Your walking stick was very well made and looks really smart. How can you protect it from daily wear and tear and keep it looking good for years to come? This article discusses measures you can take to look after your walking stick.
The most perishable part of any cane is the ferrule or tip at the end, where the cane meets the ground. You can buy rubber, brass or steel ferrules depending on whether you want a firm grip (rubber) on the ground to avoid slips or a metal ferrule for dressier canes.
Rubber ferrules wear out fairly quickly (depending on how much the cane is used indoors and outdoors) so it is wise to buy a few at a time so that you always have a spare.
If you are using a walking stick as a walking aid, then checking the condition of the ferrule and replacing when it is worn is paramount to the reliability and safety of your cane.
Wooden Walking Sticks
Most walking sticks are made out of wood, a wooden handle fixed onto a wooden shaft and can therefore be looked after like any other piece of wood. Avoid leaving your stick against a radiator or any other heat output as this can cause warping or cracking. Your stick should be kept somewhere warm and dry, i.e indoors.
Always dry your stick by wiping it with a tea towel or cloth if you have been using it in wet weather and keep it clean of mud and grime by using a damp cloth to gently wipe it.
For sticks that have a varnish, you can use furniture polish or beeswax to protect the wood from time to time.
For natural sticks, that is ones with the bark still on them, apply some danish oil or furniture oil once a year with a dry cloth to keep the polished finish or just dry polish it with a cloth.
Metal Walking Canes
To look after these canes, which are mostly height adjustable, always ensure the tightening collar is re-tightened once the correct height is set. This will prevent wear and tear on the joint and stop any clicks or rattles. It will also make the cane more secure. Most folding canes you can buy are made from aluminium so the same care applies to them too.
Dropping your Walking Stick
Most walking sticks will survive the occasional fall now and again quite well but the ones that will be damaged are the collectible type with resin toppers such as our Sherlock Holmes cane with the moulded resin handle. You can avoid dropping your stick by purchasing a cane
holder, a wrist strap or a WalkingStickMate TM. Any of these products are designed to keep the stick in place so that it doesn’t fall onto the floor.
Probably the most common mistake is leaning a walking cane against a table edge, only to hear it clatter to the floor! Any of the accessories mentioned above can prevent this and they are all inexpensive and portable.
Sticks with leather handles, shafts and the leather sling seats on the shooting sticks can be cared for in the same way as any other leather products by using leather cleaners and conditioners. There are many different products out there on the market so if the leather on your shooting stick is a bit dry and stiff then use some leather food.
As leather is a natural product it can become mildewed or mouldy if left in a damp place. If it gets wet when out, it is good practice to dry it off with a dry cloth and keep indoors away from any radiators of other sources of heat. This will avoid cracks in the leather.
Apart from the collectors’ cane handles, the other types that can be easily damaged are the silver, chrome, nickel and brass plate handled canes. Particularly the silver-plated as silver is such a soft metal. The user must be careful not to scratch the handle with rings on fingers and gloves may need to be worn by some users as the reaction of the skin with the handle to cause the silver-plate layer to wear thin.
The problems with these kind of sticks are many due to the materials used but as they are meant to be used only occasionally, for weddings or other special occasions, the wear and tear can be kept to a minimum.
Repairs and Spare Parts
From time to time you may need to come back and ask us for spare parts, some of which are free and others which will need to be paid for. For example, we supply the spare flasks that hold the tipple in the tippling sticks. The handmade walking sticks can all be returned for repairs as our stick-makers are absolutely diligent about quality and they are always very shocked in the event that one of their sticks gets broken.
One stick-maker is an engineer and he always wants to find out “the how and why” any stick gets broken. His sticks are made to last a lifetime at least.
The commonest problem we hear about is leaving a walking stick behind somewhere and never seeing it again! For this problem we can only suggest the WalkingStickMate TM or a wrist strap to help NOT forgetting your stick!