How practical is a hidden sword inside a walking stick/cane? How wide could a person go before the cane became suspiscious as to be concealing something? And would such a weapon be strong enough in serious skirmishes? Or should a user stick to simply using the cane, and perhaps having a hidden blade in the end?
Amusingly, I used to own a sword cane. I threw it out during the last move, otherwise I could post pictures.
The sword canes I’ve seen have been screw on arrangements. Externally, they look like a normal cane with a metal band just below the grip (which isn’t unusual for normal canes either).
They use very narrow blades to maintain the silhouette of a normal cane. This is a necessary component of the design, by the way. The entire point is to have a hidden blade, which falls apart when you’re carrying around something that looks more like a scabbard than a cane. You’re talking about a blade that’s going to be, at most, around 1/2″ across, and usually around 24″ to 25″ long.
The primary purpose of these things was as a self defense tool. It’s not a weapon intended for heavy combat, just to deal with one guy armed with a knife.
To some extent, overall practicality depends on the individual weapon, not sword canes as a whole. For example, the one I owned featured a very loose blade, which could be rattled by shaking the grip slightly. Rattling it may serve the intended purpose of scaring off a potential mugger, but I wouldn’t have wanted to take the thing into a fight.