Hiking Stick: Red Birch Sapling, Elk Antler, Burled Walnut, with Inlays and Scrimshaw

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 10-11-2008 10:53 PM 10884 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This Hiking Stick has been ”Sold” and resides in Phoenix, Arizona USA


Serial Number #2008-37
Height: 53.75 inches

Welcome Surfers:
If you are surfing looking for a special walking cane on the internet, go toward the bottom of this posting where you’ll find a list of canes that I have built that are ready to ship immediately. Also, there are links to several more customized canes that have already been sold to give you ideas for your own commissioned cane.

You can reach me by emailing to:
[email protected]

Or you can visit the DeCou Website

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Photo 1:

Project Story:
I like to go for hikes and walks with the kids, when I like to take a Stick along. Most of the time I have nothing but a fallen limb, or a piece of scrap from the wood shop, putting all of the cool sticks I make in a box and shipping them out. But, several months ago I built myself a really cool Walking Stick out of a twisted piece of drift wood and a section of elk antler, and I enjoyed using it.

Then, early in the summer, a nice man from South Carolina found the photos on the internet, and emailed me asking if he could buy it. So, I have been Stickless for a few months now.

Which in a way, is sad, I’ve made a lot of sticks and canes this year, just not for myself. Remember that old saying, “the painter’s house is always the ugliest on the block.” Well, that is the situation here as well with walking sticks.

So, this past week, I did a practice stick while engineering the details for a commissioned sapling walking stick and built myself another Stick. This one is tall, so I will call it a Hiking Stick.

I haven’t figured out what to put on the antler end cap. I enjoy doing Scrimshaw artwork, but have rarely done anything for myself to keep. “What’s Scrimshaw, you Say?” You can go to this older blog story for more information on the art form, and several examples of my artwork.

Anyway, at this point, I haven’t received the inspiration of what Scrimshaw Artwork to include on this Stick. In the mean time, if someone decides they would like this Hiking Stick, then I can do whatever artwork they would like to have on the end. Until then, I’ll just use the Stick.

Turquoise Inlay:
I just have always liked Turquoise. I don’t really know why. We are all drawn to something. For me it is something naturally occuring, and aqua in color. So, for me, turquoise is my favorite, although I can’t tell you why. I’ve only been to the Southwest part of the country four times, and two of those trips were very memorable vacation trips with the family when I was a kid. So, that may be the reason. We’ll just say it is at this point. I get emails every month from someone suggesting I move my business down to where the “real money” is in Santa Fe, or Sedona, or somewhere else. But, I’m a Kansas boy, and I’d like my kids to be Kansas Kids as well. So, we just stay here, and hope that Google is nice to us.

Liking turquoise, and affording Turquoiset, are two different things these days.

Used to be that the pretty little stones were “cheap.” Not anymore. It is has become an expensive stone to buy. A stone like I used on this Hiking Stick can cost as much as 10 gallons of gasoline, (see what I mean?).

And there are way more fakes than real stones out there. I’ve been “taken” a few times, and so I buy turquoise very cautiously nowadays. This turquoise nugget is the Real-Deal, and so I cut the stone in half, and inlayed half of it in a custom knife handle this week, and the other half in this Hiking Stick.

Finding a Sapling:
The Sapling for this project came from one of my Elementary School classmates. He was talking to another of our classmates about the silly work that I’m trying to make a living at, and then, I received a gift of a bunch of Red Birch Saplings all cut to length for a Hiking Stick.

Isn’t it interesting how we meet other kids in 1st Grade, and all of these years later we still care enough to go cut sapllings for each other? It’s not easy finding people like that. Pretty well choked me up when I was given the sticks. Good people in Kansas.

So, I’ve been patiently waiting on the Saplings to dry, protecting them for the wood boring bugs. And finally, this week one of those Saplings found it’s way into a new Hiking Stick. On many of my Sticks, I’ve had to steam/fire straighten them. This time, I decided to keep the stick just as it grew, with a couple of curves in it.

I left the bark on it, and left the limb nubs a little long and sanded them smooth, just for “character.” After gently sanding the bark surface, I apply a satin-lacquer finish to seal the bark and give it a smoother texture, a technique I saw used by other furniture builders in the Western Design Conference where I showed my work during 2006.


Shaft: Kansas Red Birch sapling

Thumb-Stick Top: Burled Walnut Ring, Black-Gold Fantasy Marble, Figured Maple, burnt orange vulcanized rubber spacers, Kansas Whitetail Deer shed antler. On the end of the Antler tops is a Turquoise Nugget anbd the other side is capped with synthetic ivory

Tip: Brass Ferrule, w/ Replaceable Rubber Tip

Photo 2:

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Cane Sample Slideshow: To hear Music, click the Speaker Icon


More Walking Sticks & Canes:
If you go to my Mark DeCou Website you won’t find very many canes pictured there. I do realize that I need to invest in improving my website, but until that is accomplished, here are few more of my canes posted at lumberjocks, thanks for your patience.

Handmade Finished Canes For Sale, Ready to Ship Now: Online Shop Inventory: Click Here to Visit my Cane Inventory Page

Some Cane that are Unsold:
  1. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick, Serial N0. 2009-06
  2. Folk-Art Carved Pirate Face Cane -Serial No. 2005-16
  3. Folk-Art Carved Mountain Man Face Cane -Serial No. 2006-03
  4. Fancy Barley Twisted Ebonized Oak & Elk Antler Cane, Serial No. 2009-05
  5. Rustic Natural Walking Stick, Nanny McPhee Movie Inspired, Serial No. 2009-07
  6. Fancy Dress Cane, Curly Ambrosia Maple Handle with Black Spiral Shaft, Serial No. 2008-21
  7. Fancy Dress Cane, Walnut Bamboo Inspired Shaft, Buffalo Horn Laminated Handle, Serial No. 2008-23
  8. Scrimshaw Artwork Walnut Cane -Serial No. 2008-08
  9. Red Oak/Black Lacquered Twisted Cane -Serial No. 2008-14
  10. Red Oak Barley Twist Walking Cane -Serial No. 2008-15
  11. Walnut Ball-Top Dress Cane -Serial No. 2008-06
  12. Walnut Cane with Chrome Ball Knob -Serial No. 2008-20
  13. Carved Thumbstick Hiking Sticks with Composite Malachite -Serial No. 2008-24


Folk Art & Pop-Art Carved Canes
  1. Bishop’s Carved Walnut Crosier
  2. Nascar’s Jimmie Johnson Themed Walking Cane
  3. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Stick
  4. Folk-Art Smiling Wood Spirit Face Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle
  5. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick
  6. Folk-Art Pirate Carved Face Cane w/ Deer Antler Handle
  7. Cartoon Character Taz, Folk Art One-of-a-kind Art Cane
  8. Sculpted Wood Spirit Face Cane
  9. Folk-Art Wood Spirit Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle & Scrimshaw
  10. Folk Art Mountain Man Face Cane
  11. Shamrock Wood Spirit Irish-Theme Face Cane
  12. Walnut Wood Spirit Face Cane with Antler & Turquoise
  13. Collection of Face Carved Canes
  14. Moses-Inspired Face Carved Cane w/ Antler & Turquoise
  15. Shepherd's Stick, Carved Border Collie Welsh-Style Dog Show Trial Stick
  16. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Cane with Scrimshaw Artwork
  17. Amazing Grace Music Notes Carved Cane
  18. A Lady’s Elegant Red Long-Stem Rose Carved Cane
  19. Prairie Fire Hand-Carved Hiking Thumb Sticks
  20. A Folk-Art Carved Albatross Head & Snake Walnut Cane
  21. Carved Folk-Art Walking Cane; 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' Story Stick with Scrimshaw Artwork-
Native American Indian Theme Folk-Art Canes
  1. Apache Chief Geronimo Folk-Art Face Cane
  2. Folk Art Native American Face Cane Set
  3. Apache Chief Cochise Folk-Art Face Cane
  4. Folk Art Carved Cane of Shoshone Chief
  5. Indian Guides Chief Big-Red-Cloud Hiking Stick
  6. Apache Chief Cochise #2 Folk-Art Face Cane
Scrimshaw Artwork Canes
  1. Scrimshaw Art Trophy Buck Deer Head
  2. Scrimshaw Art Walking Cane: Praying Mantis Insect
  3. Scrimshaw Art Walking Cane: Floppy Eared Bunny Face & Walnut Barley Twist
  4. Big & Tall Barley Twisted Oak with Scrimshawn Handle
  5. Walnut & Curly Maple Cane with Scrimshaw
  6. Scrimshaw Art Walnut Cane
  7. Fancy Barley Twist with Scrimshaw Cane
  8. Lady's Dress Cane, Red Oak, Walnut, Black Lacquer, & Scrimshaw Artwork of a Purple Cone Flower
Natural Sapling/Limb Canes/Sticks
  1. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick
  2. Nanny McPhee Movie-Inspired Crooked Walking Stick
  3. Naturally Twisted Tree Sapling Cane
  4. Naturally Twisted Tree Sapling Walking Stick
  5. Shepherd's Crook Hiking Stick
  6. Black Locust Tree Sapling Walking Stick
  7. Red BirchTree Sapling Hiking Stick
Fancy Barley-Twist Style Dress Canes
  1. Fancy Barley Twisted Ebonized Oak & Elk Antler Cane, Serial No. 2009-05
  2. Big & Tall Walnut & Maple Barley Twist Custom Cane
  3. Big & Tall Red Oak and Antler with Scrimshaw Monogram
  4. White Oak Barley Twist Cane
  5. Osage Orange Barley Twist Cane
  6. Walnut & Figured Maple Barley Twist cane
  7. Black Walnut and Spalted Sycamore Barley Twist
  8. Red Oak Barley Twist with Black Lacquer
  9. Red Oak Barley Twist with Walnut Handle
  10. Dress Cane, Oak Barley Twist with Walnut Ring
  11. Bryan's Cane, The Start of my Cane Journey
Fancy Dress Style Canes
  1. Pink Ivory and Elk Antler Dress Walking Stick
  2. Coiled Ribbon Twisted Spalted White Oak with Walnut Handle
  3. Polished Black Steer Horn Upright Walking Stick
  4. Mexican Bocote Wood, Elk Antler Handle with Hand-Wrought Fine Silver End Caps
  5. Fancy Walking Cane, Camphor Burl, Maple, Bubinga, Whitetail Deer Antler, Inlays & Silver End Caps
  6. Custom Dress-Up Walking Cane, Walnut shaft with a Camphor Burl Handle
  7. Walnut & Buffalo Horn Twisted Cane
  8. White Birch & Buffalo Horn Twisted Cane
  9. Walnut Bamboo-Style Cane with Chrome Ball Top
  10. Walnut & Buffalo Horn Dress Cane
  11. Bird's Eye Maple Cane
  12. Spalted Sycamore Walking Cane
  13. Walnut Tall Knob Top Opera Cane
  14. Zebrawood & Walnut Knob Top Opera Cane
  15. Dress Cane Set, with several Material Options Shown

What is Scrimshaw Artwork?:
A Scrimshaw Art Journey: What it is & How to Do it; Five Simple Steps to Success
Click here to go to My Website page with Walking Canes

I usually have a few canes in stock at:
  1. Hatman Jack’s Wichita Hat Works in Wichita, Kansas
  2. Hutchinson Art Center in Hutchinson, Kansas
  3. Prairie Past Times Antiques & Crafts in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas

You can contact these gallery stores directly and see what they still have in stock. They will ship to you if you buy something. If you prefer, you can also email me, as I keep fairly current on what is “unsold.”

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Background: My Cane Making Story:

I enjoy sculpting walking canes. Some folks call them Folk-Art Canes, while others call them Artisan Canes, some call them Carved Canes, while others call them Walking Sticks. There is quite a bit of argument about whether something should be called Sculpture or Carving. They could be considered Functional-Art, which is the type of work that I am usually drawn to. No matter what these canes are called, they seem to bring joy to the owners, and I have been asked to make quite a few of them in the past 5-6 years.

I started making canes on the request of a nice married couple I met on a church-building short-term mission trip to Mexico City in the early 1990’s. Several years after our trip, their son-in-law was diagnosed with bone cancer, and so they wanted to get him a specially made cane that he would enjoy using. They had heard from others that I had quit my corporate office job and started doing woodworking full-time. So, they contacted me to make his cane.

Click for details

Sadly, I also built him a casket, another first for me, about a year later

Click for details

Since the time I did that first Cane for Bryan, I have enjoyed the work on the canes that I have been able to make, but more importantly, the people that I have been able to meet and help along the journey. I do make a bunch of unique items and furniture, but without a doubt, I receive more correspondence and thank-you cards from cane customers than any of the other items I make, combined. So, they are fun for me to build, and I look forward to each new person and situation.

To keep a handle on all of the memories, I engrave a small serial number on each brass cane tip, and then I keep a detailed database log of each cane, customer, and situation. The list always brings me warm memories each time I scan it and remember the folks that have supported my work over the years, and vice versa.


Still Want to See more of my work?

Start with each of these links, and they will take you to other organized lists of my other niche products:

  1. Custom Knives
  2. Custom Art-Furniture I've Built
  3. Artisan Hat Making Tools


(This text, all photos, project design, are protected by copyright 2007-2009, M.A.DeCou, all rights reserved and protected, ask permission first! Weblinks to this page are permitted)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

9 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5410 days

#1 posted 10-12-2008 12:11 AM

Go for a walk fast mark. This one might sell also.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 4814 days

#2 posted 10-12-2008 11:10 AM

You are a master in making varieties of canes and this is one of them. What is the blue colour part of the cane?

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5336 days

#3 posted 10-12-2008 03:42 PM

I think Karson said it right, hurry up and use it before it’s gone.
...perhaps that is the trick though, if you try to keep everything for yourself ~ everything will sell much faster!
nice looking stick.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5415 days

#4 posted 10-12-2008 09:34 PM

Thanks guys, if it sells, we celebrate and the kids get shoes, and I’d just make another one.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5415 days

#5 posted 10-12-2008 09:37 PM

Sharad: the turquoise rings that I sometimes use in my walking canes are a composite material made from crushed turquoise stone that is mixed with a resin binder. It doesn’t look like an authentic turquoise stone, but it can be machined, and used in bands at a fraction of the cost of a natural stone. It doesn’t take hand peening of nickel-silver rivets well since it will crack at times, so if I use it on a knife handle, I put it in a location where I won’t be peening a rivet head. I get it from a knife maker supply place where I buy materials for my hunting knife and folding knife work.

The stone in this Hiking Stick pictured in this project posting is an authentic nugget of turquoise that I cut in half and inlayed in the antler stub.

thanks for your question,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View bigpops0259's profile


323 posts in 5159 days

#6 posted 10-13-2008 07:32 PM

Again you impress us all. The quality and detail are great!

-- Marty Ohio

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5415 days

#7 posted 10-15-2008 01:53 AM

oh, shucks Bigpops, compared to your projects, this is just a silly little stick.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View mmh's profile


3682 posts in 4731 days

#8 posted 02-10-2009 07:17 PM

Nice looking cane and lovely story behind it. The history of the cane in making and it’s future use can really make a piece of wood so much more personable.

So, how about some wooden shoes for the kids? Clogs with antler toe tips . . .

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View knottysticks's profile


296 posts in 4038 days

#9 posted 03-08-2010 07:25 PM

Taking stick making to a higher plane , well done. I really like the fact that it looks natural – not poker straight.

-- Everyday above ground is a good day.

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