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Custom made Walking canes and Walking sticks by Boris Palatnik

A FEW ADVICES HOW TO MAKE A RIGHT WALKING CANE CHOICE

In general somebody using a walking cane / walking stick might want not only a physical support, but some level of decorative and aesthetic values as well. That is why for many centuries the walking sticks have captured the attention of artists and jewelers. Nevertheless, thinking about aesthetics of the walking cane / walking stick one should not forget about the comfort, physical stability, and security the walking stick should provide in the first place.

   CANE HANDLE COMFORT ABILITY

The comfort of the WS depends mainly on the handle shape. The types of the walking stick handles such as Derby, L-shape, and Crook while looking elegant are comfortable for a daily use. The knob handles are recommended for a light support and balance.

 

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: GRAPES by Boris Palatnik

CROOK - SHAPE

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: GRIM REAPER by Boris Palatnik

L - SHAPE

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: BUTTERFLY by Boris Palatnik

KNOB - SHAPE

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: LILY by Boris Palatnik

DERBY - SHAPE

 

The special property of the Derby handle, besides a comfortable hand support, is the elevated front part of the handle, which helps keep the hand from slipping. A combination of the Derby-Crook handle shapes might be very comfortable and have some added value – besides providing the stable support it allows holding the walking stick on the forearm. Anatomical handles are very comfortable for daily use but usually they look more like medical supply then decorative art. The good example of more aesthetical one combination of anatomical shape with classical such as Derby or L-shape.

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: FROG by Boris Palatnik

DERBY - CROOK COMBINATION

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: SNAIL by Boris Palatnik

ANATOMICAL - L - SHAPE

Custom Handmade Walking Cane /Custom Handmade Walking Stick: ANTLER by Boris Palatnik

ANATOMICAL - DERBY

 

 

Traditional handles may be designed as a sculpture or decorated by some kind of ornament. In these cases a designer has to make sure that the handle does not loose its major properties – comfort and stability. The walking sticks handles designed in the form of a sculpture or decorated by some other means very often, besides their direct use as the support during walking, are considered the art subjects and as such are often the collectors’ items.

 

   MATERIALS, BALANCE, STRENGTH OF THE STICK

The right balance is a very important property of the walking stick. In order to achieve the right balance the weight of the handle shall be somewhat less or equal to the weight of the shaft. For that the high-end artisan walking sticks are usually equipped with a cast metal rather than a stamped (punched out) handle.

The cast metal handles have the following advantages compared with the stamped handles:

  • The wall thickness of the cast handles varies between 2 and 5 mm ( 5/64” to 3/16 “), while the stamped handles wall thickness is usually on the level of 0.3 to 0.5 mm, or approximately ten times thinner than the cast handle. This compromises the strength and reliability of the walking stick with the stamped handle.

  • Because of the thin walls of the stamped handles they are prone to dents and nicks during normal handling.

  • The cast metal technology does not limit the designer’s fantasy and ability to create complex art forms.

  • It has to be noted here that cast metal technology is much more sophisticated and time consuming, and it requires much higher skills as well.


The next subject consumer has to pay attention to is the material of the cane construction. The most popular materials used for handles are Silver and German Silver. German Silver is an alloy of 70% copper with 30% nickel and no silver. The Sterling Silver, which is an alloy of 92.5% silver with 7.5% copper, is the preferred material for the handles construction because, thanks to the copper addition, it is much stronger than Pure Silver. Sometime canes might be advertised as silver handle walking sticks, which might be deceiving, because this often does not mean that the handle is silver made. Instead the seller might have in mined one of the following materials:

  • Silver plated handle when a thin layer of silver is plated over some base metal or even plastic

  • Alpaca Silver, which is an alloy imitating the silver

  • German Silver, which is alloy with no silver added, etc.


Each item made of the real silver or silver alloy (like sterling silver) must have the following marks stamped out:

  • Pure Silver - ( 0.999 )

  • Sterling Silver - ( 0.925 ), (STERLING) or (SS)

  • Russian Silver - ( 0.875 )

  • Old English Silver - ( 0.800 ) etc...


It is important to know, that such materials as German Silver, Nickel Silver, Alpaca Silver are alloys only resembling the silver by the color. Unlike the pewter (another material used for the stick handles), they can be polished very well, are strong and can resemble the silver by the color. Nevertheless, these alloys do not contain any silver at all.

Above we discussed the importance of the balance and the role the handle plays in achieving it. We said that the handle must be either slightly less or equal by the weight to the shaft. Here we will discuss the role of the shaft in achieving the right balance of the walking stick. While the handle has to be close by the weight to the entire shaft, it is important that the lower end of the shaft is as light as possible.

That would provide lighter load on the forearm muscles during walking and, particularly at the moment the stick loses the contact with the ground. At the same time the upper part of the shaft should be thick enough to provide the strength. Thus, the shaft should be tapered. It would be even better if the taper starts close to the center of the shaft going to the end. This makes the walking stick not only well balanced but proportionally looking as well. Because the shaft in the main part is responsible for the strength of the stick, the material used for its construction is very important. The shaft of 7/8” diameter made of extreme woods (such as ebony, ironwood, etc.) will withstand the same load as 1 ¼” diameter stick made of a hardwood (oak, maple, etc.), and will look more elegant as well.

If the shaft is made from the hardwood it is usually painted to change the light natural color of the wood. The paint is often chips off due to the wear and tear. The extreme woods, on the other hand do not need to be painted providing beautiful natural colors. The colors the extreme woods provide are as follows:

Black color    

Ebony, African Blackwood

Dark brown color    

Ironwood, Cocobolo

Reddish brown    

Rosewood



The lower end of the shaft shall be furnished with a metal ferrule, which in addition to providing finished look prevents the end of the cane from splitting. It is advisable as well to have a rubber tip placed over the ferrule to prevent slipping.

The length of the stick depends on the height of the walker. I can recommend two simple methods for the stick length selection:

  • Divide the height of the user in two and add one inch

  • The length of the stick is equal to the distance from the floor to the upper end of the hand while the arm is in straight down position.