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Thread: walking cane finish

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Princeton IL

    walking cane finish

    Guys, My standard interior finish has been BLO/shellac. I'm finishing up a cane with a barley twist. I'd expect a cane to experience more abuse and possible moisture. I just put a coat of BLO on the piece and was looking for suggestions for a topcoat. Is poly my best option or will spar varnish be tough enough? Due to the twist, I would prefer to spray the final coat on. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tomball, TX (30 miles NNW Houston)
    Since this cane will be outside in the sunlight, poly would be a poor choice. Poly is highly suceptable to UV damage. Ditto for the big box store's spar varnish; they're made with poly.

    Best finishes would be a non-poly varnish or a non poly marine varnish from a boat supply or marina. Don't let the price change you plans these varnishes are worth every penny. Other "woodworking store" available finishes: Waterlox Sealer/ Finish, Waterlox Marine, Behlen's Rock Hard TableTop varnish. All these finishes are phenolic resin varnishes which is a very UV stable resin. The exterior marine finishes are softer and a bit LESS waterproof than the interior varnishes but they will not crack if the walking stick swells or changes dimensions due to moisture... your call.

    Finishing is an 'Art & a Science'. Actually, it is a process. You must understand the properties and tendencies of the finish you are using. You must know the proper steps and techniques, then you must execute them properly.

  3. #3
    Canes are my passion and I make a lot of them. For the shaft I my favorite finishs are Penofin Marin Oil Wood Finish or Waterlox Marine Finish. Since both are marine grade exterior finish designed to with stand harsh weather it only makes since they would make a very good cane finish. I've never had a cane come back because of the finish. I highly recommend either product.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    N.E. Ohio
    Is it a user or a looker?
    For a looker - anything that looks good will work.

    For a user, I use an oil finish - Danish or Tung oil.
    Reapply as needed to maintain it & clean it with something like lemon oil.

    As Scott mentioned, UV is your enemy. UV's effect while using it are actually quite minimal.
    Storing it is a different matter. Store it inside a closet.

    Walking sticks are similar in use to paddles and/or oars.
    A varnish finish on them can raise blisters when you use them.

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