How to Repair or Maintain a Walking Stick or Cane

Instructions on How to Repair, Maintain and Preserve Walking Sticks, Canes and Staffs

You rely on your cane or walking stick to give you support, balance and to maintain your independence. After all the miles you put on your walking stick, eventually it will need repairs. Walking sticks and canes crack, the cane tips wear out and handles break. Learn these basic walking cane repairs to get even more use and freedom out of your cane.

If you're looking for cane parts and accessories, click here.

Repairing Cracks in a Walking Stick or Cane

Your cane is under a lot of stress every time you use it. The pressure exerted on the wood ultimately results in small cracks. These cracks are not just an eyesore but a sign of weakening material that leads to larger cracks. Filling and repairing these cracks with wood epoxy or wood filler may help extend the life of the walking stick.

  1. Gently sand the area of the repair if you will refinish the cane once complete.
  2. Clean the repair area thoroughly with a soft cloth, making sure you remove all the dirt and debris from inside the crack.
  3. Wearing protective gloves, mix the epoxy or wood filler according to the instructions.
  4. Push the epoxy or filler into the cracks on the cane with your hands.
  5. Scrape away the excess filler with a plastic knife or scraper.
  6. Allow the filler product to dry (check instructions for drying time).
  7. Sand the cane lightly until a uniform surface texture is achieved.
  8. Clean the surface thoroughly with a dry, cloth towel
  9. Apply wood sealer to the repair area , let dry and then refinish as desired.

Replacing Walking Cane Tips or Bases

One of the most common cane repairs is replacing the cane tip or quad base. This is a fairly easy repair to execute, asides from removing the tip which is the most difficult part. To replace a cane tip do the following:

  1. Apply heat from a hairdryer or heat gun around the cane tip. Or, to release suction tips, slide a pin or hairpin between the tip and the cane until you break the air seal. (See blog: How to remove cane tips to learn more.
  2. Grasp the cane tip with a pair of large pliers and twist until the tip becomes loose.
  3. Rotate the cane tip from side to side and gently remove it from the shaft.
  4. Clean the exterior of your cane tip to remove residue and dirt.
  5. Push the new rubber cane tip onto the end of the cane.
  6. Twist and push the tip onto the cane.
  7. Tap the cane tip on the ground to secure it in place. Ensure the tip is fully on before use.

We have high quality cane tips and cane bases for sale here.

Repairing Walking Stick Handles

Your cane handle is one of the most stress-absorbing cane parts. Therefore it is prone to damage and often in need of repair. Luckily, today cane handles are fairly easy to replace. If you have a designer cane handle you can simply unscrew the handle and replace it with a new one. Some, like the common foam cane handles just just slide off and on with a little bit of elbow grease. Others involve more extensive repair.

Replacing Cane Handles

  1. Unscrew the existing handle by turning it counterclockwise
  2. Replace the bushing
  3. Attach the new handle by screwing it securely to the base

Repairing Wood Cane or Walking Stick Handles

A wood or other cane handle can be repaired by sealing and filling cracks, or by replacing the entire handle completely.

  1. Lightly sand the handle with 100-200 grit sandpaper
  2. Clean the handle thoroughly with a cloth and soapy water
  3. Let dry completely
  4. Apply wood filler to the cracked areas
  5. Scrape off excess and let dry overnight
  6. Sand and refinish the handle

Replacing a Foam Cane Handle

Foam cane handles are simple to replace and comfortable to use. Find a replacement foam cane handle.

  1. Remove the old handle by carefully cutting it away with scissors, then twist and pull it off the cane handle.
  2. Remove any glue or residue with a light soapy solution
  3. Apply water to the handle surface
  4. Slide the new foam handle onto the cane
  5. Let dry completely

How to Fix or Replace Cane Straps

Cane Straps are an important cane accessory. They keep your cane right at hand and prevent it from dropping on the ground. These straps can tear, break or wear out however. When they do, it's simple to replace cane straps.

Snap-on Cane Straps

  1. Simply unsnap the old cane stap
  2. Attach the new strap and snap the button securely

Clip-on Cane Straps

  1. Remove the existing plastic cane strap from the cane
  2. Push the new cane strap into place around the top of the cane

Offset Cane Straps

Offset handle cane straps are inserted into the end of the cane.
  1. Pull the strap out of the handle to remove. This may require use of pliers or a small prying tool. Be careful not to pry on the finished side of the cane
  2. Push the new strap plug into the end of the cane
  3. Tap into place with a non-marring tool until flush with handle edge

Shop for new cane straps.

How to Seal a Walking Stick

Sealing a walking stick or wooden cane is the best way to protect the finish and make it look newer, for longer. Whether you want to seal a new walking stick or reseal an existing walking stick or wood cane, the process is the same.

What sealer do you use to refinish a walking stick or wood cane? Choose a high quality outdoor sealer that stands up to the elements. Oil-based sealers are generally the best. Shop for cane protectant and polish.

  1. Sand the surface of the walking stick or cane with rough to medium grit (50-100 grit) sand paper. If you are resealing a walking stick, remove as much of the existing finish as possible. You want a smooth, consistent texture to apply your sealer.
  2. Clean excess residue or dirt from the surface of the cane or walking stick. Wipe the surface down with a dry cloth and ensure that all residue is removed and it is fully dry.
  3. Apply the wood sealer using a bristle brush making sure you coat the entire wooden surface area.
  4. Let the cane dry completely.
  5. Lightly sand with fine grit (200 grit) sand paper.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until you achieve the finish you desire.

Remember to polish your wooden walking stick or cane to preserve the finish. We recommend using Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Preserver every few months to maintain a polished finished and keep dust and dirt off your cane.