Canadian Woodworking

Cane Saw

Author: Tom West
Illustration: James Provost
Published: April May 2008

While canes (or walking sticks) aren’t as trendy or as prevalent as they once were, the dapper woodworker can still be the envy of the neighborhood with this unique and stylish ‘cane saw’.


The cane saw was so named by my wife. Being an avid woodworker, I had decided to incorporate a handsaw grip in the design of my cane.

The handle that we most likely associate with a handsaw was designed by Disston in the 19th century. It appears that all the Disston saw handles are of the same design and size.

Perhaps when it comes to handsaws, one size suits all hands. On the other hand, handles for canes should be customized to fit the hand of the user – to provide maximum stability in use and to suit individual comfort and style.

I began by tracing the handle on a piece of 1″ x 6″ x 36″ select pine, and then rough-cut the shape on the bandsaw. I cut a 11⁄4″ x 3 1 ¼” sized finger hole using a 1 ¼” rotary drill saw bit, but you could also use a drill press and a 1 ¼” hole saw. Round over the edges with a ½” rounding over bit or with files and sandpaper. Apply some stain and varnish, and the job is complete.

You can change the size of the handle to better suit your needs. A larger hand may require a longer saddle or a larger finger hole. It’s a good idea to make the cane shaft longer than the finished length, and then cut to size.

For a bit of extra purchase on slippery surfaces, and just to protect the cane, you can cover the end with a rubber tip. The more adventuresome woodworker may want to carve or paint a unique design along the shaft.

When shopping, the horns are a great place to hang grocery bags while you fish in your pocket for your car keys. You’ll also find it a steadying influence on the way home from the local pub on Saturday night, helpful in re-directing wayward dogs, and essential for pointing out the obvious to unperceptive bystanders.

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