Knarly Shepherd's Hiking or Walking Stick, Locust Sapling Staff, Cedar Drift Wood Natural Sculpture

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 08-22-2010 01:23 AM 11802 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Hiking Stick has been sold
To see Others, visit my store


Serial Number: #2010-12
Height: 56-1/2 inches
Top: Cedar Limb
Shaft: Natural Ash Tree Sapling with bark
Finish: Danish Oil, and Nitrocellulose Lacquer


Project Story:
This is just a silly little Hiking Stick, the kind of thing that I do for fun at times.

I walk and bike ride with the kids, as we live in the Country. On those walks I always take a stick along, just in case. I like my sticks to be long enough to use for a “snake catch & release”, for knocking things out of trees like mulberries walnut husks, acorns, and such, strong enough to use to cross a creek, and interesting looking. I prefer to use saplings that I cut down to avoid any internal fungus infestation that weakens fallen wood.

I also like my sticks to be light enough that they are easy to carry, and I like them relatively straight so that they have a good vibration when walking with them. If a stick is too crooked, it just doesn’t feel right as it teeter-vibrates when used (sort of a hard thing to describe in words, you just have to feel it to understand).

I also like to make my sticks interesting, or I build them with memorable materials that we pick up from trips we’ve taken, using them for various material inlays and sometimes I do carvings on them. So, I’m always on the look out for interesting things, rocks, shells, bones, sticks, driftwood, things like that.

One Day on our walks, I found this little interesting nub of a cedar tree laying along the creek bank. It had some cracks, some worm damage, was too short to do much with, the bark was peeling back, but it was interesting. So, I picked it up and hauled it home knowing it would work great for a Stick top.

A couple years of laying in the shop, and I discovered it the other day and mated it with a thorny locust tree sapling. I have a lot of this type of stuff laying around the shop, in the barn, in the mower shed, in boxes, in the rafters, it’s not hard to imagine that it got lost for a couple of years is it?

Thorny locust trees are interesting, but a terrible chore to harvest. I always come home bloody after cutting them down and hauling them in to clean up and store for drying. But, after the small branches are removed, the thorns have been pulled, and the bark has been polished they do make an interesting Hiking Stick Staff wood. I still don’t know if the blood-letting is worth it though.

Looking at these photos today, I remember writing a blog article after harvesting this Staff off my property, and if you are interested, you can read the story here

At first, I thought I would carve the Cedar Knob into something like a Wood Spirit’s Face, or a Horse, or a Snake, or something else. But, the more I looked at it, the more I decided that God did a better job forming it than I could do, so I left it alone and just sanded and polished it. This silly stick is one of my favorites, and I’ve done a lot of them along the lines of this style.

I cut the saplings in the winter time, and let them air dry a couple of years also. Then I heat straighten the staff to make it mostly straight, with enough little bends to give it some character. I prefer to use them with the bark on just because I like the look. I sand and polish and cover with lacquer. Sometimes I stain them, and I’ve airbrushed colored lacquer on them at times also.

Just a silly little fun project, thought I’d share it

Thanks for reading along,
Mark DeCou


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

- List of Other Canes I’ve built:-

Folk Art & Pop-Art Carved Canes
  1. 50th Wedding Anniversary Staff
  2. Carved Face Life-Story Cane
  3. Motorcycle Biker's Walking Cane, Carved Flames
  4. Elk Antler Handle, Carved Twisting Oak Leaves
  5. Bishop’s Carved Walnut Crosier
  6. Nascar’s Jimmie Johnson Themed Walking Cane
  7. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Stick
  8. Folk-Art Smiling Wood Spirit Face Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle
  9. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick
  10. Folk-Art Pirate Carved Face Cane w/ Deer Antler Handle
  11. Cartoon Character Taz, Folk Art One-of-a-kind Art Cane
  12. Sculpted Wood Spirit Face Cane
  13. Folk-Art Wood Spirit Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle & Scrimshaw
  14. Folk Art Mountain Man Face Cane
  15. Shamrock Wood Spirit Irish-Theme Face Cane
  16. Walnut Wood Spirit Face Cane with Antler & Turquoise
  17. Collection of Face Carved Canes
  18. Moses-Inspired Face Carved Cane w/ Antler & Turquoise
  19. Shepherd's Stick, Carved Border Collie Welsh-Style Dog Show Trial Stick
  20. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Cane with Scrimshaw Artwork
  21. Amazing Grace Music Notes Carved Cane
  22. A Lady’s Elegant Red Long-Stem Rose Carved Cane
  23. Prairie Fire Hand-Carved Hiking Thumb Sticks
  24. A Folk-Art Carved Albatross Head & Snake Walnut Cane
  25. 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. Ash Sapling with Elk Antler and Inlays of Crushed Turquoise
  2. Knarly Cedar Driftwood Topped Sapling Stick
  3. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick
  4. Nanny McPhee Movie-Inspired Crooked Walking Stick
  5. Naturally Twisted Tree Sapling Cane
  6. Naturally Twisted Tree Sapling Walking Stick
  7. Shepherd's Crook Hiking Stick
  8. Black Locust Tree Sapling Walking Stick
  9. 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. Ribbed Walnut Cane with Camphor Burl Derby Handle
  2. African Blackwood and Lapis Lazuli Ball Walking Stick
  3. Pink Ivory and Elk Antler Dress Walking Stick
  4. Coiled Ribbon Twisted Spalted White Oak with Walnut Handle
  5. Polished Black Steer Horn Upright Walking Stick
  6. Mexican Bocote Wood, Elk Antler Handle with Hand-Wrought Fine Silver End Caps
  7. Fancy Walking Cane, Camphor Burl, Maple, Bubinga, Whitetail Deer Antler, Inlays & Silver End Caps
  8. Custom Dress-Up Walking Cane, Walnut shaft with a Camphor Burl Handle
  9. Walnut & Buffalo Horn Twisted Cane
  10. White Birch & Buffalo Horn Twisted Cane
  11. Walnut Bamboo-Style Cane with Chrome Ball Top
  12. Walnut & Buffalo Horn Dress Cane
  13. Bird's Eye Maple Cane
  14. Spalted Sycamore Walking Cane
  15. Walnut Tall Knob Top Opera Cane
  16. Zebrawood & Walnut Knob Top Opera Cane
  17. 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. 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 2007-2011, M.A.DeCou, all rights reserved and protected, ask permission first! Weblinks to this page are permitted)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

8 comments so far

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 4668 days

#1 posted 08-22-2010 01:28 AM

Nothing better than found wood! NICE!

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View Karson's profile


35207 posts in 4935 days

#2 posted 08-22-2010 01:56 AM

Mark: Your right the carving made by God is just fine.

Nice cane.

-- 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 Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3553 days

#3 posted 08-22-2010 02:11 AM

I don’t believe it is so silly! Any project worth doing is worth doing well no matter how trivial or silly it may seem to you. You got enjoyment from the stick, it supports you when you are walking with it, it reminds you that God is with you, therefore I say it is a project well done!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3779 days

#4 posted 08-22-2010 10:13 AM

I like your spirit.
Before I started making furniture, I was a carver. One day I realized that there was nothing that I could carve that would ever trump even the simplest thing that God has made. These days I go with the flow. Often I will hold onto a piece of wood for many years before touching it, though it is always in the back of mind. It’s as if God whispers in your ear, “Put that one aside and I’ll let you know when you’re ready to use it.”

The stick has lots of character and it looks as if it might have a few stories to tell. Very cool….......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View knottysticks's profile


296 posts in 3564 days

#5 posted 08-22-2010 06:00 PM

A great looking stick Mark , and walking in the country side hunting for sticks , antler , drift wood and the like is a wonderful way to spend a day . It takes a practiced eye and a good imagination to see/find a useful stick hidden within a tangle of branches . There is no less skill involved working with found wood , just different skills . As I’m sure you know , in many ways working with found wood holds it’s own challenges as nature really likes to avoid any straight lines or right angles . Please keep them coming . – Gary

-- Everyday above ground is a good day.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4834 days

#6 posted 08-22-2010 11:57 PM

Very nice Mark!

Also an interesting story.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4781 days

#7 posted 08-23-2010 04:02 AM

Great story Mark and good to see a post. Miss seeing you on here more. Glad you haven’t permanently left us. Nice cane and I know about the wood. I got it all over the place. LOL. God Bless the family. mike

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

View mmh's profile


3679 posts in 4257 days

#8 posted 08-27-2010 01:41 AM

That’s a pretty gnarly looking stick!

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

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