Custom Walking Stick: Knarly Knob Topped Red Birch Sapling, a Nanny McPhee Movie-Inspired Stick

  • Advertise with us
Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 04-15-2009 04:43 PM 23016 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This Custom Walking Stick is For Sale:

To Purchase, Click here to Buy this item at

Specs & Description:
- Serial Number: #2009-07
- Height: 43.5 inches

- Shaft: Natural Red Birch Sapling with Knarly Top Knob
- Tip: Brass Ferrule with replaceable rubber tip

To see other Walking Canes currently in Inventory, Click here to see my Cane Shop

Mark DeCou


Project Story:

This is a short story. Really. Can’t spend much time today anyway, as I’m headed to a “Tea Party” this afternoon and need to get my work done first.

My UPS driver has gotten to know me pretty well, since he stops by here a lot dropping off, and picking up packages. One day about a week before Halloween he asked how much it would cost him to have me build a “Nanny McPhee” walking stick for his daughter’s costume.

Hmmm? I had no idea what the movie stick looked like, so I hit the internet, and found the website in England where the guy that made it for the movie had a bad photo of it. So, I went through my large stash of drying sticks, and found something that would help the little girl with her costume.

As for cost, I just told the UPS guy that he could borrow the stick for the event, and then I would sell it later. So, now I have it ready for sale, maybe someone will want it.

Since then, the movie has hit the satellite stations we get with our television, and so I recorded it on the DVR for the kids to watch. We all really enjoyed the movie, but I’m a little puzzled by what the story actually means, but I may be just trying to think too hard.

What my kids got out of the movie is that they had better “shape up and mind their parents”. So, that in itself made the movie a good lesson for us.

Now, my kids enjoy it when I take the “Nanny McPhee-Inspired” walking stick on our nature walks together. For instance, if they are getting too close to the edge of the creek, and won’t listen to reason, or refuse to stop throwing rocks over the bridge because it is time to go home, I just threaten to tap my stick on the ground like Nanny McPhee did, and they smile and get back in line.

Going on walks is their favorite activity right now, as is mine. Just a couple of years ago my oldest, Rachel, couldn’t make the walks anymore due to a rare disease she was born with. She’s recovered enough now to make the trip down to the “Big Bridge” which is about a mile walk, and she can run and skip and make the whole trip now. So, each walking trip is a special event, as I’m reminded of how much I am thankful for, and that God has been healing her. The past two summers I’ve had to push her in a little cart, or pull her in the wagon for the trip with her brother. The diagnosis was quite a “shaking” for our family, but we are all recovering.

I also know that these years with the kids excitedly wanting to spend time with “old me” will all too quickly pass, and friends and boyfriends and girlfriends and spouses and kids will soon be coming along to take them away for their own life’s paths. I don’t know who will walk with me then, but I’m hoping they will come back and visit often.

Two nights ago Rachel told us that she didn’t want to grow up because she would have to move out. I told her that she could stay here with us. She thought about it for awhile and said, “What will my husband think of that?” I just replied, “It’s ok, we can put a set of bunkbeds in your bedroom.” She thought that it was a funny suggestion, but might just work. Isn’t being young and naive a great thing? I’m trying to keep her that way as long as possible

But, I do still enjoy the walks now, yet while knowing that they won’t last forever. Just last night while watching them run on ahead of me to get to the bridge first, I wondered if my grandkids will enjoy the walks also with me some day, and if I will still be able to walk with them then. The kids are 7 & 8, and so I hope to have a few years of walking left, and a few years before grandkids start arriving.

That’s it,
go, smile, and take a walk with someone today.


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.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

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 -

6 comments so far

View savannah505's profile


1868 posts in 4595 days

#1 posted 04-15-2009 05:02 PM

Very interesting design and of course a very nice finish.

-- Dan Wiggins

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5256 days

#2 posted 04-15-2009 05:36 PM

Very beautiful Mark. You had a happy Easter I trust. As did the whole family? God Be With You. m

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View mtnwild's profile


3717 posts in 4537 days

#3 posted 04-16-2009 12:09 AM


-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

514 posts in 5078 days

#4 posted 04-16-2009 03:54 AM

You can give someone a Knarly beating with that.Good story glad your daughter is doing well.

-- Scott NM,

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 4992 days

#5 posted 04-16-2009 04:25 AM

Perfect old grandma cane ! Did I miss what finish you used ? It looks really good.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4776 days

#6 posted 04-16-2009 05:25 AM

Fun design Mark. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics