Recommendations for cane materials?

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Blackstaff

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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...

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.

Wow, I had no idea there could be an allergic reaction!

I tested a carbon fiber cane for about one day before I returned it--for the price I just didn't want to stick with it--and everything was fine. But I am not sure one day is enough to gauge a possible allergic reaction or not.

Thanks to PDG for info on properly made CF canes, etc. I do not have enough experience to know which ones on the market are made properly. Although I could learn, since there are no brick and mortar shops nearby that sell canes, my stuff comes from online, so I would have to order individual models and check them each to see whether they are properly made, assuming I could get it right.

It IS good to know that about them, though. Some of my information on carbon fiber's relative brittle nature comes from reading about its applications in bike frames, since that is a less specialized market.
 

Flying Crane

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Wow, I had no idea there could be an allergic reaction!

I tested a carbon fiber cane for about one day before I returned it--for the price I just didn't want to stick with it--and everything was fine. But I am not sure one day is enough to gauge a possible allergic reaction or not.

Thanks to PDG for info on properly made CF canes, etc. I do not have enough experience to know which ones on the market are made properly. Although I could learn, since there are no brick and mortar shops nearby that sell canes, my stuff comes from online, so I would have to order individual models and check them each to see whether they are properly made, assuming I could get it right.

It IS good to know that about them, though. Some of my information on carbon fiber's relative brittle nature comes from reading about its applications in bike frames, since that is a less specialized market.
I am no expert, but I suspect that one could have allergies to components of carbon fiber while in a pure and unfinished format, meaning a powder or something. The powder or dust of these things are more reactive than a finished product and would be more likely to cause a reaction. Once the components are properly mixed and the final product is stabilized, I suspect an allergic reaction would be rare. But, still good to be aware of the possibility.

Some hardwoods, especially exotics from Africa and South and Central America have natural oils that can cause allergic reactions as well. These are far more common when working with the wood and being exposed to the dust. In some people they can cause respiratory problems or sinus infections, in others they cause skin allergies and blisters or eczema. I have had some reactions to some hardwoods, getting the skin reactions. But when the wood is finished and sealed with a proper sealant, I think those reactions would be unusual.
 

pdg

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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.

I've heard of plenty of reactions to the resin ingredients during layup (with both carbon and glass fibre resins) but not after the products have been cured and finished.

It'd be worth knowing whether your reactions continued with regard to finished items or whether they were restricted to the fumes and/or contact with raw compounds?
 

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Some of my information on carbon fiber's relative brittle nature comes from reading about its applications in bike frames, since that is a less specialized market.

I think that much of the info regarding brittleness is a shade out of date...

These days, carbon frame failures are no more likely than ALU frames, and many bikes feature carbon forks (quite possibly the part most susceptible).

In addition to the frames and forks, carbon handlebars and seatposts are quite popular and common - think about the load profile on those things - if the material was inherently brittle that would be the worst possible application (supported at one end, loaded at the other and subjected to large variation in load and vibration).

These are on all sorts of bikes too - from featherweight roadies through to downhill bikes that are quite literally thrown down a mountain as fast as possible.


And then there's Motorsport application as well - carbon fibre struts hold the wheels on to F1 cars, and the wings and supports are CF too. And plenty of sports road cars have more than few critical CF components.
 
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I've heard of plenty of reactions to the resin ingredients during layup (with both carbon and glass fibre resins) but not after the products have been cured and finished.

It'd be worth knowing whether your reactions continued with regard to finished items or whether they were restricted to the fumes and/or contact with raw compounds?
Exposure can cause long-term effects, it is similar to poison oak or ivy. But, it comes back every so often. As a matter of fact, I dealt with it yesterday morning. Itchy but no boils, sometimes it is boils.

It literally caused me to change careers.

But others might be different, that is the issue, the side effects, are not yet known.

It did calm down after I got out of that line of work.
 

wab25

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These guys make martial arts weapons and walking sticks from Hickory: Bokken, Jo and Related Wooden Weapons I have a Hanbo that they made, very nice. These Hickory weapons hold up very well. This video (watch part 2 to see him testing the bokken) shows how well they hold up. Notice how he talks about having tried to break it on 3 occasions, unsuccessfully. Note that he reviews bokkens by breaking them against the tree in his back yard. He has broken bokkens made of most of the other hard woods you can think of... he just can't break the Hickory one. (its kind of fun to watch his other videos breaking these expensive hardwood, laminated, "indestructable" bokkens)

Now, Kingfisher is expensive... but they are very good. However, I bring this up to show how much abuse Hickory can take. I would go with a nice Hickory cane.

 
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I think that much of the info regarding brittleness is a shade out of date...

These days, carbon frame failures are no more likely than ALU frames, and many bikes feature carbon forks (quite possibly the part most susceptible).

In addition to the frames and forks, carbon handlebars and seatposts are quite popular and common - think about the load profile on those things - if the material was inherently brittle that would be the worst possible application (supported at one end, loaded at the other and subjected to large variation in load and vibration).

These are on all sorts of bikes too - from featherweight roadies through to downhill bikes that are quite literally thrown down a mountain as fast as possible.


And then there's Motorsport application as well - carbon fibre struts hold the wheels on to F1 cars, and the wings and supports are CF too. And plenty of sports road cars have more than few critical CF components.

That makes a lot of sense, actually. I wonder if the process just wasn't too refined when carbon fiber bike frames were just coming on the scene. If I could get two carbon fiber canes I'd test one, but they're usually rather pricey if you want just something to beat on for strength tests.
 
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These guys make martial arts weapons and walking sticks from Hickory: Bokken, Jo and Related Wooden Weapons I have a Hanbo that they made, very nice. These Hickory weapons hold up very well. This video (watch part 2 to see him testing the bokken) shows how well they hold up. Notice how he talks about having tried to break it on 3 occasions, unsuccessfully. Note that he reviews bokkens by breaking them against the tree in his back yard. He has broken bokkens made of most of the other hard woods you can think of... he just can't break the Hickory one. (its kind of fun to watch his other videos breaking these expensive hardwood, laminated, "indestructable" bokkens)

Now, Kingfisher is expensive... but they are very good. However, I bring this up to show how much abuse Hickory can take. I would go with a nice Hickory cane.


Always like to see stuff in action, will check these out thanks!
 
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Another option for a heavy duty "usage" cane is Cold Steel. They make a few models, they always aren't the prettiest in comparison to some of the woods listed, but very durable.

Walkabout Walking Stick by Cold Steel

I picked up a similar model from United Cutlery (Cold Steel does make a few of my favorite knife models despite their rather gimmicky way of advertising) that is pretty cool. There's no doubt it is sturdy... I guess I just occasionally feel like I'm using the same thing every single day and I occasionally look around to see if I can change things up.
 

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These guys make martial arts weapons and walking sticks from Hickory: Bokken, Jo and Related Wooden Weapons I have a Hanbo that they made, very nice. These Hickory weapons hold up very well. This video (watch part 2 to see him testing the bokken) shows how well they hold up. Notice how he talks about having tried to break it on 3 occasions, unsuccessfully. Note that he reviews bokkens by breaking them against the tree in his back yard. He has broken bokkens made of most of the other hard woods you can think of... he just can't break the Hickory one. (its kind of fun to watch his other videos breaking these expensive hardwood, laminated, "indestructable" bokkens)

Now, Kingfisher is expensive... but they are very good. However, I bring this up to show how much abuse Hickory can take. I would go with a nice Hickory cane.

One of the features of hickory is that the grain of the wood wants to hang on. So if it breaks, it breaks gradually and does not typically just splinter and fly apart all at once. I think that characteristic just helps it be highly durable altogether. Makes it very desirable for things like axe and maul handles.
 

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I think that much of the info regarding brittleness is a shade out of date...

These days, carbon frame failures are no more likely than ALU frames, and many bikes feature carbon forks (quite possibly the part most susceptible).

In addition to the frames and forks, carbon handlebars and seatposts are quite popular and common - think about the load profile on those things - if the material was inherently brittle that would be the worst possible application (supported at one end, loaded at the other and subjected to large variation in load and vibration).

These are on all sorts of bikes too - from featherweight roadies through to downhill bikes that are quite literally thrown down a mountain as fast as possible.


And then there's Motorsport application as well - carbon fibre struts hold the wheels on to F1 cars, and the wings and supports are CF too. And plenty of sports road cars have more than few critical CF components.
yes but not all carbon fibre is created equal, r on expensive frames they go to considerable lengths to make it complient in one direction and stiff in another. on cheap examples it's just stiff and prone to breakingt if you throw it down a mountain as theres no give in it .but what's it's really bad at is absorbing inpact damage where steel or ali would deform and then go back to it's original shape( or just be a little dint) it just spits.
that
at its optimum such as motor racing it's a phenomenal material, cheap Chinese cf wheels off ebay are another matter they are either brittle or if they strengh them heavier than Ali by some margin, which slightly defeats the point of them
 
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