Preparation of canes
08 September 1997
This article is reproduced, with permission of the author, from a
posting to the AusBDSM mailing-list on the 3rd of September, 1997.
After much searching, I found a very cooperative supplier of
rattan blanks (in Perth) to be:
609 Beaufort Street
I believe that they have shops throughout Australia.
I know others have written about alternative sources of supply,
but I preferred to patronise someone with whom I could discuss openly
the true use of my purchases. Pleasures Unlimited (I spoke to Jamie)
were superb in this regard, and I can thoroughly recommend them. The only
setback was that they do not carry rattan canes in stock, so I had no
opportunity to appraise the items. After much thought and simulation I
Straight ( NO curved handle )
Solid ( NOT hollow )
Unpeeled, or raw
Circular in cross-section
LENGTH: between 800 and 900 millimetre
DIAMETER: about 11 or 12 millimetre
and as flexible as possible.
That which arrived was 940 mm in length, but after handling it I decided
not to reduce its length. With hindsight, this proved to be a wise decision.
The price of the rattan blank was $10.
Deciding which end would become the handle was a difficult exercise,
as the cane had no discernible taper. I finally resolved the problem by
examining the nodes, which resembled a pipe flared to accommodate another;
much like a plumber would join two copper pipes. Assuming that the larger,
'flared' side of the node would be the thicker end of the growing plant, I
made this the handle end.
Rounding of the 'business' end was the next stage. I first used a
sanding-disk driven by an electric drill to abrade the rattan, but quickly
decided that this was far too savage a procedure. I reverted to a manual
process, with the glass or emery paper held flat on a tabletop with one hand
while gripping the cane in the other hand. This is a somewhat tedious method,
but it did produce a very smooth hemispherical end.
Sanding the length of the cane (once again, with hand-held paper)
to smooth the nodes completed the surface preparation. Or so I thought,
because the entire surface of the cane, including the pores at each end,
were now clogged with very fine rattan residue. Convinced that this would
impede absorption of the Estapol/turpentine solution, I gave the cane a
good rinse in methylated spirits. This mild degreasing removed all surface
contamination and unclogged the porous ends. But it took a lot of vigorous
swinging of the cane, and hanging it in a warm atmosphere, before I was
convinced that all the low-viscosity spirit had been removed from the cane.
I assembled the following materials:
Using the funnel, I drained the contents of one 250ml can of
Estapol into the bottle. I rinsed the can into the bottle with an equal
volume of turpentine, capped the bottle, and shook it thoroughly. Estapol
is not homogeneous, and the mixture will separate on standing.
- Two lengths of rigid PVC pipe, 2cm diameter, 105cm in length
(as sold in hardware stores for water reticulation)
- Large rubber stoppers (from a laboratory supply company) to seal the
ends of the above pipe
- Two 250ml cans of Wattyl Estapol (clear or satin), and some
- A clean, sealable bottle, with a capacity of at least 500ml
- A funnel, and lengths of fine string
Having firmly inserted a rubber stopper into one end of a length of
PVC pipe, I attached a piece of string to the handle end of the cane and
lowered the cane into the pipe. Again using the funnel, I poured the
Estapol/turpentine mixture into the pipe until it was nearly full. When the
open end of the pipe is sealed with a second stopper, the cane is forced
deeper into the mixture and the string protrudes past the stopper. Later,
the string will provide a convenient means of handling and hanging the wet
Twice a day, over the next five days, I agitated vigorously the
Estapol mixture by rapidly inverting the pipe, end-for-end. If you do this,
make sure you keep one hand at each end of the pipe, holding in the
stoppers. An ejected stopper would result in a ghastly mess! The pipe had
been stored vertically, to assist capillary action.
When the upper stopper is removed, the cane is seen to float
much lower in the Estapol bath--a measure of how much absorbtion has
occurred. The thinned Estapol dries quickly when the cane is hung in a
well-ventilated location and is soon ready for a light sanding. Excess
Estapol will accumulate at the lower end of the hanging cane, and needs to
be wiped off, to avoid an unwanted 'blob.'
For the final two or three coats, sanding lightly between coats,
I used the second length of PVC pipe and the second can of Estapol. I
added about 20ml of turpentine to a 250ml can of Estapol for the final
coating mixture. This method of coating is quick, non-messy, and produces
a smooth, uniform finish. I used two lengths of pipe because I had more
than one cane in process at the same time. And the drained pipes make
handy carry-cases when transporting the cane.
I was amazed that a piece of rattan could absorb so much Estapol
and still remain so flexible. But the cane was very flexible to begin with;
it all seems to depend on the quality of your starting material.
Poor-quality rattan will not be improved by the Estapol process, but its life
will be prolonged.