DIY Self Defense Cane – how to Make One by Yourself

Taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or exploring remote or unfamiliar places to appease one’s wanderlust can sometimes take dark turns.

I’m talking about the constant fear that makes you turn head every few steps of the way, especially when walking alone; if not for the apprehensions of encountering muggers and petty thieves, then definitely the occasional perverts.

So why exactly am I blabbering about different uncomfortable situations in an article about how to make a self-defense cane? The reason is to emphasize the importance of why one has to resort to learning such skills in the first place.

Nevertheless, before we dive into the actual process DIY self-defense cane, let’s get to know why self-defense skill is important.

Know Your Self Defense

The environment in which we live is not as safe as we would like it to be. No matter the cause of the phenomenon, crimes small or big, seem to be only on the rise each passing day.

Of course, there are always the options of calling 911 or screaming your lungs out to attract passersby. But believe it or not, at times of predicament, the chances of a stranger reaching out or the law intervening on time aren't very high on the probability percentage.


With no real-life Batman or Superman to rescue the citizens, it is ultimately our responsibility to learn to protect ourselves. Undeniably though, not everyone has the time, stamina, or patience to learn martial arts and other such combat techniques.

Added to that, physically impaired people and elderly folks (being the most likely targets of muggers) wouldn't be able to take full advantage of such defensive courses.  All points indicate the need for a self-defense weapon to armor oneself against unforeseen dangers.

Cane: A Self-Defense Weapon 

When talking about a self-defense weapon, canes can be regarded amongst the wisest of choices. This is because they are extremely inconspicuous and harmfully less dangerous when compared to guns and Tasers.

Also, canes as a self-defense weapon help to produce the element of surprise sometimes required of a "fight or flight" situation. How so?

Well, most people don’t even think twice when they see a person carrying a cane. Therefore presuming that a mugger wholly focused on executing the “grab and run” wouldn’t even identify the cane as a potential weapon of defense.

This leaves a window of opportunity for the targeted person to wield his cane and dissuade or unarm the attacker at the get-go. Not to forget, in terms of portability and access, restriction on carrying a cane is seldom posed. This advantage, together with the device’s discreet nature, makes it an ideal defense companion.

Then again, a cane doesn’t only provide defense against criminals. It also helps people to tackle the dangers of the natural environment. Imagine you are hiking along a trail and suddenly encounter a wild animal like a snake poised to strike.

Or there comes a stream along your hiking routes with unfathomable water depth. What about not being sure if the ground in front is thick sludge or quicksand? All these scenarios could be more or less salvaged with the help of the cane in hand.

Certainly, with all these benefits, a cane is nothing if not a low key 360° defense solution!

How to Make a Self Defense Cane 

This segment is purely for those people who like to challenge themselves. So if you are someone wondering why I need to learn about the makings of a cane, then this passage is probably not the one you were looking for.

With hundreds of different types and brands of canes readily available in the market, there is no embarrassment in making a can by yourself.

But the heart wants what it wants! So if some of my readers want to know how to make a cane, then I will tell them exactly how it's done.

Step 1: Determine the Wood Type

The most important material you would require to fashion a cane is wood. In this regard, the local hardwood store will give you a range of options to choose from. White oak, cypress, ash, walnut, rosewood, ebony, amaranth, afrormosia wood, etc. are considered some of the best woods to make canes. 

However, if you don’t feel like spending money, then there is always the option of hunting the local woods (if any) or jogging areas for some sturdy tree branches. 

Make sure that you are not trespassing or breaking any regulations. Select a branch that is sturdy, moderately straight, sports minimal knots, and is around one-two inches in girth.

Step 2: Measuring the Height

Once you are satisfied with the wood selection, the next step is to evaluate the height of the cane. The usual technique is to take the measurements from a person’s wrist joint to the ground. Provided that the person is standing straight with the arms hanging comfortably at the sides.

But if you are not convinced enough with the method and want a more accurate measurement, then follow this simple formula. Length of cane = Height of individual (in meters) x 0.45 + 0.87 m.

Don’t worry; this is not something I came up at random! It is a well-established formula used by orthopedists and physiotherapists all the time for the same purpose. 

Step 3: Shaping the Wood

In this step, you would require three things: a hand-saw, protective hand gloves, and goggles. Once you are done with the preparation, bring out the selected piece of wood to your workbench.

Using the saw remove any, and all branches attached to the central wood. While cutting, make sure to start at the point where the side branch meets the wood. The main target here is to end up with a single straight branch. So even if you have to make small dimples in the wood to remove the branches, don’t shy away from it!

Once you are happy with the outcome, cut the wood according to the height measurements taken previously. Separately cut an extra piece of wood for the handle.

Step 4: Remove the Bark 

The next step is to remove the bark. Using a sheath knife or a box cutter carefully peel the layers of barks until you reach the fresh white wood. As a counteractive measure, preheat the bark to soften it a bit.

Make sure that the tool used to remove the bark is always brandished from the same direction to maintain the consistency of the shape.

Note: In the case of the wood being bought from the store, all you have to do is to cut and resize it according to the desired measurements.

Step 5: Sand to Smoothness

For this step, you can use high-quality sandpaper or electric sanders (i.e., if you have one). The process of sanding requires time, patience, and a stable hand. There is nothing much to say about this process as here all you have to do is carefully sand away the layers of wood until a uniform smoothness is reached.

Whether you are using sandpapers or sanders, make sure that wood is being worked on from one direction only. That is left to right or vice versa as opposed to random rubs to avoid damaging the surface.

Sanding the handle will require a bit more expertise compared to the shaft, as you will have to work on bringing about the curvature of the crook to perfection. 

Step 6: Attaching the Handle

Once you are happy with the design of the cane shaft and handle, all that is left to do is to bond them into a single structure. Nowadays, there are very strong adhesives available to hold wood pieces together. So you can use any type of glue that catches your fancy to stick the handle to the cane.

However, if you are not sure about glues, then feel free to go traditional. Using a drill, create a 2-3 inch incision in the shaft through the top and then nail the handle securely to it. For enhanced protection, you can also combine the two methods.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

At this stage, you can also opt to add a rubber tip at the base of the cane to protect against slippage. The cane is structurally complete at this point.

All that is left to do now is apply paint or varnish. Conversely, an alternate application of linseed oil and coats of floor paste wax can also be used to glamour up the overall looks of the cane.

Final Words

For a defensive weapon to be deemed worthy, it has to adhere to three specific traits.

The first of these is portability. That is, the tool has to be lightweight to be carried by a person all day long. Second, it should be loyal to concealment. Specifically speaking, such devices should be easy to camouflage from prying eyes. 

Finally, and most importantly, it should be nimble to the act. This means the device should be quick and flexible enough to operate when needed.

All three factors seamlessly merge with the basic characteristics of canes, thereby making it a formidable self-defense weapon of choice.

  • Updated March 28, 2020
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