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How to Carve Designs for Wood Canes

    Choosing the Wood and Design

    • 1). Select the wood for the handle or cane topper. Softer woods allow for more detailed work. Some favorites are black walnut, butternut, basswood, English walnut, soft maple and black cherry.

    • 2). Decide whether you will cut your own staff or use milled wood. If you are cutting your own staff, wait until late fall or early winter when the sap has settled. Wild wood can take years to dry and cure to an appropriate strength for carving a walking cane. Some popular choices are ash, apple, black cherry, dogwood and oak. Avoid maple, poplar, willow and sycamore.

    • 3). Choose the height for your cane. A walking stick is held by the top of the cane and should come to the hip. A market stick is a bit longer and is gripped just below the head.

    • 4). Decide on your design. This could be something you already have in mind, or the shape of the stick might dictate the design. You might want to work on a friendship cane with a fellow carver; each carver works on half of the cane, then joins the pieces for the finished product.

    • 5). Drill a hole a half-inch wide and about 2 inches deep into your handle. Rig the drill with a stop-gauge bit so you don't dig deeper than intended.

    • 6). Stick a dowel into the handle's hole and align it with your staff piece. Mark where the two fit together.

    • 7). Drill between 4 and 5 inches into the staff; now these pieces will be ready to join when you finish carving.

    • 8). Begin carving the design.

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