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How to Make Cane Handles

Canes come in all shapes and sizes.
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One of the most attractive and utilitarian parts of a cane is its handle. Cane handles may be simple in design or intricate. The cane handle is often what people notice first. Custom-made canes may be purchased, but the price is often high. Use a few basic woodworking tools and techniques to create a custom cane handle, saving the cost of purchasing a professionally made cane.

Things You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Electric Drill
  • Spray Lacquer
  • Wood
  • Sandpaper
  • Electric Palm Sander
  • Double-Sided Masking Tape
  • Band Saw
  • Forstner Drill Bits
  • Epoxy Glue

Design the cane handle. The primary elements to consider are size and comfort. The handle has to be large enough to easily grasp. It also has to feel comfortable since it will be held for extended periods of time. Base the design on a manufactured cane handle to ensure a safe and comfortable grip. Draw the handle to scale on a piece of paper. This drawing is the cutting template.

Transfer the design. Cut out the template with a pair of scissors. Attach the template to the wood being used as the handle. Use double-sided masking tape to hold the template in place.

Leave a small border around the drawn line when cutting.
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Cut the handle out. Use a band saw to cut out the handle’s shape. The blade of the band saw should be positioned to leave a 1/16-inch border around the drawn line. The band saw’s blade is offset so it leaves a rough edge. The extra 1/16-inch of material will be sanded off.

Locate the handle’s mounting hole. Cane shafts are typically 1-inch in diameter. Therefore, the mounting hole needs to match the diameter of the shaft. Turn the rough cut handle over so its bottom side faces upward. Draw a line to denote the center of the handle. Mark the position where the cane’s shaft will mount to the handle along the drawn line.

A Forstner drill bit creates a cylindrical hole.
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Drill the mounting hole. Use an electric drill to bore out a hole the same diameter as the shaft. The hole should be 1-inch deep. Use a Forstner drill bit to bore a cylindrical hole. Conventional drill bits create angled holes that do not provide a large enough gluing surface.

The palm sander makes shaping the handle a quick process.
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Shape the handle. Use a palm sander to remove the rough spots left over from cutting the handle. Once the rough spots are removed, use the palm sander to round over the edges. The handle needs to feel comfortable in the hand. Sharp corners will cause discomfort with prolonged use of the cane. Sand the edges down until the handle feels comfortable. Start with 120-grit sandpaper, switching to 220-grit sandpaper and finally 320-grit sandpaper for the final sanding.

Finish the handle. Use spray lacquer to finish the handle. Hold the spray can 4 inches above the handle, using quick left to right passes to apply the lacquer. Apply at least three coats of lacquer. Allow two hours drying time between coats.

Glue the handle to the shaft. Line the inside of the mounting hole with a layer of epoxy glue. Place the shaft of the cane into the hole. Allow 24 hours drying time.

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