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Thread: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

  1. #1
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    Default Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    My lady has mobility issues, and often uses a cane to walk. My neighbor took down a maple tree, and I secured a branch / limb piece about 4 feet long and approximately 2 inch diameter ( the bark is still on and the ends are painted ) . I would like to make a custom cane, shaped somewhat like a Christmas candy cane, but am not sure how to bend one end into shape. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.




    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Make a jig and steam it? Best do it now while the wood is still green. A "live edge: cane sounds like a cool idea.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Or you skip the steamer, give thanks to Prometheus and go Greek:
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    i might be inclined to boil the end to be bent
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    All great ideas - thanks - I will keep monitoring for new ideas. . .
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Generally this bend is best made while the branch is still on the tree, and alive. Next best is to steam it with lots of steam that is just barely over 212f. Too much heat will cook the wood. You can also try putting fabric softener in the boiling water/steam. Fabric softener is basically a sort of wax that may help the individual layers of lignin/cellulose slip by each other.
    I used fabric softener on a difficult bend about 40 years ago, and it definitely helped VS. steaming w/o fabric softener. Since then I've mostly resorted to laminating difficult bends.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    I regularly bend rock maple for some of the products I make and I've found that boiling is the way to go. There's a zillion different maple species native to the US and many others planted as ornamentals. They don't all bend alike.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Whichever method is used, the branch should be pared down to near its final diameter prior to bending. Trying to do a 180 bend in 2" diameter stock might prove daunting.

    Jeff

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Take a look at this video for the "jig" that he uses, not the heating method which is less important.
    (This fellow "Eye in Hand" was a member here for a while, but may have wandered into the bilge... )


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Thonet mostly used/uses beechwood. Works well for bending when steamed.

    Given the number of different members of the Acer family it's hard to predict what you'll have to go through to bend 2" green stock to much less of a radius of 10" or more if it's even possible.

    For your walking stick project, something closer to 1 or 1-1/4" ought to work to a tighter radius, maybe 5 - 6". 3/4" to 1" ought to work to something tighter.

    Use some kind of metal support along the outside as you increase the radius as shown in that Youtube video, keeps tension on the outer layers to prevent splits from getting started.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Really might be better to find a straight staff with a "T" and work it out of that.... The umbrella "J" cane thing doesn't work all that well anyway.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    It would be easier to bend a longer piece into a U,then cut it into a J.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Still 'tracking' all the recommendations - thanks - - - - What is the best idea for cleanly reducing the diameter from , say, 1-3/4 " with bark on down to 1" 1-1/4" without bark ?




    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    split it along its length to get to the diameter you want. This will avoid grain run out.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    Re: #14, I think a draw knife does this job the best but you can whittle it off with a blade

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Can someone guide me to 'bend' maple branch to make a cane ?

    I'm guessing the Greek guy is using a thorn tree of some kind, right?

    I notice he got some split-out around the bend.

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