Making the Walking Cane with Paul

Our cane comes together with a single joint and a joint no other modern-day cane has. It’s strong and resilient and will last as long as the cane itself if it’s well made and fitted together rightly. The next phase in construction is shaping and for this we rely on rasps and spokeshave, planes and chisels and files.

Once the shaft is connected to the handle you can start to shape the cane. The two component parts can be shaped before glue up or after. In the video I show how to do this as separated parts, but I find it is as easy to do it when the components are fitted and glued together.

15: If you choose to glue the handle to the shaft first you must cut saw kerfs into the tenon of the shaft as show. Notice these cuts angle in slightly toward the centre of the shaft at the bottom. start at about 6mm (1/4″) and go to about 8mm (5/16″).

16: Cut wedges the width of the mortise hole 10mm (3/8″) and make them from zero to about 4mm (3/16″ max) and the length of the tenon.

17: Making certain both shoulders have no gaps, glue up the tenon and assemble with the stem secured in the vise, glue and drive the wedges into the saw kerfs.

18: Remove the wedges with a coping saw.

19: The long shaft can be rounded using the spokeshave, plane or rasp. If the rasp is a good rasp it will take off the corners rapidly. The plane gives greater accuracy for this and of course cuts differently than the rasp and so too the spokeshave works in similar fashion to the plane because technically it is in fact a plane but with side handles instead of inline handles.

Which ever tool you choose, remove the corners of the shaft at 45-degrees first, to about 8mm wide and no more. Then remove the hard edges you create by altering your angle of presentation to the wood. Any remaining hard corners can be removed with the card scraper but I would leave that for now if you plan on form the twist in the shaft. Most of any refining work will be cut away if that is the case.

20: The handle is shaped mostly with the rasp. This simply a question of rounding over all of the hard corners with successive strokes and feeling the handle in your hand until it feels comfortable.

21: The internal corners where the shaft meets the handle can be a little awkward but more awkward to describe I think. Nibble away with a knife and/or chisel. Place the chisel across the corner and press, then chisel along the handle or shaft toward the corner and that knife cut. …and then come from the opposite corner to meet as a mitre in the corner.

This is how the connection should look when completed.

22: Now you can refine the handle and the shaft with a the thin card scraper as shown. Unless of course you are shaping the shaft with the raps in which case do only the handle and the top section if the shaft. I will show you the procedure for twisting the shaft shortly