Sumac Cane

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Project by mpounders posted 04-05-2012 04:06 AM 2244 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have sold or given away most of my stockpile of canes, so I’ve started working on some just to have something to take on walks! This is a piece of sumac a friend gave me. It is a light-weight wood, with a shallow root that grows to the side, making a handle for a cane. The bark peeled easily when it was green, but I was glad I wore nitrile gloves to keep the sap off my hands. I kept it in a plastic bag between carving sessions, and gradually let it dry out for about a month. No cracks so far! I like twisty sticks that have been shaped by vines, and i decided to do a spiral pattern on the handle that somewhat imitates those sticks. I carved a scale pattern below that, mainly for practice, but it provides a good grip and looks good. Then I did a freehand styilized leaf pattern below that. The sumac was really nice to carve and was a nice white color, but I didn’t want something quite that white….so I used a thin wash of gray acrylic paint to give it a weathered, silver color and used the same wash to darken some of the shadows. The last picture shows another piece that has been cl;eaned a bit, but gives you more of an idea how the cane started out. Thanks for looking!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

15 comments so far

View Spoontaneous's profile


1324 posts in 2333 days

#1 posted 04-05-2012 11:22 AM

Mike ~ Gotta tell you that I really like this cane. There is something about it that is full of character. It looks to me like something you would see in a movie about wizards and hobbits… or the such. It just looks like it comes from another time or age…. or land. Very cool piece.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View jackthelab's profile


307 posts in 1696 days

#2 posted 04-05-2012 11:27 AM

Very cool – we are always on the look out for sumac – especially what we locally call stag horn sumac. It has the most unique yellow, light green color in its finished wood. Makes very nice jewelry.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

View Lidiya Blaznina's profile

Lidiya Blaznina

877 posts in 1542 days

#3 posted 04-05-2012 11:31 AM

Beautiful and very creative this cane,Mike!!!


View stefang's profile


14609 posts in 2337 days

#4 posted 04-05-2012 12:45 PM

Fantasic cane Mike! I like everything about it. It looks both carved and natural at the same time. Quite a design trick and good inspiration as I actually need a cane now.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodbridge's profile


3222 posts in 1421 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 12:48 PM

You really transfomed that wood into something quite good looking. I can’t imagine how ling it took to do all tose scales and I really like the carved leaves,

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View StumpyNubs's profile


6551 posts in 1804 days

#6 posted 04-05-2012 01:35 PM

That thing is so nice I have lost the will to walk on my own!

Thanks for posting!
Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
New episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is now online!

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View mpounders's profile


775 posts in 1899 days

#7 posted 04-05-2012 03:56 PM

Thanks all! I think I have less than 8 hours in this cane, in part because the wood carved easily. I used a 5mm wide #11 sweep gouge and just pushed it dtright in to form the outline of the scale. I did this in a spiral pattern around the shaft and tried to do it like a “bricklayer” pattern. It looks ok just like that, but I used the same gouge to dish out the surface of each scale, making a couple of additional cuts pushed up under the scale above it. Fish scales aren’t too bad, but snake scales require about 5 cuts per scale (if I’m lucky)!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Roger's profile


17491 posts in 1807 days

#8 posted 04-05-2012 04:26 PM

Very kool kane

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

13926 posts in 2986 days

#9 posted 04-05-2012 09:06 PM

one of the best canes on LJ’s … the spiral handle is very creative,

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

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2531 days

#10 posted 04-05-2012 10:02 PM

Like it lots!

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

View a1Jim's profile


113635 posts in 2580 days

#11 posted 04-05-2012 10:23 PM

I agree that it looks are most whimsical like some thing out off Harry Potter . A most unique caine and wonderful carving.

-- Custom furniture

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 1917 days

#12 posted 04-06-2012 12:13 AM

NEAT-O——MIKE-O! Great Job!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View whitedog's profile


650 posts in 2461 days

#13 posted 04-06-2012 12:48 AM

Count me in as one who likes this oneā€¦ but I must admit I like almost all of your canes and carvings.

-- Paul , Calfornia

View knottysticks's profile


266 posts in 2033 days

#14 posted 04-06-2012 03:09 AM

Another great one bud – just keep them coming !!!

-- Everyday above ground is a good day.

View Eli Adamit's profile

Eli Adamit

560 posts in 2293 days

#15 posted 04-06-2012 04:38 AM

very nice, you succeed to give the feeling like the cane was wrapped by a thick bandage or cloth.

-- Eli Adamit, Israel

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