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Bending of a cane.
Bamboo cane pose taken during video shoot for Final Exam.
Alison is proudly presenting her personalized cane

TV Nation episode on caning in England (1994).
A rattan cane with a curved handle

A cane is a type of straight stick made from tall, perennial grasses with flexible, woody stalks. The type of material used to make canes is usually hollow or porous and lighter than regular wood. Some of these materials include Spanish cane, bamboo and rattan. Depending on strength, canes can be fashioned for many purposes, such as: making furniture like chairs and tables; making walking sticks; making instruments of corporal punishment.

The word "rotan" (the Malay and Indonesian word for "rattan", from which the English word "rattan" is derived) is often used in Southeast Asian countries (especially Malaysia and Singapore) when referring to a rattan cane. In Malaysia, press reports sometimes use the term "strokes of the rotan" instead of "strokes of the cane". In Malay language, rotan means cane and the verb merotan means "to cane".


Main article: Caning

Canes can be used as spanking implements, and a beating with a cane is known as caning. Traditionally, caning has been adopted as a popular form of school corporal punishment, and in the judicial context as well in some countries. A caning is typically given on the delinquent's buttocks (over clothing or bared) or on the palm of the hand ("hand caning").

While bamboo is much cheaper and more readily available, rattan is the preferred cane for chastisement because of its unique material properties. Rattan is not hard and hollow like bamboo but spongy-solid and very flexible - in fact, more flexible than any other natural material of the same diameter. Spanking with a bamboo cane gives not only an inferior tactile sensation but is also potentially dangerous: bamboo can easily break and the splinters can injure the spankee. A rattan cane, in contrast, is difficult to break.

Caning always comes with the danger of skin and tissue injuries.

Types of canes[edit]

Inexpensive rattan canes can be bought in shops and on street markets in South and Southeast Asian countries, where they are grown and manufactured. In the USA and Europe, they are no longer available in general stores, but can still be purchased in BDSM shops.

Variants in diameter and weight:

  • nursery cane (very thin and lightweight), around 14 ″ (6.4 mm) in diameter.
  • junior cane (thin and lightweight), around 38 ″ (9.5 mm) in diameter.
  • senior cane (medium), around 716 ″ (11 mm) in diameter.
  • adult cane / reformatory cane (thicker and heavier), above 716 ″ (11 mm) in diameter.

Variants in the handle:

  • straight
  • crook-handled (English cane)
  • looped
  • wrist strap (similar to that of a riding crop)

Variants in the finishing:

  • natural
  • sanded
  • oiled
  • varnished
  • rubber/plastic tube covered (using a heat shrink tube)

Variants in shape:

  • straight - the standard cane
  • loopy - a length of cane bent and bound together at the tips to form a loop. This effectively creates an implement suitable for an OTK spanking.

Rattan materials:

  • kooboo - The most common type of rattan used for punishment canes. It is generally light and flexible.
  • dragon - Another type or rattan which is much denser than kooboo and produces more pain.

Oiling, soaking and cane care[edit]

It is possible to make a cane more painful by letting it soak up drops of oil (e.g. linseed) to gain weight. Another option is to soak the cane (which should not be varnished for this purpose) in water overnight. A cane should be regularly soaked if it is unvarnished to prevent it splitting or splintering while in use. If the cane has U-curved handle then the handle should be bound to the shaft of the cane while soaking to prevent it from straightening. The best way to soak a cane is by placing just the tip into a few inches of room temperature water for a few hours or overnight. The water will be drawn up throughout the whole cane while it soaks. Soaking it in brine (salt water) is said to be better because the salt will keep the cane from drying completely out. Canes are best stored somewhere humid like a bathroom to help prevent them from drying out. Any sign of splitting or splintering during, before or after use should cause the cane to be discarded to avoid causing injury.


In other languages[edit]

  • French: canne
  • German: Rohrstock
  • Swedish: Karbas, colloquially also "Mäster Erik"
  • Chinese: 藤条(téng tiáo)

See also[edit]


Video links[edit]