Without a doubt, some trees make natural canes that are practical and with beautiful art pleasing the eyes. Therefore, walking canes have long been carved out of different woods. From rare wood to shrubs to hardwood to serve unique purposes.
This article will guide you through the 14 best wood for a walking stick and their unique features.
What Makes Fine Walking Sticks?
Walking sticks get crafted from several exclusive materials, including wood, metal, and even carbon fiber. Modern mobility aids are often made from aluminum because of their relative strength and lightweight.
But, conventional on-foot sticks are always crafted from wood for a reason, and wood is still immensely famous for walking sticks to this day.
Which is the Best Wooden Walking Stick
Selecting the best wood for a walking cane depends on its purpose and personal taste. Whether for mobility, hiking, or fashion, the choice is yours. Good walking sticks are identified by their weight, durability, and length relative to your height.
A hardwood cane is an excellent choice because of its durable material and beauty. Yet, trees such as ash, maple, walnut, or birch are the most preferred material for canes.
What Makes a Quality Walking Stick?
Beech wood is an England native hardwood; it’s strong with a Janka rating of 1300lbf and durable because of less water absorption. It’s cream tan-brown hue makes its walking sticks also have a scorched finish.
This finishing gives the sticks a vibrant saturation and further highlights the aesthetic value of the wood’s grain. Moreover, its color allows it to stain with different shades easily.
- Strong and durable.
- This wood polishes well.
- Withstands wear and tear.
- It’s shock-resistant.
- It’s unsuitable for prolonged outdoor usage because it’s vulnerable to high moisture and humidity.
- Wood tends to crack.
- Beech wood is expensive, and its walking stick is also on the higher end.
Ash, a native tree originating from Europe, Africa, and Asia, is a tough and durable wood. Ash is strong with a Janka rating of 1320lbf and is admired for its shock resistance and easy workability.
This piece is ideal for straight walking sticks due to its straight grain. Its grayish-silver bark is often left unvarnished except for some small areas that might need protection, for instance, the prong tips or the knobstick handle.
Ash wood also enjoys an elegantly textured appearance.
- It enjoys high density that makes immensely strong walking sticks.
- This wood is scratch and dent-resistant.
- Carving ash wood is easy.
- Shock resistance.
- A walking stick made of ash wood is more expensive than other wooden materials.
- It burns quicker than some other woods.
- It’s susceptible to extreme water damage.
Acacia wood is native to Africa, Australia, Asia, and the Pacific island. But is acacia wood strong?
Well, with a Janka rating of 2300lbf, acacia is quite strong than most hardwoods.
This timber is not only admired because of its beautiful rich grain and color but also its heavy resistance to wear and tear. This wood makes ideal walking sticks because of its sturdiness and durable nature.
- Wear and tear-resistant, ideal for outdoor movement.
- Has a rich, beautiful fine grain.
- Acacia wood is also expensive; hence its walking sticks are costlier than others.
- Acacia wood is difficult to stain.
- It has an unpredictable and irregular grain structure with knots hindering it from making straight walking sticks.
Bamboo is believed to originate from China, yet it grows pretty much everywhere and is quite hard with a Janka rating of 1380lbf. Moreover, its slender, lightweight shape has fibers almost three times stronger than wood.
Therefore, bamboo is ideal for walking sticks and even a hiking cane since it’s durable and light to carry. However, bamboo is hollow between branch nodes and would need keen attention when installing a carved wood cane topper.
- Strong and durable.
- It comes in various colors and sizes to suit your desired needs.
- Difficult to bend; therefore, you can’t make a walking stick from one piece.
- For durability, bamboo needs to get treated against insects and fungus before utilizing it as a walking stick.
- It generally grows curvy, making it hard to create straight walking canes.
Birch wood originating from the U.S. typically comes from the yellow birch tree. It enjoys medium hardness with a Janka rating of 1260lbf. It is free from knots and rot-resistant, suitable for a straight walking cane.
Birch wood also enjoys a fine, straight-grained, and even texture, yet some may possess a curl while others may have a wavy grain. Its yellow-light color gives it a modern look.
- Strong and durable.
- It is lightweight.
- Great workability and easy curves.
- Its attractive wood grain makes beautiful walking sticks.
- Quite expensive compared to other wooden sticks.
- It may easily crack if left to dry.
- May wear and tear easily.
Chestnut wood, originally from North America, is most preferred for carving a walking stick because of its attractiveness and robust feature. However, with a Janka rating of 540lbf, it’s less durable than most other hardwoods.
Chestnut wood has a brownish-red appearance, is easy to work with, and can be carved to specific desires. Typically it has straight grain suitable for a straight stick.
In addition, its less dense nature makes it ideal for lightweight and sturdy walking canes. But some species tend to split when carving. Chestnut can also be carved out with its bark intact.
- Lightweight and sturdy.
- Easy to carve.
- Cost-effective compared to other wooden materials.
- Immune to warping, moisture, and humidity destruction.
- Less rot resistant.
- Less durable.
- Some chestnut species may split.
Blackthorn is an extremely textured Irish timber historically used to create shillelaghs or combating sticks. In addition, Blackthorn is a resilient warping-proof wood, thus making it a good candidate for long-lasting walking sticks.
The blackthorn tree is stumpy and short. Yet portions of lengthy sufficient wood to create one-foot sticks are extraordinarily rare. Therefore, canes manufactured from Blackthorn are in extraordinarily excessive demand.
- Strong and durable.
- Resistant to warping, humidity, and moisture.
- Easy to carve
- Expensive due to its excessive demand.
- Short and stumpy.
- Hard to find lengthy straight pieces.
Ebony is a luxurious wood originating from Africa, India, and Sri Lanka and is known for premium walking canes with an exotic natural tan. With a Janka rating of 3220lbf, this wood is dense and hard enough to sink in water.
Moreover, when this wood is polished, it produces a majestic mirror shine surface for wooden walking canes. Ebony is also a convenient choice, making a beautiful walking stick with a denser grain pattern.
- Strong and durable.
- Resistant to rot and extreme weather.
- It has a fine texture compared to most wood.
- Dense grain patterns.
- High artistic value.
- Expensive than most other canes.
- Hard to work with because of its high density.
Walnut wood originates from Persia and America and is dark, dense, and tightly grained. It is averagely hard with a Janka rating of 1010lbf. Its grains vary from wide open to almost closed based on where it grew.
The open-grain walnut carves easier compared to the closed-grain, which is more difficult to carve, although the closed-grain sets a finer finish. As a result, a smooth, well-polished walking stick will feel great and solid.
- Averagely strong and durable.
- It can take intricate carvings.
- Quite expensive compared to other wood.
- Quite heavy compared to other woods.
- It can be affected by harsh weather conditions.
Regarded as the second hardest wood species from North America, Hickory is hard enough with a Janka rating of 1820lbf. It’s quite durable since it absorbs less water and is a much more flexible wood.
Because of its flexible nature, this wood is great for walking sticks and tool handles, for it will last quite long. Hickory canes are best suitable for tall and overweight people to endure the weight.
- Very hard and durable.
- Quite flexible.
- Suitable for plus-size individuals.
- Quite expensive.
- It is hard to work with because of its hardness.
- It’s heavier compared to other wooden sticks.
Maple wood, known to originate from Asia, is admired for its great look, endurance, and strength. Yet with a Janka rating of 1450lbf is also quite hard.
As a result, it’s a favorite for woodworkers, furniture enthusiasts, and the baseball bats industry due to its stiffness. Additionally, a maple walking cane is lighter than some other hardwoods, and it’s easy to polish, showcasing its smooth grain structure.
- Very strong and durable.
- Maple is water-resistant.
- Fairly easy to work with hands or tools.
- Cheaper than some hardwoods.
- Lighter than other cherry woods.
- Scratches easily in their natural state.
- Maple lacks a wider grain variation compared to other wood varieties.
- May discolor over time.
Hazel wood originating from Turkey is highly recognized because of its high elasticity and quite durable. It’s also pretty hard with a Janka rating of 1976lbf.
Stick makers highly regard Hazel wood for its mottled effect on the shaft, thanks to the even texture and unique sheen. This wood also has a legendary reputation for possessing the power to chase away evil spirits.
Besides, its variety of softer, shiny colors will complement well with most walking cane handles.
- Cheaper compared to other wooden sticks.
- Elastic and durable.
- Unique aesthetic value.
- Easy to work with.
- It can make quite a long walking cane.
- Hard to produce straight walking canes.
- Non-resistant to rot and water damage.
Oak originating from America is durable, averagely strong with a Janka rating of 1290lbf, and quite resistant to wear and tear.
Oak is also rot-resistant and enjoys an appealing grain pattern when quartersawn. Its deep, tight grain patterns give its rich hue a sense of authority to highlight any style.
- Oak is very strong and durable.
- It stains and polishes well for an attractive finish.
- Wear and tear-resistant.
- More affordable than other hardwood brands.
- Easy to carve on with both hands and tools.
- It is quite heavy wood due to its high density.
- Exposure to extreme weather can react with oily finishes resulting in a distasteful look.
Linden grows in the Northern Hemisphere and is a soft, lightweight, and straight hardwood known for its strength with a Janka rating of 1820lbf. Linden wood is also less durable because it absorbs water faster than most hardwoods.
Even though it’s fibrous, it provides a natural soft glow with an even fine texture, making it ideal for woodworkers and furniture. Additionally, linden wood is amazing for hand carving. They are preferred for carving out art-inspired canes.
- Suitable for a straight walking cane.
- Easy to work with and carve by hand.
- Cheaper compared to other hardwood canes.
- May bend or break under heavyweight.
- Linden is less durable compared to other hardwoods.
Additional Resources: Best Wood for Bows
How Do You Achieve a Straight Wood for Walking Sticks?
Go for trees with a large surface area. Secondly, avoid using longer walking sticks since they may bend or break when you exert pressure on the cane.
Moreover, an ideal stick for those looking to make their walking stick may be carved out of a thick branch piece from a tree.
How to dry wood for walking sticks?
If you consider making your own walking stick, choose between harvesting green wood or using dry wood. Always harvest above and below branches to avoid splitting the shaft. Using green wood will give you a much stronger and more customizable finished cane. However, the wood should first dry before sealing or staining.
Read can also read: How Long Does Wet Wood Take To Dry
What is the best length for walking canes?
Walking cane length will entirely depend on your height. When the cane is too high, it becomes uncomfortable to move with the stick naturally. On the other hand, you stoop down when it’s too low.
Overall Best Wood for a Walking Stick
The best wood for a walking stick depends on your specific need and personal style. Every tree species offers a unique set of properties and looks.
Yet still, some honorable mentions are worth considering for a beautiful walking stick such as the rosewood and the willow tree if you prefer a cane with its bark.