Rootcanes start out as being made by Mother Nature. The shaft of the cane is the trunk of a young tree or sturdy shrub, while the handle is actually the plant’s root. The combination makes for some beautiful graining in the handle and something stronger than man could ever make! I do also occasionally carve walking sticks/staffs.
Every available rootcane will have at least one picture showing the shape of the handle. There will also be a note as to whether or not it’s comfortable, geared for a larger hand, etc. and its length from the top of the handle to the base of its tip. If there is no note concerning the comfort of the handle, you may assume that it’s medium thickness and comfortable.
A rough guide as to the length that a cane needs to be is —
Hold your arm straight down at your side
Have someone measure from the middle of your wrist to the ground
Have a professional (physical therapist for example) check the cane with the user. You can always twist off the rubber tip, cut off any excess and put the tip back on. It’s better to start with a cane a tiny bit too long than too short.
I’ve discovered that tung oil holds up best to whatever oils/sweat our hands excrete, so every cane has 10 to 13 thin coats of tung oil on it. It gives a nice, watery appearance to the finish.
Generally speaking, my canes are made of sumac (creamy colored with dark brown bark/graining), dogwood (a creamy pink with almost burgundy bark and graining) or hawthorn (yellowish with dark brown). Sumac is very light, but sturdy. All the canes should need maintenance-wise is an occasional waxing — I use old-fashioned paste wax like you use on hardwood floors or woodworkers’ finishing wax.
I will consider carving a custom cane or walking stick/staff, incorporating something of interest to the user. Contact me to discuss. I’ve found a number of people are interested in genealogy canes. If you’re interested, please ask me for details. A custom cane takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks — time to do the carving, the sanding, any handle shaping, staining and all those coats of tung oil, which I allow to dry hard for 24 hours (at least) between coats.
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROPER USE OF ANY OF MY CANES. I carve them for the pleasure they bring and so that those of us who have to use a cane aren’t stuck with only ugly orthopedic-looking accessories. If the user is exceptionally heavy, I can’t guarantee that the cane will hold up to their weight; however, I can say that my canes have been used regularly by people weighing 275 lbs. plus with no problems.
Some of my sticks come with notes or stories; others are self-explanatory. I hope you enjoy them!