|Project by Dave Polaschek||posted 11-03-2016 03:14 PM||706 views||2 times favorited||4 comments|
In late October, I was scheduled for bi-lateral total knee replacemeant. Around the middle of the month, I had completed all of the “prep-work” I could, and was left basically keeping myself out of trouble. Seemed like a perfect time to start a new woodworking project, so I headed down to the local lumber-yard for a dig through the scraps bins. I found a clean piece of ash, four feet long, and a trapezoidal shape that looked like it would trim down to an inch by inch-and-a-half once I got it rectangular. The price? $3. Sold American!
Hmm. a cane for someone my height should be about 37-38 inches long, and with eight inches or so of handle, that’d be perfect. I’m going to make myself a cane!
Doing some research on the internet, the Derby and Fritz cane handle shapes looked most appealing to me, so I cut off about nine inches and started figuring out what parts weren’t part of the handle.
Knowing that my usual somewhat sloppy (but improving) joinery work wouldn’t make for a rock-solid handle, I did a little more reasearch. Draw-boring a dowel sounded like an interesting technique I hadn’t tried before, so let’s learn that! By offsetting the hole in the tenon by 1/16 inch from the hole in the mortise, a dowel driven through that hole will try to pull everything together more tightly, putting the load nicely on the shoulders of the tenon, and making a joint that even with “sloppy” 1/32” tolerances, would hold rock-solid. Perfect!
Test-fit things together, add some glue and put things together with the dowel. Man! That handle is on there solidly. I don’t think I’ll ever move it. Add in plenty of hand-shaping with a microplane rasp, some hand-radiusing using a slojd where the handle and shaft meet (I see why canes are so often made with collars now – that’s a tricky bit to get right), and a few coats of BLO, and all seems well. My knees are in, and as I walk from PT to the couch and back, I’m enjoying my new cane, and have gotten compliments from most of the health-care pros about what a handsome cane it is.
-- Dave - Minneapolis