Recommendations for cane materials?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Blackstaff, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm posting here since I thought people who might practice with sticks or staffs might have some good recommendations. I am disabled from birth and must use a cane to walk. I have a few, but I window shop a lot as a hobby and I like the look for a lot of carbon fiber models. The problem is, I have heard it can fracture or crack easily.

    I need a cane for support, but I would like to add some robust ones that also look nice. I don't need the cane for any kind of heavy abuse, because if it broke I could not move, but it would be nice to know that it would be a strong one that could withstand a lot, just for the peace of mind. I've had generic canes break before, but luckily in my home where I could reach another. I guess I am asking here because many of you may know existing models you could recommend. I wish the carbon fiber ones were sturdier (and maybe they are and I just don't know) but if something happens and it breaks, I'd be in trouble.

    I do some solo training just for fun, so it would be nice if I found something that could withstand some strikes, but since I am mobility-challenged, obviously I can't use this in a fight, etc. I know some people who train with sticks have multiples in different materials, and obviously holding them in your hands is different from using them as support, but I would like to hear your thoughts.

    I picked up a few solid wood and nylon ones, I suppose I should just be happy with those. Just seeing if there's anything out there I am missing. Thank you everyone.
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hickory is a very strong and durable wood. It is used in making axe and maul handles, so that says something. It can be finished to be attractive as well. I’ve made a couple of hiking staves, long staff and spear poles with it. I haven’t tested any of them to destruction, but it has a good reputation.
     
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  3. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Thank you very much! Hickory does have quite the historical reputation, from what I understand.

    I wish I had the resources to test multiple sticks to destruction because I'd like to do it myself. I've been looking for videos that test canes, but of course it is not really a subject many have interest in.
     
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’ve never made a cane with a curved handle, only hiking staves of about shoulder height. A couple times I had some leftover length after the staff, and I shaped it into a short stick, probably 2 feet long. It is really stout, I feel like all of these things are serious bone-crunchers if it ever came to it. That goes for the short sticks or the longer staffs and poles.

    When I was younger and training capoeira, we also trained a stick and machete dance called maculele. In the dance, you clash the sticks or machetes together with a partner. I was using a hickory axe handle that I cut into two pieces, everyone else was using various sticks that they found or acquired otherwise. They made me ditch the axe handle because I was destroying everyone’s sticks. And that was not the point of the dance.

    I say you can’t go wrong with hickory, as long as you finish it and give it some weather protection. I don’t have a lathe, instead I shape them on a belt sander. It takes longer, I’m guessing, but I’ve had excellent results, I can make them nearly perfectly round just rolling them over and over on the belt sander. Sand them lengthwise, not across the grain. I buy a plank of hickory from a lumber yard, about an inch and a half thick by however wide, by longer than I want the finished piece so there is extra room for error. I cut them into square strips an inch and a half on a side, and then work them on the sander.

    Honestly, I might be persuaded to make something for you if you want to talk about it. I’ve never made one with a curved handle, I’m not sure how to go about that. It requires a lot of steaming and I’ve never experimented with that. But I’m sure I could make one with a knob on the end, tapering down on the shaft.

    Let me know, and we can talk through private message, to work out the details.
     
  5. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    I'd be happy to send you a couple of messages later when I get a bit of time to compose them.

    I actually like the look of straighter canes, but I have never tried to use one for support. I wonder if it might hurt to press down on them, I am not sure. The curved or crook canes are also nice because you can put them over your arm if you need to use both hands for something. You can always try to lean it against something as well, but they can fall over.
     
  6. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I've made a few canes and have gone out of my way to bang them up.
    Hickory is great. I've begun to order them from Tractor and Supply Company (TSC) for about $15.00 each.
     
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  7. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, I figure I could put a rounded knob on the top, thick enough to be comfortable in the hand. Maybe even shape it a bit to be kind of pistol-gripped.
     
  8. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Haha,I might have exactly that cane. Definitely have one from TSC, for about that price. Did not know it was hickory!
     
  9. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Sounds interesting! Thank you for reaching out. I will hopefully have some time to interface with you tomorrow.
     
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  10. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

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    I purchased a cane a while back for Hapkido techniques, and it was made out of Rosewood, it was a good looking thing, orangy brown, with a darker grain, strong smooth and never cracked or split, so that's my recommendation.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a few I really like. My sturdiest (haven't tested to destruction) is probably my white oak (I have a pair made probably 20 years ago by Ed Martin).

    I've been toying with making one out of purple heart wood, which the Karate folks at the dojo seem to really like for their staves. I found a supplier where I can buy a dowel rod - I just need to decide if I'm willing to learn to bend it properly (or perhaps just put a brass handle on it).
     
  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I looked at the website, I don’t think the $15 cane is hickory. There are one or two that are labeled hickory, I think their price is closer to $50.
     
  13. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Hi Blackstaff, welcome to Martial Talk, brother.

    If these guys help you with a cane you're going to have to name it. I suggest Kwai Chang. :)
     
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  14. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    No doubt! I have a couple names for some of my other canes, it's always a good idea. I have an old sword-cane called Lawrence. ;)
     
  15. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    I thought it was probably a bit too inexpensive for that. It's also not very heavy, and I had a feeling most hickory canes (though I've never handled one to my knowledge) were likely a bit denser/heavier, given the strength of the wood.
     
  16. Blackstaff

    Blackstaff White Belt

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    Just a general thanks to everyone so far for being so friendly and helpful in my search. I don't have the footwork necessary to succeed at martial arts myself thanks to the disability, but I like to study it as a hobby.
     
  17. Blackjack oak, if you can find a straight piece.

    On another note, an old man using a cane against 3 teenagers, was the first time I had seen the Martial Arts used. He took those boys down quick with that cane and just kept walking as if nothing happened.

    It was simply badassery at its finest.
     
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  18. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I don't have any cane experience, but a little with carbon fibre...

    I wouldn't have any worries at all about a (properly made) CF cane - I have a few tools with carbon or glass fibre parts that I trust far more than the wooden alternatives, given that I've had the wooden ones fail on me.

    The only problem might be identifying which ones are properly made if you have no experience with the material...
     
  19. Another thing to be sure of with CF, is an allergic reaction. I worked with carbon fiber, during the molding process and I turned out to be highly allergic to some of the compounds.

    Really, take that into consideration. You might not know if you are or not. CF is one of those materials that was ok'd but not tested for health problems.
     
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  20. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    TSC canes are from U.S. Whip. I contacted U.S. Whip who stated their canes are mostly hickory however are listed as 'Hardwood' due to from time to time hickory not being available and oak is substituted in order to maintain supplies. So it is possible to get an oak cane rather than hickory. Oak will have more of an open grain that the tight close grain of hickory. The canes I've gotten from them are all hickory.
     
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