-I was out of work, I couldn't train because my knee is busted, what the hell am I gonna do with my time now that I quit mudding? I knew I would be hurting when and if I had surgery on my knee, so I decided to make a cane.

The shaft of the cane is 100% oak and this is where I started. First I carved a pencil in the shape, man, I wish I had a pic of this, I seriously have a full cane carved on a pencil. Then I practiced on a piece of pine. When I began the real thing, I learned the difference between these and oak...FAST. The square piece of oak (from my Dad) was rounded using a table sander, unfortunately I didn't have a lathe so I had to eye it. Next the dragon body was carved out using hand tools for the stop lines and a dremel to gouge out the bulk. The arms/claws were then hand carved and the surrounding wood sanded down to raise them above the cane body. Small scales were then carved onto the fingers, medium scales carved onto the hands and arms, belly (flat) scales were then carved onto the belly/underside, and then large scales were carved on the body. Yes, all the scales are hand carved, I wish you could see them in the pics.... Anyway when this was done, the whole thing was hand sanded (about 3 times, using finer grit each time and doing touchups). When I was had it looking the way I wanted, I applied the first coat of red stain. The flames were then pained blue using an oil based paint. 2 more coats of stain and paint to darken color and touch up mistakes were then completed. 2 coats of natural stain followed on the negative part of the cane body. The head was ready to begin.

In my search for a nice piece of oak for the head of the cane I originally thought I would use an oak stair baluster, cut about 6" long. When I got to the store and looked at this, it was $10, not bad and I almost bought it until I realized it was 3 pieces of oak, glued together. So I asked the guy for solid oak and he gave me a baluster head. This would again suit my purpose, but when I had left the store and opened the plastic, I realized this was also 3 pieces of glued oak. At $22....I don't think so. I opted to buy a piece of oak for $3 and cut and glue it myself. It is 3 pieces thick and I bought enough for 3 canes :p

After this was measured and glued, I used a skill saw to do a rough cut of the round held part, the neck and the head. The pieces were then sanded using a dremel and a belt sander. When deciding exactly what I would make the head look like, I remembered a doodle I had done the week before.  This was the basis for my dragon head. Using various tips on the dremel, I carved the head slowly, saving the horns and teeth for last (they break easily). When the form was done, I used a drill press to start the hole in the mouth and the sockets for the eyes. I had already decided that the eyes had to be something special, so I talked to a friend of mine and ended up getting two 8 mm garnets (4.1 carats each) for my dragons peepers. Details were then done on the head including hand carved scales around the horns and engraving large head scales. When all the sanding was done on the head, the eyes were placed in using two part wood epoxy. The whole head was then stained red. To get some consistency in the colors, the tongue of the dragon was painted using the same oil based blue paint. This paint was also used to do grooves down the horns. Originally the teeth were painted white, but you couldn't see the carved gums very well, so I changed it to a mixture of oil based black and blue with a touch of the red stain. A hole was drilled into the base of the cane head that would snugly fit the shaft (1.25 inches) and a small hole was drilled into the cane shaft to accommodate a 2.5" lag screw to more securely fasted the two together. Wood glue was used when placing the two together. 5 coats of polyurethane and a felt bottom and it was done. That's it, It was fun, educational, stress relieving, and finally very satisfying. My father and I both engraved the bottom of the cane head, he helped me with ideas for it a lot, I had never carved wood before this little jaunt. Enjoy!

Oh, the belt rack. The design is "jiujitsu" in kanji stained on the wood behind the oil-based figure paintings. Those outlines (black and white) were a bizatch.


    Back to Home