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Walking Sticks, Canes and Hiking Staffs

Updated on January 31, 2015

Cool Canes & Walking Sticks, Sturdy Staffs & Practical Cane Stands

For several centuries walking sticks, canes and long staffs have been used as fashion items, as walking aids and as tools for self defense. Many people are fascinated by walking sticks, canes and hiking poles, and build up large collections. I have also noticed that martial artists are very susceptible to this interest! So, if you are looking for a practical, interesting gift, you could consider a stylish cane. And, as a treat for yourself? Why not walk in style with a cool cane!

You can, of course, make your own hiking staff by finding an appropriate stick, branch or stem and breaking it to the correct height. But here, I will show you some canes that are more sophisticated, more elegant, hand-carved, or stylish. I also show you some cool cane stands to keep a collection tidy and accessible.

The photo, which is in the public domain, shows the walking cane used in an assault on Senator Charles Sumner in May 1856.

Self Defense With A Walking Cane - The cane is a versatile self-defense tool

Cambridge Academy of Martial Arts Senior Instructor Ollie Batts (right) demonstrating a cane defense technique in a street self defense training session. A walking cane given give you support in more ways than one! If you are interested in the defensive use of canes or in cane sport, have a look at my canne de combat pages listed below. More photos on our website. This photo was taken by me, and is copyright, please do not it use without my written permission.

Elegant & Fashionable Walking Canes - Chic and sophisticated canes

Whether you like big, bold statements or delicate, refined carving, there are beautiful canes available to suit your personal taste. The main choices you need to make are the handle type and the shaft type.

Four of the most popular types are the knob handle, the derby handle, the crook handle and the crutch handle, although there are others. People who need a cane for mobility are generally better with the crutch handle or the Derby handle. Knob handle canes can be plain, rustic or bejewelled and elegant.

The shaft of a cane could be wood, aluminium, lucite or carbon fibre. Again, if someone needs a cane for mobility, it is important to get the right kind of shaft e.g. one which is designed for weight-bearing.

My favorite can, currently, is the Mad Hatter multi-wood knob handled cane. It is a style classic, with the handle inlaid with contrasting exotic woods.

Mad Hatter Multi Wood Knob Handle Walking Stick With Wenge Wood Shaft and Two Tone Collar
Mad Hatter Multi Wood Knob Handle Walking Stick With Wenge Wood Shaft and Two Tone Collar

The Mad Hatter walking cane is made by a highly skillful craftsman, from a gorgeous exotic Wenge wood, and has a knob handle inlaid with a variety of exotic woods such as Ovangkol, Rosewood and Maple.


Knob-Handled Walking Cane - Inset Clock, with Roman Numeral Face

Fine quality woods have been used to make this elegant walking cane. It features a Wenge wood knob handle, including a functional clock, with a crack resistant face.The Royal Canes company uses the finest quality woods available and a special finishing process, with clear lacquer coating to enhance and protect the natural wood grain.

Wenge Wood Small Ball Clock Handle Walking Stick With Wenge Shaft And Brass Collar
Wenge Wood Small Ball Clock Handle Walking Stick With Wenge Shaft And Brass Collar

The high quality clock face is marked with roman numerals, and is crack resistant.


Animal Head Canes

Animals and animal heads are popular themes for cane handles. Perhaps they say a little about our personalities... I have seen some beautifully carved wooden animal head canes, for example, snakes, dragon and dogs. Other choices are resin or metal animal or bird heads: lion, horse, eagle, dolphin and black mamba.

Blue Chrome Plated Eagle Head Handle Walking Cane With Denim Blue Ash Wood Shaft & Silver Collar
Blue Chrome Plated Eagle Head Handle Walking Cane With Denim Blue Ash Wood Shaft & Silver Collar

This great cane can be used for formal dressing up or casual dressing down. The intricately detailed, chrome-plated eagle handle is fitted to a blue-stained Ash wood shaft that looks like blue denim.


Amazing Hand Carved Canes - See skilled craftsmen in action

There are some incredibly talented people out there. I love to watch a skilled craftsman working. In case you do too, here are some cool videos of canes being carved.

The Art Of Making Custom Walking Canes

Hound Headed Canes

I do love dogs, especially big hounds, so hound-headed canes appeal to me. Depending on your favorite breed, you can choose from bulldog, labrador, retreiever, or even wolf! My personal favorite of these is the super sleek Russian hound.

Unisex Russian Hound L Black Maple Cane, Brown Handle  -Affordable Gift! Item #DHAR-14060
Unisex Russian Hound L Black Maple Cane, Brown Handle -Affordable Gift! Item #DHAR-14060

A sleek Russian Hound adds a touch of elegance to this superb maple shaft cane.


If like me you are based in the UK and want to get a good quality walking cane at the best price: Gents Walking Stick Carved Wood Derby Handle Cane with Spiral.
UK residents can also find other superb canes through this link.

Antique & Collectible Canes and Walking Sticks

Whether brand new or antique, canes can be objects of beauty. Finely crafted, from high quality materials, a classic cane adds style and panache!

If money is no problem, Vertical Art is a delightful book presenting over 400 canes, including everything from tortoise shell and gemstones to ivory, from the 17th century onwards. For those of us with more restricted budgets, Canes Through the Ages is also a super book.

Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks
Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks

Vertical Art: The Enduring Beauty of Antique Canes and Walking Sticks is a highly recommended collectors treasure. A stunning photo essay by Italian photographer Umberto Barone showing the superb canes of an anonymous Californian collector, with well-written descriptions, by Roberta Maneker, providing information and understanding about the making and historical significance of the canes.The photographs are wonderful and only surpassed by the beauty of the canes themselves. The printing and binding of the book is exquisite.

Canes Through the Ages: With Value Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors)
Canes Through the Ages: With Value Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors)

Francis Monek is a world authority on canes, and here describes the history, development and construction of canes. He includes engaging tales of cane hunting and the rare sticks he has found over the years. Includes more than 1200 color photos and illustrations, information on the repair of damaged canes, and invaluable tips for new collectors.


Hiking Canes - Hiking poles & staffs

i enjoy walking in the mountains in England and Wales - yes, we have mountains! For hiking, a longer, stouter cane can be very useful. Even if you don't intend to leap over streams, or the like, it can help you to negotiate obstacles on your path.

One important point is to think about your own physical abilities, your height and your weight, and how you will use your hiking pole. If you are an active hiker, who enjoys strenuous conditions, you might opt for a strong and durable hickory pole.

Personally, I'm not so big 5'5" or heavy, nor am I very strong, so an ash pole, strong but reasonably lightweight suits me better.

Another very nice choice is the beautiful aromatic cedar walking staff. It has red and purple hues which swirl elegantly along the shaft.

Stunning Twisted Colorwood Walking Stick

Strong, easy to handle and beautiful, these walking sticks make ideal walking companions. The sticks are unique, original creations, made in the USA by skilled craftsmen. As they are made from a naturally occurring piece of wood, they will vary in shape and thickness. Every walking stick or walking cane is an original creation -- no two are the same.

Making Walking Canes & Sticks - As a craft, a hobby or to earn some money

Inspired by the videos?

Whether you are a complete beginner, interested in starting a new hobby, or a well-seasoned woodworker, your first cane could be a challenge. You will need to consider the best types of wood to use, the basic techniques to master, and the materials and tools required. As always, it's helpful to take the advice of experts!

Stickmaking: A Complete Course
Stickmaking: A Complete Course

Andrew Jones and Clive George give a detailed introduction to stickmaking, its history and philosophy. They explain how to craft traditional walking sticks and crooks from start to finish, including toolmaking. The authors also explain how to identify, cut and season suitable wood and how to select materials to carve into handles. The book includes many diagrams and color photographs and clear instructions for a variety of projects.


Walking Stick and Cane Stands - Or umbrella stands, whichever you prefer!

If you are a collector of fine canes, you really need a way to display them. A sleek and stylish stand made from quality wood can hold your canes and umbrellas safely and neatly. Cane stands come in various sizes, some hold up to 36 canes, helping to keep them straight and undamaged.

Round Walking Cane Stand- Pine Wood
Round Walking Cane Stand- Pine Wood

Handcrafted from durable pine, this high quality walking cane stand will complement any room. This three-tiered cane storage system is handcrafted from pine. It will hold 24 canes, at three different heights, so is great for displaying your collection.


Are You A Collector Of Canes And Walking Sticks? - Or do you know someone who is?

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    • Spirality profile image


      4 years ago

      Every time we were out walking as a kid i would always have to find a suitable stick along the way to walk with.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      We have some that Dad got over the years and my Grandpa, my Dad's father, carved canes with balls and objects in side of them like chains. The one I love the best is the one that has a sword inside of it! I will have to do a lens on the canes! Awesome information here! Thank you for stopping by my felt flowers lens! :)

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 

      4 years ago from Kentucky

      Very neat collection of canes! I have seen some nice wooden ones hand carved for sale around where I live and always thought they were so pretty!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I didn't realize canes could get so fancy. Some often stuff here.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I bought one for my partner called a Captain's stick - the brass knob comes off to reveal a hidden removable vial that holds a swift noggin of your favorite tipple. He loves it

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 

      5 years ago from Here

      Not yet, but I have seen some beautiful walking sticks here... :-) Thanks a lot for sharing another beautiful lens!!!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 

      5 years ago

      I am not a collector but since a kid I have always had a staff. My current one is a twisted branch that survived a forest fire. I carved it with runes & it is my constant companion. Your lens is absolutely fascinating!

    • KnitnPurlGirl profile image


      5 years ago

      I've started using hiking sticks when hiking. I love them; they add just that extra bit of stability for my ankles which I've rolled a few too many times.

    • Jogalog profile image


      5 years ago

      I remember my grandfather used to have a container by the door with loads in. I suppose he must have been a collector but I don't know anyone nowadays who has them.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm not a collector but I've been hearing more about them as collectors items, we have a few at Mom's that have been passed down through the have an impressive collection and a little history lesson too. I've watched movies where they have been very effective weapons and had a person or two mention that they have them "just in case". :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      We just started this business selling walking sticks, and they are very interesting.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice collection of hiking sticks. Its good guide support while walking for people can't withstand long standing and moving around.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      No, but recently one of my grandkids found an old cane in the closet (at the other grandparents home) and suddenly she is waving a sword around! Turns out great grandpa's old cane was a sword-cane! Fortunately, there were no injuries.

    • savateuse profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @robertzimmerman2: Wow, lucky there were no injuries!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      We have several walking sticks and used to sell them because as we are out walking, people always want to know where we got them. Hickory is quite heavy, so we prefer sassafras which is lightweight but sturdy.

    • savateuse profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @delia-delia: Those do sound like cool cane handles!

    • delia-delia profile image


      5 years ago

      Love it, nice walking sticks ... I have two real cool walking stick handles, one a Faberge green type stone and also a silver flip-top pill holder, both belonged to my grandmother

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 

      5 years ago

      It is interesting to watch canes. Cane with a knob and watch was good to watching.

    • ManipledMutineer profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm a bit of a collector, have about half a dozen including a clock cane. I wish I used them more!

    • CornellMarCom LM profile image

      CornellMarCom LM 

      5 years ago

      Not a collector however, some of these are amazing. Great form of art.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Not a collector but I do sometimes need one to get around! so I like more unusual looking walking sticks! Beautiful selections here

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Some of the hand carved ones are pretty amazing.

    • Donallphin profile image


      5 years ago

      My old scoutmaster collected walking and hiking sticks. I was always fascinated by them but never used them until I got a little older. Now I won't go into the mountains without two walking sticks. They are lifesavers. Thanks for a very interesting lens.

    • savateuse profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Jo-Jackson: oh, that's a pity... I guess someone liked the look of them

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      5 years ago

      My grandmother used to have a nice selection of canes with silver knobs on top. I don't know what happened to them after she passed away though.

    • savateuse profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @MartieG: Thanks for visiting!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      What a nice selection you have shown us - I walking sticks are great looking and very useful :>)

    • savateuse profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @choosehappy: Thanks for visiting and liking this page - much appreciated!

    • choosehappy profile image


      5 years ago from US

      I had to have one for awhile after a surgery went off track, so that kind of introduced us to them a little better. I remember I wanted one that wasn't too manly. Some of them are so fabulously unique you have displayed here..I hadn't seen the one with the clock on it. Too cool!


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