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Jeb Hawthorn
07-16-2007, 07:41 PM
I'm an infantry man, but for an upcoming living history we may be needing a crutch. Would anyone know how to make one? Much thanks.

TimKindred
07-16-2007, 08:17 PM
Comrade,

In this image of old John Burns, of Gettysburg fame, you can see his crutches in good clarity behind him. Ash. Oak, Poplar, etc. No padding, easy to make with simple tools and hardwood and some white glue. Cut to fit.

http://www.civil-war.net/cw_images/files/images/372.jpg

Respects,

hanktrent
07-16-2007, 08:28 PM
The "T" kind is the easiest. You've probably seen period photos, right? I made a pair a while ago. If you have access to trees and period tools, they're pretty simple. Not sure what the easiest way would be otherwise.

You need a pole for the upright part of course. It should be seasoned so it doesn't dry and shrink and loosen in the hole. I used an old bean pole cut from a sapling so it was already seasoned, and smoothed it with a drawknife. You definitely don't want splinters!

For the underarm part, you need a piece about 8" x 4" x 2", give or take. If it's green, you probably wouldn't even need to glue the upright in. Saw or hew a slight curve in the top to fit the underarm, and shape the bottom similarly to reduce the weight, so the whole top is a thick very shallow V. Round the edges. Again, the smoother the better. I used a saw, hewing hatchett, and drawknife.

Drill a hole in the bottom of the underarm part, only partway through, just a little smaller in diameter than the upright pole, and fit the pole in it snugly. You'll probably want to shape the pole slightly oval at the top, so it's less apt to split out the underarm part when you tap it in. Carpenter's hide glue will keep it together if you don't trust the snugness of the fit or if there's a chance the pole is less seasoned than the top.

And that's about it. Though I made them for living history, I've used them for real for several days when I had gout, and they worked pretty well. Some cloth wrapped around the top for padding could be added, but a nice wide custom-fitted top is pretty comfortable.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Jeb Hawthorn
07-21-2007, 03:47 PM
Comrades,

Thanks for all your help. I'm very happy to say that I assembled my crutch without incident and I'm very pleased to give you the ned result! Thanks again. http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a384/sidvicious21/crutch.jpg