Custom Tall Cane #143: Fancy Briar Burl, Makassar & Gabon Ebony

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Project by mmh posted 355 days ago 1501 views 8 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an elegant but very sturdy cane for a client who wanted a cane that he could enjoy for many years. He is a collector of pipes and expressed interest in Briar Burl and Makassar Ebony as two of his favorite woods. I was fortunate to find the briar burl and had a top quality piece of Makassar that was ready to use, as I had purchased the shaft stock green several years ago, and just recently I have come to realize that a tightly patterned piece such as this would be a challenge to find, especially dry and ready to use.

Many who turn wood like to use green wood, as it’s not as dense and hard as cured wood, thus easier on the cutting tools, but my work has to be ready to use and turning such a length of wood in it’s green state would cause a problem with uncontrolled warping and shrinkage during the drying period, so my stock must be dry when I work with it.

The handle is made from solid Briar Burl that is shaped to fit either hand, so there are subtle curves to allow one’s fingers to fit comfortably around and under the handle that make this an asymmetrical piece. There is a slight taper on each end of the handle to give a bit more geometric design to an otherwise organic shape.

The collar is a nice solid black Gabon Ebony that helps the transition of colors of the variegated Makassar Ebony. The pattern of the Makassar Ebony is so stately and prominent that it made it difficult to match with an equally stunning, yet different type of wood that could hold it’s own for a completed piece that would be elegant and unique. With the assistance of the client’s interests and the blessings of the Wood Gods, I am very happy with the end result and hope my client will enjoy his cane for many years to come.

One note on using Briar Burl, as with any wood, is that there is always the chance of a void showing in your work, especially in the most inopportune location. For the most part this was a solid piece of stock to work with but when I came down to the final millimeters of shaping, a long thin void emerged and would not disappear as hoped. I used very fine dust from sanding with a 400 grit paper to fill the void and stabilize it with CA glue. This technique will hopefully give enough body of wood dust into the void and allow it to oxidize along with the rest of the handle, as my client mentioned that the use of wood filler in pipes creates a pale spot and devalues the pipe drastically.

The last photo shows the Briar Burl rough stock and a Ziricote Burl handle that I made in attempt to match the Makassar Ebony with an equally stunning wood. The Briar Burl stock was originally cut for making pipes so I had to reshape it for my needs.

This simple piece gave me many problems to resolve, but the journey and end result was well worth the labor and time.

Comments and inquires welcome. Please visit Big Stick Canes for more of my work or Canes for Sale

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

14 comments so far

View lew's profile


9921 posts in 2342 days

#1 posted 355 days ago

WOW, Meilie! This is gorgeous!!

The tapered collar makes a beautiful transition from the handle to the shaft.

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

View Benji Reyes's profile

Benji Reyes

290 posts in 1665 days

#2 posted 355 days ago

Beautiful choice of woods. One of your best canes yet. I love the ergonomics of the handle.

-- Benji Reyes, Antipolo, Philippines,

View Ken90712's profile


14821 posts in 1776 days

#3 posted 355 days ago

Wow is right, A real beauty! The finish work in this is Amazing!!!!!!!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Vince's profile


946 posts in 2016 days

#4 posted 355 days ago

Very nice work, it has a smooth transition and a sleek look. I really like it.

-- Vince

View michelletwo's profile


2174 posts in 1602 days

#5 posted 355 days ago

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen one of your canes. this one is a beauty.

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Dennis Zongker's profile (online now)

Dennis Zongker

2398 posts in 2179 days

#6 posted 354 days ago

Hi Meilie,

Yes, this cane is very elegant!!! Clean and Crisp with a beautiful wood selection!

-- Dennis Zongker

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 1500 days

#7 posted 354 days ago

That is a Beaut! Very Nice Work!
Elegant and Beautiful!

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

View mpounders's profile


707 posts in 1482 days

#8 posted 354 days ago

Gorgeous! Simple and spectacular at the same time. I wish I could make joints so nice!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View BarbS's profile


2433 posts in 2672 days

#9 posted 354 days ago

Ah, Mellie, that is spectacular. Your canes are wonderful!


View balidoug's profile


363 posts in 1065 days

#10 posted 354 days ago


-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View Spoontaneous's profile


1282 posts in 1917 days

#11 posted 354 days ago

THAT is one beautiful ‘stick’. Very nicely done.

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

View Roger's profile (online now)


13989 posts in 1391 days

#12 posted 354 days ago

That is powerfully beautiful!

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

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4291 posts in 879 days

#13 posted 354 days ago

Beautiful work!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Druid's profile


586 posts in 1382 days

#14 posted 343 days ago

Beautifully done. Looks like a nice comfortable grip.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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