the neck of the handle. The collar is Manzanita Burl and joins to a shaft of solid Brazilian Cherry. It is somewhat a hefty piece, as it is made to carry his full weight when necessary. It is joined with a 3 inch 3/4” inner dowel of Ash, anchored with two 1/4” dowels.

For more of my work, please visit:

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

11 comments so far

View savannah505's profile


1813 posts in 3612 days

#1 posted 03-29-2009 04:54 AM

Very unique design, and it’s very cool that you could customize it to fit his hand and needs. Great job.

-- Dan Wiggins

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3781 days

#2 posted 03-29-2009 05:16 AM


From your explanation, the wood you used for the handle was perfectly suited for the gentleman’s requirements. Did you have that piece available or did you have to search for it?


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View KennethBirdine's profile


106 posts in 3744 days

#3 posted 03-29-2009 05:52 AM

Very nice, it looks really comfortable. Maybe on your next post you could include a couple pics of how the cane fits in the hand. Thanks for posting.


View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4009 days

#4 posted 03-29-2009 06:45 AM

beautiful work … amazing shapes with flawless surfaces

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3830 days

#5 posted 03-29-2009 07:56 AM

You have made a magnificent design to suit the needs of the gentleman. This requires lot of imagination and good knowledge of human anatomy. I am sure you will make many more custom designs. The use of wood is also very thoughtful.
I am curious about the word ‘bulberous’. Do you mean bulbous or the word you have used exists?

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#6 posted 03-29-2009 03:50 PM

Very nice job of customizing to meet a need.

Sharad: We Americans make up new words whenever we want. It is just our way of keeping the rest of the world on their toes. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3748 days

#7 posted 03-29-2009 04:07 PM

Well Sharad, you are correct, and so is Charlie. The correct word is bulbous, but I happen to like the extra syllable in bulberous. I think it’s a bit more poetic, don’t you? If one can’t be creative in what ever they do, then life will be quite boring!

Thanks for all the comments.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3553 days

#8 posted 03-29-2009 05:58 PM

Artistic engineering, very cool. Great job on that! So fun to do such custom work. I bet the new owner was ecstatic. Great, thanks for sharing.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2745 posts in 3618 days

#9 posted 03-30-2009 01:35 AM

Great looking cane!!! Beautiful craftsmanship!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3748 days

#10 posted 04-01-2009 05:05 AM

Lew: I had the crotch piece of black walnut in stock. Since only one end of the board had the crotch grain and the rest was straight, it wasn’t a piece of wood that struck you to make something with, such as cabinetry, but the “Y” in the grain was perfect for this project. Since the board was about 18” long, I decided to use the length and make the neck of the handle as long as possible, as I did with the Knotted Almond Cane #045A . Making the piece to match the grain was a fun challenge in itself. This way I never know what the final design is going to be until I dive in.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3793 days

#11 posted 04-01-2009 05:29 AM

This is my favorite cane…so far. A beautiful piece of timber masterfully sculpted. My mother just had hip replacement surgery, perhaps we could arrange a swap?

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

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