About My Third Leg

People often ask me. How did you come up with the idea of a leg bone cane? How long does it take to make a cane?Where do I make them? How are the canes made?

The great philosopher, Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I needed a cane but like many people, I refused to use one because I was too young and thought a cane would make me appear weak. My hip was hurting to the point that I was forced to give in to the idea of using a cane. Of all the canes I looked at, none suited me. I wanted something unique. While researching hip replacement procedures, I saw a diagram of a complete leg bone. I wondered if I could make a cane patterned after a human leg. After a few attempts I had a pattern that I traced onto a piece of wood and began carving. I was very proud of my hand carved cane.

As I was doing research as to what constitutes “good cane design” I came across an article written by Melanie Diez, Canes Analysis and Recommendations for Improvement. It was her research paper that I followed when I designed my unique leg bone cane.

The first day I used it in public I learned that it drew lot of attention from people who saw it. One lady who was a medical model maker and engineer was so fascinated with the cane she offered to help me obtain a patent. I put my cane on an eBay auction website. It sold for $347.00. The rest is history, The public made me go into business and I became so busy I couldn’t keep up with hand carved canes, so I paid to have a mold made. The canes are now made from glass filled polycarbonate.

Plastic pellets are put in to a machine that is about forty feet long. The pellets are heated to make them soft. The measured material is then shot into the mold and blasted with pressurized nitrogen gas. The gas pushes the molten plastic against the walls of the mold, forming a hollow cane that is about 3/16” thick. When it cools it is removed from the mold. Each cane must be further processed to remove any tool marks and the parting line cause by the two mold halves. The cane must be sanded smooth and sprayed with a finish of some type. Addition processing is required for dipped canes, hand painted canes, canes that require medallions, crocks, etc.

The high production mold is capable of making thousands of canes at a rate of one every fifteen seconds. Each cane must remain in the mold for an additional forty-five seconds to cool enough that it can be handled without bending. My mold is located in a plastics factory near Erie Pennsylvania. When I need more canes I call and request a minimum of fifteen hundred canes and I receive them within about three weeks. The hand carved canes take approximately twenty hours to carve and finish.