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This is one of my favourite props, I purchased an amber orb/ball for the top of the cane, I considered attempting making one myself however I concluded it wasn't worth it. I'm not planning to attempt a 100% accurate version, for example I don't like the large rubber tip found on the original and plan on making a slimmer metal tip and I may go for a bare wood finish to the cane as the painted finish in the film is not to my liking.

I have already finished making my first version of the cane, however I got the proportions and scaling wrong and the cane is too narrow. In this thread I will show the process of making first cane and then hopefully a more accurate one.

Then the cane section poses an interesting challenge its a pretty unusual shape I considered various options for making it. But to achieve the asymmetric and complex curves of the shaft, I was going to need to 3D model the cane, followed by CNC machine the profile. Using some pictures of an original prop being sold at auction for scaling while making adjustments for my height, the 3d model came out well.

This version of the model is a later more accurate version, initially I modelled it to narrow and the proportion of the cane didn't look right, as you will see in future posts.

Screenshot 2022-05-21 at 21.43.54.png

The shaft of the cane is spilt into 3 section. In order to fit them on the rotary table of my CNC machine. Steel insert will be glued into the end of each section and threaded rod used to hold each section together. I made sure in the modelling that the joins are circular and concentric therefore the orientation of the each section at the joins is not important.
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Steel insert are used to join the section together, I used 10mm diameter steel rod, drilled and tapped M6 through the middle and finished with a few grooves in the outside to help when the insert is glued in. The inserts are longer than is required, after gluing the end each section are faced to length, leaving the wood and steel flush.

Here the Inserts glued in with epoxy, and then faced off on the lathe so the wood and steel are flush, help to give a good surface to attach each piece to the CNC. On the right show the threaded rod used to attach each section.


The top of the cane an insert to pushed further in to provide a mounting point for the amber top of the cane.


Here's the solution I used to ensure the amber orb has a mechanical attachment to the cane, didn't want to use glue.

However I will glue the aluminium adapter to the amber orb. Considered screwing it into the amber but didn't want to risk damaging or the screw being visible in the final prop. none the less this gives me plenty of flexibility the modify the cane and still use the same amber piece. As with the wood sections M6 threaded rod is used to secure the amber orb to the cane.


Here's the orb mounted to the prototype cane, the one that is too narrow. I will show the machining process in the next post, sorting through my photos.

This is still version 1 (these are some photos from earlier this year)
I'm working on a better scaled version and improving the taper as it goes down the cane. this one is a little thin - as detailed in the first post of this thread.

Here's some pics of the machining setup.

Probing to set the datum. This bit of aluminium bolt into the insert and is held in the chuck.

A different arrangement is used for the part that holds the orb section. this aluminium piece, bolts to the steel insert buried down the part and has a centre in the end so it can held without touching the wood. I didn't want to hold on the wood particular tapping in wood didn't seem to be a good solution.


And some photos of the machining itself.



I also whipped up a aluminium tip for the cane, not accurate to the film. But in my opinion it's an improvement on the rather oversize rubber one in the original. I turned this on the lathe. I hope to have a small rubber tip on the next version.

I have been working on version 2, preparing the wood sections to receive the inserts and get them ready for machining. This wood is 40mm diameter allows some more flexibility in size. On version 1 the wood was 30mm diameter this is very close to the finished size. Version 2 is slightly wider so larger diameter material is required. Had the turn some more inserts pretty quick job on the lathe. 10mm steel, 20mm long with an M6 hole through I also include some grooves in the outside to help the glue adhere.


The sawn finish isn't a problem as the insert is turned to length after its is glued in.

One of the insert has to be glued around 55mm down, hence the used of a bolt to get is in there - this insert allows the amber orb to be held on top of the cane. It's a little bit tricky as it a one shot job, just have to give is a good whack the a hammer make sure is fully down. It leaves glue smeared up the side I used a reamer to clear this out after the glue had dried.

Thanks for going in to so much detail about your process and the work you are doing. Looking forward to seeing the finished product
You have a solution here, but for others, pool cue joint hardware might be a viable alternative for sectional shafts like this.

I have made a few cues in the past...
You have a solution here, but for others, pool cue joint hardware might be a viable alternative for sectional shafts like this.

I have made a few cues in the past...
That's an excellent suggestion. I considered using some threaded inserts that screw in, but I was concerned about splitting the wood as it gets thin at the bottom joint. The joints are only required due to the limitation of the CNC machine. If for example, you were going to turn the cane on a wood lathe, it maybe possible to do away with the joint all together and have a single length.
The best way (and most difficult) to cut threads in wood is with "live tooling" where a bit is rotating and the lathe is set up to cut the thread as if a single-point tool was being used.

BUT, I had reasonably good luck with both single-point tools as well as taps, to cut threads. They don't look nice at all, but once they are slathered in West System slow-set marine epoxy, it doesn't matter much...

Wood type matters too. I was typically threading into sugar maple, which tends to tear out with a tap; even single-pointing (external) threads, for stainless joint collars would tear out with 0.003" infeed per pass, but again, it worked out fine once it was all together.

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