|Project by mmh||posted 234 days ago||1240 views||8 times favorited||14 comments|
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.
-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe