Walking Stick #060: Fancy Manzanita Burl, Ebony & Purpleheart

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Project by mmh posted 10-18-2009 06:46 PM 4911 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a walking stick commissioned by a lady who is currently using her son’s walking stick to support herself as she has carpel tunnel syndrome in her right wrist and can not use a cane because it puts too much pressure on her wrist. The elevated height of the walking stick allows her to hold on to the handle and hang her wrist to eliminate pressure while still supporting herself.

Since the hand is in constant motion and opens to multiple angles I made the handle area to be ergonomic and accomodate her palm and fingers in at least three different places for her to hold on for support and rest her hand to help eliminate cramping. There are some natural voids that I had to fill and two of them are done in the technique I used for the Banksia Pod handle and Wood Lover’s Fabrege’ Egg entry to add a little mystique and gem quality.

The main handle is a piece of fancy Manzanita Burl Root that is using the natural grain of the root for ultimate strength. The collar is made of Gaboon Ebony and the shaft is Purpleheart. The walking stick is 51 inches tall at the palm rest area.

Comments and inquires welcome. For more information visit:

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

16 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3577 days

#1 posted 10-18-2009 06:49 PM

Hey Meilie
This is a wonderful cane fantastic work as all your canes are.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View rosewood's profile


234 posts in 3341 days

#2 posted 10-18-2009 07:04 PM

Hi Meillie,
Beautifull as always and you knew what your clients need,


View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 3804 days

#3 posted 10-18-2009 07:35 PM

Another tailormade and beautifully finished cane.

-- “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 scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 4069 days

#4 posted 10-18-2009 07:36 PM

Another very nice walking stick.I really like the natural shaping.

-- Scott NM,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3285 days

#5 posted 10-18-2009 08:05 PM

Sounds perfect for your customer and absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful work as always.

-- John @

View jefferson's profile


3 posts in 3147 days

#6 posted 10-18-2009 08:24 PM

Fantastic work. Is the shaft a natural stick or is it lumbar that’s been shaped to look like a natural shaft?

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3722 days

#7 posted 10-18-2009 08:30 PM

Thank you for all your comments.

The shaft is made from lumber stock of approximately 2×4 and cut and shaped to form. I don’t currently have a source for Purpleheart limbs. If I visit South America, maybe I can find one!

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

View lew's profile


12061 posts in 3755 days

#8 posted 10-19-2009 12:12 AM

Another Beauty, Meilie!

This handle must have presented some new challenges as it is different than anything I’ve seen you do. Do you take an impression of the customers hand in order to get the correct “fit”?


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

View OregonBurls's profile


580 posts in 3148 days

#9 posted 10-19-2009 01:24 AM

Hi Miilie, I love the artisticness of the mind. That is neet how you can craft a cane for a specific need.

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3767 days

#10 posted 10-19-2009 04:19 AM

Simply gorgeous…

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

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3722 days

#11 posted 10-19-2009 04:40 AM

Lew: Good questions.

I’m finding that each client has such specific needs that each is an individual challenge. I’ve been able to work with some people from afar by having them send me photos of them using their current cane or support, as this shows their hand grip and posture. I also have them send me a drawn outline of their hand so I can see how their hand is shaped, as we may all have 5 fingers, (4 fingers, 1 thumb), but the shapes and sizes can vary quite a bit, especially if one has arthritis. Fortunately I have been able to see some clients in person so I am interviewing and studying their needs. For this particular walking stick I had the client come for a fitting and confirm that the angle, shape and height were proper.

My current project involves a woman who has arthritis in two places on her hand plus carpel tunnel syndrome in the wrist. She can’t open her hand flat without pain and her grip is compromised. She has a history of a back operation that has not gone well. Her husband mentioned that “When she walks, she takes an extra step.” Well, that immediately alerted me that her back is too weak when she’s taking a step and she loses her internal support, so she’s falling, then catches herself in mid-step. She confirmed this and so I have to make a cane that 1) Her hand can grip without pain; 2) Her wrist won’t be weighed upon while she leans on the cane; 3) Her arm can lean on for extra support since her back can not support her in mid-step.

This one is going to be tricky, as I am working with wood, not metal and the stress points of her weight have to be considered in an extended handle. More to come!

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

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4246 days

#12 posted 10-19-2009 12:34 PM

Very nice Meilie, I have carpral tunnal and know how much it hurts using a regular cane, this looks like it would help a lot. Good thinking. m

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Rj's profile


1047 posts in 3631 days

#13 posted 10-19-2009 07:53 PM

Wow Meilie This is really nice I would be proud to show this off .

Outstanding work!!

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2734 posts in 3592 days

#14 posted 10-19-2009 08:14 PM

Beautiful Craftsmanship!!! Great job.

-- Dennis Zongker

View mmh's profile


3676 posts in 3722 days

#15 posted 11-03-2009 03:29 PM

The odd shape of this handle made it impossible for me to clamp it in my custom made clamp that was made for the 5ft. drill press, so I had to clamp this in a table based clamp and stand on a step stool, using a heavy duty drill I towered over the piece to drill freehand down into the end grain to make the hole for the dowel. The Gaboon Ebony piece and the Purpleheart are hard to begin with and the end grain it is almost impossible to drill into. And since the Purpleheart shaft is taller than the drill press will hold, I couldn’t use it. Needless to say the 3/4” forstner bit heated up quickly, so I had 60-90 seconds of drilling, then had to clean the bit and allow to cool. This process took me about 2 hours to complete.

The client came to pick this up and since I make my canes and walking sticks longer than needed, they can be cut to length. She refused to let me cut anything off! She was quite pleased and all of the niches I created for her fingers and palm seem to work quite well.

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

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