The curved handle of a wood cane has to be functional, comfortable to hold and aesthetically pleasing. Its function dictates that it has to be strong enough to bear weight yet not be cumbersome when used or carried. The handle shape must fit the hand and feel smooth, while looks can add to the cane's appeal. Here's how to create a formed, laminated wooden handle that offers the benefits of a solid wood handle with additional strength and spring.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Pair of compasses
- Wood veneer
- Wood blank, 6 inches long, 5 inches wide, 1 inch thick.
- Stanley knife
- Coping saw
- Abrasive papers
- G clamps
- Drill bit
- Wax polish
Mark out handle profile on wood blank. Along 6 inch side of blank, mark midpoint. From that mark, draw arc of 1.5 inch radius on surface of blank, using compasses. Draw second arc of 2.5 inch radius from same point. Shade in area between two arcs. This is the waste wood to be removed. Repeat on second surface from same edge.
Secure wood vertically in vice. Holding coping saw handle in both hands using backward and forward motions, cut along the two curved lines to remove shaded waste wood. This will produce concave and convex components of the jigging tool that will be used to form the laminated handle.
Smooth the two curves using chisels and coarse grade abrasive paper to create even surfaces. Using a clean cloth, apply wax polish to the two surfaces to prevent formed handle from sticking to jig.
Creating the forming block or jigging tool
Cut veneer into strips 1" wide, 14" long using Stanley knife. Stack layers until 1" tall. Cut two strips of newspaper 1.5" wide, 14.5" long. These aid release of formed handle from jig and 'catch' surplus glue.
Dry-form handle. Place paper strip over concave curve of jig, overhanging both sides. Add veneer strips without overhang. Add second paper strip and lay convex curve on top, Tighten together using G-clamps.
Check that no gaps occur in formed handle and that jig is applying pressure evenly. Add or remove veneer strips as necessary until criteria met. Dis-assemble.
Glue strips of veneer together re-forming stack. Apply glue evenly to cover whole of each surface.
Laminate in jig as before. As jig is tightened glue should ooze out from between strips. Tighten to maximum possible. Clean off surplus glue. Allow to dry.
Laminating the handle
Remove laminated handle from jig, saw off rough ends. Mark position of centre of one end of handle by drawing diagonal lines.
Measure diameter of cane. Drill hole that size into end of handle to required depth.
Carve and shape handle using spokeshave, chisels and mallet. Remove edges and create rounded effect. Smooth using abrasive papers.
Glue cane into handle, remove surplus glue, allow to dry. Apply finish as required.
Shaping and fitting the handle.
Tips and warnings
- Draw around umbrella for handle shape.
- Smooth convex curve on sanding disc.
- Incorporate different coloured veneers for pattern in handle.
- Shape finger grooves by wrapping abrasive paper around dowel rod.
- Wear protective gloves when gluing, some adhesives may irritate skin.
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