Building a driftwood walking cane

I found myself with a sudden need for a walking cane, so logically I skipped the store and decided to build myself one out of driftwood.

Specifically this chunk of heavily beetle scared driftwood I pulled off a beach a year ago in the Gulf Islands. Fun fact, those lines are galleries where the beetle carved a channel, laid eggs and left fungus snacks for the kids, more fun bark beetle facts here

(also you only get to see part of the stick because I never remember to do before shots)

It was an awkward length and just a bit to short to make a walking stick out of but it was perfect for a cane.

I started by cutting a chunk off the end and drilling a hole using an screw tipped auger bit. Which caused regrets, turns out screw tipped augers might not be the best for fine joinery as they put a lot of stress on the thing being drilled. I stopped before I cracked the wood any more in half and used a twist drill to pilot the hole.

I also drilled the hole at an angle, so the tenon would follow the grain and be stronger as a result. Its also a more fun metal workout.

I roughed the tenon out with a saw before switching to a carving knife. I got it to a pretty close fit by test fitting it into the hole, giving it a wiggle, and then cutting off everything that looked shiny.

Anywhere I ended up over cutting, or ‘clearancing’. I put back by introducing the sawdust to Mr Epoxy Resin and slathering it all in there with a few fillets for good luck. I think I went back for a second pour in a couple spots after this photo.

Cut off the tenon, and scape any areas of epoxy over ooze (I can’t seem to glue anything without it ending up EVERYWHERE).

Bam its a cane handle, especially after I carve off everything that feels like a hotspot when I hold it (thanks Greg for that tip) :

At this point I realized that this chunk of wood is around 67 years old (prove me wrong), its only an inch and a quarter in diameter. So I am thinking it came from a rough neighborhood, or a mountain top.

I also did the same carving process to fit the ferrule. (this one is from lee valley, its shiny).

Last step before finishing, I wanted to add some color, Janet painted the ring at the top because my hands aren’t that steady.

Next stop, wood finish.


naturally carved cane. love it


I’m sorry that you are finding a use for one - but it is frickin’ awesome. We are going to need a matching cloak next.


You could do some neon washes, before varnishing. To highlight the wormsign

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Very cool! Let me know how you decide to finish it, add I have a similar but of wood I’m slowly turning into a walking staff! I found it while walking my uncle’s land near Wetaskiwin ab, a beaver had a bark snack, leaving a beautiful 5 foot long staff with chew marks for me!


Thanks everyone!

I don’t know if I want to go full neon tracks, feels itchy, but I agree it needs a bit of contrast to highlight the texture.

To start with I’ve added a coat of boiled linseed oil. Which is a drying oil, and thus banned at VHS for good reason. I am using it in my concrete apartment, and being sure to dry the rags flat on the balcony.

What I like about linseed and tung oils is that if you get the pure stuff it’s food safe, has no fumes, and can be sanded and reapplied when it gets worn. Downsides are they dry slow, take a while to build up multiple coats, and they can burn your house or hackspace down if you don’t dispose of the rags correctly. Tradeoffs.

One thing that I was not expecting was how much the oil brought out the fungal staining, which was basically invisible before. Definately adds character and adds to the story as well.