This was a delightful project, more for the person with whom i worked than for the project itself. This is, as the name indicated, a cane made for a Grandpa. It was a complete surprise gift from a young grandchild who saw that Grandpa needed a bit of help getting around, and undertook to remedy the situation. What a wonderful way to show Grandpa your love.
The cane itself has a heavy brass grip and brass foot, and is turned from Hard Maple that has been placed in black dye for a week to attain the deep black permanence desired. The finish is Velvit Oil for durability and water protection, buffed to a sheen with a topcoat of carnauba wax. On the leading face of the cane while in use Grandpa's name is engraved and, since it was made is important to Grandpa, we engraved "Made in USA" at the foot.
Made in Elon, NC
All of our products are handmade
by expert makers.
Apologies for the length of this review, but I hope the details will be of interest to anyone considering Jim Barbour for an important project.
A few months ago I purchased a historically significant American-made walking cane which I was able to date to 1858. Unfortunately, all that remained of its shaft was a one-inch stub, neatly cut off just below the handle. I started searching on line for someone who could restore the cane to the way it would have looked when it was made almost 160 years ago, and found it remarkably difficult to find anyone.
Then I came across Jim's ShopDog Turnery page at CustomMade, where he had canes of various types illustrated and described. I could tell immediately from these and his other projects that he had the skill and attention to detail that my restoration would require, and so I put in a request for a quote.
Jim got back to me with what seemed like a very reasonable price, and we started a discussion on what needed to be done. As we exchanged messages back and forth and I gave him further details of the cane's history, it was obvious that he had an appreciation and understanding of its importance, and the need to make the restoration historically accurate.
Initially I had asked Jim about an ebonized hardwood shaft, but further investigation of the remaining stub of the old shaft showed that it was true ebony, the traditional wood of some of the best canes ever made. Jim agreed with me that we should use ebony for the replacement, a wood which is hard to find these days, and after some research he was able to locate material from a sustainable source.
Then we had to decide on the ferrule, the metal piece which protects the tip of the cane. Modern ferrules are readily available, but these are too short in length to be appropriate for a mid-nineteenth century cane, which for protection against muddy unpaved streets would typically have a ferrule three or more inches long. Again Jim came through, with a recommendation of a fellow craftsman who could supply a custom-made brass ferrule that would be correct for the period, exactly what was needed. This came in bright brass, which Jim said he could patinate for an aged look.
With everything in place, Jim began work on the cane. I had sent him the handle during the course of our discussion, as he had very kindly offered to fit it precisely to the cane as part of the project, which included turning the new ebony shaft to the correct diameter and taper to match the handle, aging the brass ferrule and fitting it to the tip of the cane, and adding scribed lines to the shaft and ferrule to match the decoration of the handle.
Finally the cane was ready, and I received a message from Jim that he was about to ship it. Two days later it arrived in the mail, so well packed that it took a good five minutes to carefully work through all the layers of protection.
The result was all I could have hoped for, with every detail exactly as we had discussed. The solid ebony shaft gives the cane a heft which could not have been achieved with any other wood, and the craftsmanship of the work and the finishing of the materials are both outstanding.
Jim's interest in the history of my cane and his determination to make every detail correct were obvious at every step, and the result is a historically accurate restoration of an important artifact. I would very happily recommend Jim for any wood turning project, no matter how complicated.