I’m a fan of canes, because they can be a useful self-defense tool in addition to being a walking aid. And let’s be honest… while we would like to always carry a gun, we can’t. Gotta get on an airplane? Carrying a gun isn’t going to happen. There’s just times when you have to look for alternative solutions. I think a cane is pretty tough to beat.
It probably stems from my martial arts study years ago in Kuk Sool and Hapkido. From day one, the cane was the weapon that appealed to me most because it was most practical. A sword isn’t going to cut it (pun intended) these days. A short stick (dan bong) actually can be pretty useful and have wide application, but it’s short: it’s a close-in weapon. A cane is about 3′ long, and useful at a slight distance and at helping to maintain some space. There are other weapons, but in many regards aren’t feasible or practical. Cane works, and will always be available and with us.
In my quest for a good cane, I finally found one a few years ago. While good, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. But certainly it got me through. Nevertheless, my eyes were always open for another cane.
A couple months ago one came along.
There was no identifying tag on it, so I cannot say for certain the make/model/manufacturer, but I can say it looks a LOT like the Twisted Oak Walking Cane from Brazos Walking Sticks. I couldn’t be surprised if that was the case, given how it was being sold. It was a similar setup to my first cane, and given all I discovered when I looked up my first cane well… it seems to be in line there.
What I liked about this was the almost straight shaft. The twist? Looks neat, and adds some hurt. I also liked how the crook was a bit more open in the neck area, and yes this hooks around limbs and necks much more easily. The fact the end/butt doesn’t extend too far either also is welcome for ease of hooking and releasing. Oak, so it’s strong. Really, I’m thrilled with this. It’s not perfect, but it’s good.
A few weeks ago we went to the Sherwood Forest Faire. Wife and Kiddos sat down to get ready for a show to start, and I looked behind me and saw a vendor selling canes, walking sticks, and other such things. Turns out they are Lady Mac’s Horns, Canes, and Staffs. Alas, I cannot find any sort of website for them, but if you search you’ll find them referenced on other “Ren Faire” websites and forums. I saw some gorgeous work there, including one cane with a thick and beautifully crafted mesquite shaft topped with an elk antler “handle”; if I needed a full-time cane for walking, I would have bought it in an instant. I actually saw only one crook-neck cane, and I couldn’t resist trying it out…. and yes, buying it:
This cane is made of hickory, and I loved the “unfinished” look with the bark still on. The shaft is as straight as it can be, given it’s attempting to look more natural. Really, it’s pretty straight but yet has just enough “kink and bend” to be interesting. It’s also slightly thicker than the other two canes… and that’s why I think I like it more.
See, there’s something about the shaping of the handle, where your palm actually rests. I tried to capture a picture of it but couldn’t get one that did it justice. They have to shave the wood down some to make the bend, but here they didn’t shave too much. Plus they shaped the top of the handle to be round but just a hair flatter… it’s slightly more oblique than circular. All that shaping, combined with the slightly thicker wood? It feels just awesome in the hand, and is very comfortable to walk with. Makes sense, because now you are spreading weight over a greater area.
The crook is a little tighter, but still hooks around necks. In some regard it’s a difference between a “practice cane” and a “street cane”, if you will. That is, with a practice cane you want to be polite to your partner, so a larger, more open crook is desired. With a “street cane”, you aren’t as concerned with politeness to your attacker. If I had to classify, I’d say the twisted oak cane above is more “practice” and this hickory is more “street”. Regardless, it’s certainly more comfortable to walk with.
Here’s a close-up of the three cane neck/crook areas:
This picture should give you a better idea. You can see with cane #2 that it’s rather open at the neck as well as very straight of shaft. #3 is a little tighter in terms of the hook and length. #1 is even longer.. and if you can see, there’s a little “hump” at the top of the crook and the wood is very thin — it’s no where near as comfortable to walk with as #3.
Anyways, #3 is my current go-to. But since I’m building a little collection, I need to find a way to store them all. Thinking about ideas, because I suspect more canes will be in my future.