Making a bamboo cane is a skill that can create a one-of-a-kind piece that will be strong, durable and last for many years. Bamboo is a sustainable building material, making it much preferred to wood to make a cane.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fine-tooth saw
- Outdoor fire pit (optional)
- 4 rags
- Long-handled tongs
- Cold water
- Linseed oil
Harvest several pieces of bamboo in the fall or winter to reduce the chance of mouldy bamboo. Saw off several pieces of bamboo each to the exact length of the cane you desire. Take into consideration the bent handle part of the cane when measuring. If you don't have access to fresh bamboo, purchase a piece. If it is brownish in colour (not green), it has already been cured so you can skip Step 3.
Use a piece of rebar that is longer than your bamboo pole to hollow out the nodes in the centre of the bamboo. Shove the rebar into the centre of the bamboo pole, sliding it in and out. Take care not to push the rebar all the way through the pole; you want to make sure the last node on the bottom of the bamboo remains intact.
Cure the bamboo by allowing it to dry out for about six months to a year. Stand it upright in a vertical position on a concrete surface that is protected from rain. Some pieces will crack, so discard those and keep the good ones. If you wish to speed up the curing process, put the bamboo over an outdoor fire pit, rotating it occasionally and taking care not to burn it. This will remove the moisture and kill any bugs inside.
Use a blowtorch on the part of the cane you want to bend. Rotate the bamboo, taking care to torch the entire circumference. Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth.
Fill the bamboo with sand. Tap it with a rock or something hard to make sure the sand goes down to the bottom and compresses. Stuff a rag in the top of the pole to keep the sand from spilling out.
Clamp the bottom end of the bamboo in a vice. Blowtorch the same area again and use long-handled tongs to bend the bamboo rod toward the blowtorch.
Turn off the blowtorch and use a rag dipped in cold water to cool and set the rod in place. The sand should have solidified inside the bamboo where the torch was applied. Remove the rag from the end of the bamboo pole.
Oil the bamboo with linseed oil using a rag after the rod has completely cooled.
Tips and warnings
- Use a smooth back-and-forth motion with the blowtorch for best results.
- Go slowly when bending and blow-torching the bamboo rod. Accidents can sometimes happen and the rod may split, especially if this is done too quickly.
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