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Best wood for fighting stick / walking cane?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Owen Sparks, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    May 27, 2007
    What in your opinion is the most durable wood for a fighting stick?

    By durable I mean the ability to hold up to repeated impact of training. I know about rattans flexible strength but it tends to be far too light to carry much momentum. Irish Blackthorn is similar to rattan in resilience but has to be imported and is very expensive.

    I am looking for a natural material that is indigenous to North America that can be easily obtained and used to make quality sticks and canes for a small home based Martial Arts business.
  2. jdub3

    jdub3 New Member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Maybe ash or hickory, like baseball bats. That's just a wild guess though, I really don't know enough about wood types to be commenting.:cool:
  3. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

    Oct 6, 2009
    ive heard good things about White wax wood, decent flexibility and density......

    ....not sure if its native to North America, but im sure it cant be too difficult to source.
  4. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Senior Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    The Land of Bowie, Crockett, Travis & Houston
    Rock hard maple - cutting boards are made from it. Having done some work with it the past few weeks I will attest to its hardness.

    Keep an eye out for discarded shipping pallets. You might get lucky and find one made out of cast-off maple. Sometimes the color is wrong or has an internal blemish that is unsuitable for furniture or other uses. I've found several pieces of nice oak and maple that way.

  5. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Participating Member

    May 5, 2006
    People's Republic of Maryland
    White Wax Wood is Asian, so the requirement for it to be from North America rules that out. The aboriginal people of North America used various hardwoods, maple, white oak, hickory, to fashion war clubs. Hornbeam (ironwood) would work, but it's like its name and hard to work. The secret seems to be they used roots from those trees instead of branches to make the best and most durable clubs, the angled, ball headed clubs. The procedure was to find a large hardwood tree that had been blown down in a storm, and harvest a corrisponding root section. Remove the outer layer, and allow it to dry, then carve. If you are running a business making these, you can't depend on the weather, to blow down trees when you need them eh?

    The problem I see is that while you may find a way to make a good fighting stick or club, does it look as such? I carry a hawthorne walking stick, as it looks like a cane, and I have even added a rubber tip. Canes are common place, and ruffians will probably judge something that looks like a cane to be a mark of infirmity in the person carrying it. When they suddenly get cudgeled or Escrima'd upside the head after making an agressive move is when they should discover the "cripple" is able bodied and armed quite well; not before.

    So I should think you might concentrate on making something that looks common place, and making it out of durable materials, and learning how to use that in an SD situation, rather than carrying something like an Escrima stick or two, made of North American materials. A walking stick continues to be a good idea, as it has been for a couple of centuries.

  6. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    Jun 3, 2008

    Grows in low places near water, and has a dense twisted grain pattern that makes a very very rugged stick. It may not be strait, most will be crooked with interesting twists in it, but I've never had one break. I've tired during workouts on a heavy bag. It also has a spiky type shaft that you can leave the little nubs on for a ripping effect. The root nobs can be either 90 degree to about 40 degree that makes for a nice pistol grip if you sand it right. Has very thick heavy bark and under layer, so it's better to leave the bark on and just smooth with 000 steel wool and stain the color of choice. You can get iron or brass bottom ferruls from lots of places, ( Lee Valley tools for one) then put a rubber end on that can be pulled off quick.
  7. Mainsail

    Mainsail Senior Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    I found a long straight piece of tree root (species unknown) in a log jam in a river after the spring snow-melt floods. I made a hiking staff out of it, and that's some of the toughest wood I've ever found. It’s flexible enough to absorb some shock, lightweight, but is unbelievably tough.
  8. glistam

    glistam Active Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    It's actually Chinese, species ligustrum lucidum. It can grow here in the states but many areas classify it as invasive or noxious. Though, nearly every martial arts supplier I have walked into carries big bins of them in various lengths on the cheap.

    On the plus side, the wood is excellent in my opinion. My first "fighter" walking stick was wax wood, a that I later cut down to a cane size. Stuff is in-frickin-destructable and mine has seen it's share of broken metacarpals and concussions. As to the weight, I am not certain. I can weigh my stick later this evening and report back.

    For other woods, other members of this forum sold me on the merits of American Hornbeam aka Ironwood, possible one of the strongest I have ever encountered. My two canes I have made weigh about 0.9-0.95 pounds without any metal fittings. It is a native species to North America though it is more common in the northeast. I will state the downsides though: It is so strong and stubborn that it makes it a serious pain in the --- to work with. Just sawing a limb off a downed tree takes longer than you would expect, and trying to carve one with a knife takes both hands pushing on the blade. Also, most limbs are not particularly straight; your not going to end up with a "pretty" stick in the end. If you can tame it though, it's a formidable companion.
  9. knifestuff

    knifestuff New Member

    Mar 19, 2005
    ash--lighter than maple or hickory; very tough (meaning ability to resist breakage)
  10. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2008
    Southern Virginia
    I have used oak, maple, and various fruit woods with good results for canes.
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    Hickory is used for most of these if you're looking at American hardwood. Hornbeam is an alternative, but would be harder to get than hickory.

    There are numerous commercial sources for hickory staves/canes.
  12. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Participating Member

    May 11, 2006
    Deep East Texas
    ^^^^^^^^^^Agree that hickory is going to be the wood most available to you in the lower 48.

    We are fortunate to have a good supply of Eastern Hop Hornbeam (ironwood) here in Deep East Texas. I prefer it over the several species of hickory that grow here.
  13. Markus

    Markus New Member

    Dec 20, 2009
    Sunny Bend Farm, Hartly, Delaware.
    I swing a sledge hammer for a living. A hickory sledge hammer handle is tough, light and cheap. Every time a handle gets broken at work I get a new whacking stick.
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    On the way to Camp Perry I stopped off at the Louisville Bat Company.

    They claimed ash bats were heavier and lasted longer than maple bats.

    Maple is used as you get a lighter bat for the same contour, increasing bat speed.

    They also charged more for a maple bat, $85.00 versus $55.00 for the ash. Apparently maple broke more often.
  15. Byrd666

    Byrd666 Active Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Hill County, Texas
    I've been using a piece of bois d'arc as a cane for years. I can pretty much take on a tank with it, and win no less. Just peel off the bark, no easy task by the way, and seal it. Done. One fighting stick, staff or cane that will last pretty much forever.

    Or you can try to get a piece of black walnut. Last I heard it was the hardest natural wood on the planet.
  16. Shanghai Dan

    Shanghai Dan New Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    I like purpleheart. Hard, tough, decent weight, and beautiful wood as well - no one would think a figured chunk of purple colored wood would be anything but a decorative cane/walking stick!
  17. Tortuga12

    Tortuga12 New Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    Japanese Honeysuckle

    Had a TON of this on my folks' property, made a couple of walking sticks out of it. Very tough, very springy! Just a question of finding a branch of the right diameter and curvature!
  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Elder

    Jun 11, 2005
    My first choice would be hickory. Second would be ironwood (hornbeam). I suspect that dogwood would make a great staff as well; very tough wood if you have ever tried to cut a large one down.

    Another that could be interesting is Crepe Myrtle which I have growning in my yard and seems to be fairly hard, slightly flexible, and certainly can have an interesting look to it depending on species... say Nachez as an example.
  19. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Not wood, and not cheap: canvas micarta is the best fighting stick material.

    I've seen several 1 1/4" purple heart staves broken, btw.
  20. Mike1234567

    Mike1234567 member

    Jul 6, 2010
    Alamo City
    Another "none wood" option... I carry a cheap left-over 4 foot piece of 1 inch PVC pipe. It's lightweight and tough as nails.

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