What's a good steel for a cane??

May 25, 1999
I'm thinking, why not make a cane from steel? Take a stainless steel, round or square stock, cut off a 30" or more chunk and have a machine shop tapper the shaft down to save weight and give it some shape or design. If your near someone with a forge to heat, bend, or hammer a handle shape (figure more length for a crook type handle) then heat treat, add a rubber tip, leather wrap the handle for vibration in case you might "bump" something and it sounds like a tuning fork. If Damascus comes in rod stock, me thinks that would be one cool looking cane. I think it would be perfectly legal, after all if it looks like a cane, it's a cane. Right? ;-)
Solid stock would be real heavy. When I was young, we used to go to construction sites and look for discarded lengths of steel pipe, used for electrical conduit or something. You can buy it at home depot. If you want a crook in it, the make tools for bending pipe. It won't be as bend-resistant as wood though.

I heartily reccomend the four foot diamond wood staff sold at www.museumreplicas.com for around fourty bucks. I've got the cherrywood one, looks real nice. I fitted it with a rubber cane tip so I can use it on pavement. Every now and then somebody might give me an oblong glance, but it doesn't attract undue attention.
Not a bad idea but the thickness-weight ratio might make the shaft a bit thin.

I use, train and teach the use of a hardwood cane that is fairly heavy and I like the extra weight over more lively but flimsy shafts. (The flimsy canes like in tai chi or la canne usually depend on skill over strength and since I teach seniors, we start with power, if they survive that, they may get to a skill level...)

I also like the use of the crook so I tend to steer away from straight sticks and staffs tho I do teach that also - get a heavy stick with a crook and make figure eights in front of you, do some back hand strikes with the power assist and you'll find that using the crook to hold and not the shaft allows the weight of the stick to slide in the hand without compromising the grip. This translates into a stronger hit with less grip strength needed to keep it in your hand. Very useful for a person with a grip compromised by arthritis, let's say. I really don't like the Korean approach to the crook, to martial artsy, too dojo, and not enough down and dirty self defense.

For the self defense use of the cane or walking stick, think: how to use this stick as a weapon - not - what martial art applies here. IMHO, they are different...

The Fighting Old Man

Just don't go out in a rain storm with it,sounds like it would make a good lighting rod.
Another thought on light'in the weight. Take the "rod" to a good gunsmith and have it bored out, just like making a rifle barrel, then have him/her cut flutes on the outside. That should take the weight down at least 50% plus. Also will make the cane more ridged.

Lightning rod...maybe, but I think lightning likes to strike trees also.
On a similar note; There was a movie years ago called "The Killer Elite" with James Caan. After being wounded in the knee he was forced to use a cane. An instructor taught him how to use it as a weapon. It was interesting to see it used, not just for striking, but also hooking and trapping.
Is there a particular style of martial arts that uses the cane?

"May you live in interesting times"

AKTI - A000389

look at


and for the use of the stick as a weapon minus the 'martial art' try

John Kary at American Combatives.

The Fighting Old Man

How about as expensive as it may be, a titanium cane. This'll cut down on the weight considerably.


Ever notice no other candy tastes quite like Pez? Oh yeah, and the BM Axis rules.

Codegra, try Jame Piorek at BladeRigger.com, out of the BF Links page, he makes neat swatting type objects outa titanium and could most likely accomodate you in the titanium can area. Flutes give the cane a more weapon like appearance, maybe not a bad idea in your circumstance.

For design assistance, look at "The Fantastic Book of Canes, Pipes and Walking Sticks" written by Harry Ameredes, an OSS survivor among other things, also a great read for those of you inclined towards the weird unusual (Snick?)
Titanium! HEAVY.
I'll stick my vote in for a carbon fiber cane with an angled g-10 grip, triple spring anti-shock system, and a tungston carbide tip.
BTW, my LEKI Super Makalu needs the special touch of carbon fiber.

"All of our knives open with one hand, in case you're busy with the other"
How about trying Zytel. We are field testing some collapsible batons, similar to the ASP, but made of Zitel. They are not available in
this country yet, but they are great. Much less threatening than metal, but more effective and very light. A judge picking up
a zytel cane, feeling how light it was would
have to think very hard about saying it was
an offensive weapon.