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Walking Sticks & Canes.

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
The beautiful antique stick Hurricane Jack offers illustrates a conundrum for any of us for whom acquiring sticks has progressed from simply a pastime to a necessity for secure mobility. I've admired sticks like Jack's at many antique shows and shops, and those of as fine a quality as his are true works of art. And not only does their cost normally reflect their beauty and the high level of skill that produced them, but typically they tend to be shorter and less sturdy than those intended less for appearance, and more as a true orthopedic aid, since that was never their purpose.

And among contemporary sticks most I've encountered have been either horrendous looking true orthopedic devices, or mass produced sticks, that while sturdy, offer a less ungainly appearance. And it is of the later my humble collection is composed, though I like to think it handsome in a modest way. But my Internet browsing has lead to dissatisfaction. For another criterium for my stick acquisition has been a modest price tag. And I've just stumbled upon a source of new sticks that are both handsome, but robustly functional.

Though the workmanship does not equal the finest work of past days, it is still very well done, and makes most contemporary mass produced sticks dim in comparison. I think their cost reasonable in relation to their quality, but more than I can rationalize, running somewhere around $150 to $400. Nice, though -


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Harp

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,508
Location
Chicago, IL US
It can!

And I'm interested in how most dogs seem to instinctively understand that a stick in a man's hand is a weapon, and react accordingly. In youth I would regularly run for exercise, and the unruly neighbor dogs would often harass me for sport. I took a 18" piece of pine about an inch thick and fashioned a handle on it, and I could comfortably carry it without hinderance while running. But this truly harmless bit of wood when waved at most dogs would quickly warn them off.

While gifted as a joke sometime ago with a deliberately shoddy sword cane, the only stick I have that might be a serious weapon was the first I purchased around 45 years ago. It was simple and handsome having a handle of solid brass ending in a round knob about 1 3/4" across that I estimate in excess of one pound. This is attached at its 1 1/4" bottom to a tapered ash shaft and perfectly balanced with about 75% of its weight in your hand. I purchased it for its looks and comfort, but if swung from the tip, it would generate fearful force.

But sword canes such as the handsome Cold Steel line you reference are those most truly lethal. And in that, there are many considerations, not least that they are illegal to carry in most jurisdictions in the U.S.A. But also that any lethal weapon may be taken from the victim and turned against them by an attacker.

Among such canes, I've long been fascinated by Burger Canes from South Africa. Fashioned from fiber glass and employing fine sword steel for their blades, they can be intricate works of art as much as weapons.

https://www.swordcane.com/models.htm


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Admire these South African sticks and although I hate to admit it a teenage wound with inevitable aging
recommends further consider. Spied a Special Forces engraved handle, a nice touch.
 

Sonero

Practically Family
Messages
854
Location
San Diego / Tijuana
The beautiful antique stick Hurricane Jack offers illustrates a conundrum for any of us for whom acquiring sticks has progressed from simply a pastime to a necessity for secure mobility. I've admired sticks like Jack's at many antique shows and shops, and those of as fine a quality as his are true works of art. And not only does their cost normally reflect their beauty and the high level of skill that produced them, but typically they tend to be shorter and less sturdy than those intended less for appearance, and more as a true orthopedic aid, since that was never their purpose.

And among contemporary sticks most I've encountered have been either horrendous looking true orthopedic devices, or mass produced sticks, that while sturdy, offer a less ungainly appearance. And it is of the later my humble collection is composed, though I like to think it handsome in a modest way. But my Internet browsing has lead to dissatisfaction. For another criterium for my stick acquisition has been a modest price tag. And I've just stumbled upon a source of new sticks that are both handsome, but robustly functional.

Though the workmanship does not equal the finest work of past days, it is still very well done, and makes most contemporary mass produced sticks dim in comparison. I think their cost reasonable in relation to their quality, but more than I can rationalize, running somewhere around $150 to $400. Nice, though -


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I purchased a few sticks from this seller. They are from Ukraine. They do a very good job for the most part but they fudged one or two of my custom pieces. They were honest and took care of the problem. I highly recommend them.

ARTWALKING STICKS on ETSY.

This seller has beautiful Italian canes for a more formal look.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CavagniniDesign?ref=usf_2020

And another quality shop from the Ukraine .
https://www.etsy.com/shop/PORTNYI?ref=usf_2020

This guy on Ebay hand makes tactical canes. They are incredible .
https://www.ebay.com/usr/timestreasures?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

And this guy makes them in Titanium . Also a fantastic cane that I own.
https://www.ebay.com/usr/tirodtactical?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754
 
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Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
I purchased a few sticks from this seller. They are from Ukraine. They do a very good job for the most part but they fudged one or two of my custom pieces. They were honest and took care of the problem. I highly recommend them.

ARTWALKING STICKS on ETSY.

This seller has beautiful Italian canes for a more formal look.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CavagniniDesign?ref=usf_2020

And another quality shop from the Ukraine .
https://www.etsy.com/shop/PORTNYI?ref=usf_2020

This guy on Ebay hand makes tactical canes. They are incredible .
https://www.ebay.com/usr/timestreasures?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

And this guy makes them in Titanium . Also a fantastic cane that I own.
https://www.ebay.com/usr/tirodtactical?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

Wow, that's a lot of sticks!

Thanks for the information concerning your experience with Art Walking Sticks. Good to know they stand behind their products!

I generally like the layout of their web store too -

https://artwalkingsticks.com/collections
 
Messages
15,784
I've admired sticks like Jack's at many antique shows and shops, and those of as fine a quality as his are true works of art. And not only does their cost normally reflect their beauty and the high level of skill that produced them, but typically they tend to be shorter
I enjoy walking canes beginning from the Victorian era thru the Catalin/Bakelite handle era. Materials used such as hallmarked Sterling silver, ivory, bone, Catalin/Bakelite, age & type of wood really drive up the price. And I agree the length can be a problem.

Be careful about highly carved import sticks today as most are easily carved from softer woods like monkey wood, then stained.
 

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
I enjoy walking canes beginning from the Victorian era thru the Catalin/Bakelite handle era. Materials used such as hallmarked Sterling silver, ivory, bone, Catalin/Bakelite, age & type of wood really drive up the price. And I agree the length can be a problem.

Be careful about highly carved import sticks today as most are easily carved from softer woods like monkey wood, then stained.

Informative, thank you! I've never looked into collecting antique canes seriously, but the criteria you mention do not surprise me.

And I thank you particularly for your caution concerning carved sticks and types of wood. It would make such a stick concerning for my priorities. I've always stuck with hardwood shafts.
 
Messages
15,784
There are no known photos of William Barclay Masterson, better known as Bat Masterson showing him carrying a cane as has been depicted in tv & movies. A claim made yrs ago was that Masterson was shot in the leg/hip/pelvic area (depending on the version) in TX 1876, & that as a result he carried a cane the rest of his life. It has been alleged he received a gold capped & inlaid cane in 1885 from the City Commissioners of Dodge City, KS, & that an Ivory cane scrimshawed with his law enforcement badges, names & dates of his service was presented to Masterson by a law enforcement organization sometime after 1907 when he was a sportswriter in NYC. If there is any truth to the Dodge City presentation cane its whereabouts today are unknown. An ivory cane said to be the law enforcement organization cane came up at auction some yrs ago & its provenance was hotly contested. It didn't sell for anywhere close to pre auction estimates, the buyer remains anonymous & the cane has not been shown since.

Masterson's biographer Robert K. DeArment has said it's all bunk. DeArment said he never found any evidence substantiating the 1876 shooting when Masterson was said to have mortally wounded his enemy & sustained injury himself, & he doubted if a cane exists that can be proven to have been carried by Masterson. Around the time of the ivory cane auction DeArment is on record as stating he had never seen an authenticated cane belonging to Masterson.

While I trust DeArment's yrs of research & his many books written on the history of the American West (two books on Masterson alone) I would appreciate any info cane collectors might have on this subject. In January of this yr, 2021, Mr. DeArment passed away at age 95. His wealth of knowledge on the history of the settling of the American West will be missed.
 
Messages
15,784
Filmore Taylor (Uncle Phil) Hancock (1851 - 1944), Rolla, Missouri.

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Your Uncle Phil?

I've always wondered how long it takes a vine to grow into a limb or sapling. I've found a few pieces & they tend to be larger diameter so I think it takes a while. Sometimes the diameter is too big & you have to take them down quite a bit to carve a snake cane. Started but not finished.

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I've also wondered how long it takes worms to do this? I think the worms are active under the bark after you harvest it & lay it up to dry for a couple of yrs. You see no indication until the Wood has dried & you peel off the bark. Wormwood is like a Hostess Twinkie, with a surprise inside.

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WonkyBloke

One of the Regulars
Messages
112
Location
UK
I'm one of the walking stick owners for whom function comes first. I cannot get around safely without one. Consideration number one, is if I stumble, will it catch me? All the prettiness, elegance, artistry, and craftsmanship, is of no compensation to me if the answer to that question is no.

I have one Derby, and one crook handle. The crook handle is by far the most used. On paved hills, I can shift my grip forward or back, and still use the stick effectively without putting additional strain on the wrist. The Derby doesn't handle hills so well, either not grounding properly, or putting undue strain in the upper body, and so I tend to use that one indoors, or in other areas which I know are going to be level.

The second consideration for me, is what to do when I need two hands. So many crook handled canes today, have handles that curve well past 180 degrees, and close up so that you can't easily hook it over your arm. Derby handles are usually quite good in this respect, although the effectiveness of the hook end can vary somewhat. As such, I would only ever buy a walking stick that I can both have a good lean into, and hook over my arm first. If it flexes worryingly, or has fallen off my arm by the time I've got my wallet out of my pocket, it won't be coming home with me.

Sadly, this all leaves a lot of ball ended, knob handled, straight handled, carved, jointed, and otherwise very attractive sticks, utterly useless to me. Traditional styles in tradition woods will always be what keeps me perpendicular to the pavement. Unless I head off into unpaved areas. There, the modern hiking pole has no competition as far as I'm concerned.
 

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
I'm one of the walking stick owners for whom function comes first. I cannot get around safely without one. Consideration number one, is if I stumble, will it catch me? All the prettiness, elegance, artistry, and craftsmanship, is of no compensation to me if the answer to that question is no.

I have one Derby, and one crook handle. The crook handle is by far the most used. On paved hills, I can shift my grip forward or back, and still use the stick effectively without putting additional strain on the wrist. The Derby doesn't handle hills so well, either not grounding properly, or putting undue strain in the upper body, and so I tend to use that one indoors, or in other areas which I know are going to be level.

The second consideration for me, is what to do when I need two hands. So many crook handled canes today, have handles that curve well past 180 degrees, and close up so that you can't easily hook it over your arm. Derby handles are usually quite good in this respect, although the effectiveness of the hook end can vary somewhat. As such, I would only ever buy a walking stick that I can both have a good lean into, and hook over my arm first. If it flexes worryingly, or has fallen off my arm by the time I've got my wallet out of my pocket, it won't be coming home with me.

Sadly, this all leaves a lot of ball ended, knob handled, straight handled, carved, jointed, and otherwise very attractive sticks, utterly useless to me. Traditional styles in tradition woods will always be what keeps me perpendicular to the pavement. Unless I head off into unpaved areas. There, the modern hiking pole has no competition as far as I'm concerned.

I applaud your sanity in placing the priority on function. Like you, I am stick dependent, but convinced that hope can overcome experience. I am determined to find effective functional/aesthetic compromises. The net effects of which are that I drop my stick a lot, not finding purposeful straps appealing, and have evolved a fair degree of ingenuity at performing tasks one-handed.

While I have some knob and ball type sticks, those in daily use are mostly Derby or fritz handled, but which still don't hang particularly well from an arm.

1875 Victorian Preseentation cane with gold plated handle & inscription, ebony shaft & antler ferrule.

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That is a truly gorgeous stick!
 
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GreyBard

New in Town
Messages
15
I love walking sticks primarily for hiking and bush craft, in that they are supremely useful but I suspect I will be using a cane one day, I had to use one less than two years ago after a bad motorcycle wreck broke my femur…at 32 I’m sure I’ll find a good use for a cane one day, maybe I should start thinking ahead, haha.
 

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