Custom Made Hunting Skinning Knife Damascus Steel Sitka Crown Antler Arizona Turquoise Stone Nugget

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 02-09-2012 01:31 PM 8282 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a custom made knife, used for hunting, skinning, or just around the kitchen or shop.
The blade is Damascus Steel, that has been chemically etched to show the metal layering.
The blade hand guard is also Damascus Steel

The Handguard has been made from solid brass, cut and filed from plate material.

The handle material is from a Sitka Deer Crown Section Shed Antler.

The End of the handle is capped with a solid, authentic Arizona Turquoise Stone Nugget, with Fools Gold (Iron Pyrite) inclusions which make it really interesting. I have drilled and attached the stone nugget to the handle with a brass rod and epoxy so that it will be very durable and won’t break off.

Blade is 2.5” long and 11/16” wide and 3/32” thick
Handle: is 4-5/16” long from the top of the hand guard 1-1/8” wide and 3/4” thick


If you like knives, here are some other LJ project postings of knives I have built:

Damascus Steel Hunting Knives:
  1. Elk Antler with Turquoise Nugget Custom Knife
  2. Large Damascus Steel Blade Custom Knife with Antler, Turquoise and Brass
  3. Custom Hunting Knife with Elk Shed Antler Handle, Ivory, Scrimshaw, and Hand-forged Damascus Blade
  4. Custom Knife with Damascus Steel Blade & Whitetail Deer Shed Antler
  5. Custom Art Knives, set of three with Damascus Steel Blades and Scrimshaw artwork
Damascus Stainless Steak Knife Sets:
  1. Elk Antler & Fossilized Walrus Six (6) Piece Steak Knife set in a box
  2. Elk Antler & Scrimshaw Steak Knives for the Gold Bar Dining Room in Las Vegas
  3. Deer Crown Antler Steak Knife Set and Box with Turquoise Inlay
Folding Knives:
  1. Custom Folding Knife with Zebra Wood, Abalone, and Scrimshaw Ready
  2. Custom Folding Knife: Elk Antler Handle, Turquoise Stone, Abalone, Nautical Scrimshaw Artwork
  3. Custom Folding Knife with Elk Naturally Shed Antler Handle
Stainless Steel Hunting Knives:
  1. Commemorative Bowie Knife with Whitetail Deer Shed Antler Handle for a Retiring Navy Seal Veteran
  2. A Young Soldier's Commemorative Hunting Knife, with Elk Antler Handle and Scrimshaw Artwork
  3. Custom Hunting Knife with Elk Naturally Shed Antler Handle
  4. Custom Deep Cut Skinner Hunting Knife with Elk Naturally Shed Antler Handle
  5. Skinning Knife, with Gut Hook, Elk Natural Shed Antler Handle
  6. Custom Knife; Frontier Bowie with Elk Naturally Shed Antler Handle

Here is my website page with knives:
Mark DeCou Studio Knife Page Website

(Note: All photos, project design, and text is protected by copyright 2007-2012 by the author M.A. DeCou, all rights reserved, no unauthorized use of this material in whole, or part is allowed without expressed written permission.)

Thanks for looking,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

9 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5457 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 01:50 PM

That is a gorgeous creation, Mark!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Bertha's profile


13635 posts in 4156 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 01:50 PM


-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4766 days

#3 posted 02-09-2012 01:55 PM

having a great time with these knives huh mark , they look great, i love the Damascus steel, ive got some of it on my knife…the combo of antler and stone just naturally go together, both from the earth…this is a beautiful knife and i know some lucky person will have it in there sheath for there next hunting season…thank you for sharing it with us….hope all is well there in Kansas…......cant wait to see the saw mill and the first stack of decou wood sitting in decou lumber yard…....

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 4782 days

#4 posted 02-09-2012 02:09 PM

I thought the secret to Damascus steel, like Greek fire, had been lost to antiquity… how old is that blade?? Or this a modern version of what they believe Damascus steel was?

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5040 days

#5 posted 02-09-2012 03:40 PM

another unique original nice work Mark.


View Greg's profile


335 posts in 4336 days

#6 posted 02-09-2012 06:25 PM

Mark, that is simply fantastic! The turquoise nugget is too cool with its inclusions of I.P. I really like the overall form-looks comfy in the hand. The bubinga plug is nicely executed too. i like how it was used on this piece. Bubinga is very hard, so it was used appropriately. That is a fine piece indeed, thanks for posting.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5868 days

#7 posted 02-09-2012 09:31 PM

Hey Guys, thanks for the encouragement.

Hey Grizzman, since you asked, here’s a few progress photos on the Monster Logmill. We started out doing a manually pushed 72” chainsaw bar mill, and once we started, we got more interested in doing a bigger project. So, we switched it to a bandsaw mill design after we built the trailer and carriage for the chainsaw bar. So, that has added a lot of extra work to what we started out building.

We can only work on it about one evening a week, and a Friday or Saturday day once in awhile. We are getting close to putting on the hydraulic hoses to give a trial run to see what else we’ve forgotten to think of. Then, we’ll tear it down and paint it, then reassemble everything. We are struggling with what color to paint it, funny how the details are hard to figure out.

My partner in this is the real “Brains of the Build”, I’m just helping and doing what he tells me to do. It’s quite a lot of fun to see it develop from dream to reality right before our eyes….covered with grinding masks, and welding hoods of course.

To give a bit of “scale”, the all-thread rods for the elevation travel on the Saw Carriage are 1.5” diameter. They will all four be turned together by the hydraulic motor and chain drives on the top of the carriage.

I’m hopeful that it will be cutting up logs this Spring/Summer. If we measured right, it should cut about a 56”-60” dia. log, but we won’t know for sure until we build the blade guide arms.

It’s a unique design, utilizing a 40HP Diesel Engine running a hydraulic pump. If the engine isn’t big enough, there’s a bigger one available we can try out. The Pump will drive the hydraulic motor that will turn the blade drive wheel, and also cause the carriage elevation to travel up and down, while the carriage horizontal travel is pulled by chains on both sides. We still have the log clamping and lifting to work through. But, it’s coming along. If the 31” dia. tires don’t work well for the drive and tail of the blade, we’ll swap them out for industrial bandsaw wheels, but we won’t know that until we try it out.

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Thanks for reading,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4766 days

#8 posted 02-09-2012 11:18 PM

thank you mark for the pm, and these pictures are great, it looks like a real great set up, my question here is i see this is a single axle trailer, will this hold the weight of all the logs that will go on there…im always one to over build and would probably have duel axles on there, just in case, but im sure you guys have calculated for all of that, are you going to have any hydraulic lifts on this to get the log onto the trailer, or will it be done with a fork lift…its very exciting to see this happen for you and the ability its going to give to for your lumber access…saving you tons of money…one of my pet peeves is seeing the huge amount of waste all over the world when it comes to our lumber resources, every time there is a hurricane or tornado or whatever, tons of tree’s are burned and wasted, and i just hate it….but im sure glad to see you coming into this…cant wait to see your first stack of lumber, have fun with the rest of this…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5868 days

#9 posted 02-10-2012 01:06 PM

Grizzman, I asked that same question about the axle. I don’t remember what it was designed for, but it is supposed to be plenty big enough for the big logs we are planning on loading. It’s a special axle somehow, I just don’t know the details of it. If we need another axle though, we’ll just add it. I think I remember that the trailer only needs to carry the weight of the machine from place to place, and when the log is in place, adjustable down post legs will hold up the trailer with the log on it. I think that was the concept I remember in the design of which axle to use.

The big width design is for taking the first big crotch out of the limbs of the big trees here, so that I can make some cool looking boards with flame burl grain on one end, while still leaving the “Y” on the board, like what is used with Nakashima Style tables. This width would also work to cut out root balls, getting flame burl from the lower part of the trunk as well. We are more nervous about the root ball cutting, since this area has a lot of limestone/flint (Flint Hills) and most of the trees grow roots around the rocks, making it pretty hard to cut them out without destroying a blade. My thought is to cut close to the end, back out the blade, and then split out the cut to the end using wedges to see if there are any rocks. It’s just a theory at this point though, needs to be proven to take it from concept to reality.

My hope is to take a few boards to use myself, and sell the other boards on the internet to other folks who like them, and do it sort of “under-ground” by word of mouth and through “connections”, and not be all organized with a special website and such. If it’s real organized, I couldn’t do it anyway. It’s still up in the air what I’ll do with all of the wood still, so I’m not making any promises on the end result. My goal is to get some wood, save some trees from burn piles, and make a little money to pay off the investment of materials on this project.

I have four or five large trailer loads of large 130-140 year old Osage Orange trees already down and piled up, a large walnut and a huge oak, and a huge elm with a root ball, all ready to work up when the machine is ready. After that, we’ll be looking for more logs. The price of logs is really down right now, so it is a good time to buy them if land owners are wanting some cash flow.

But, I’ve only “watched” logs get cut up several times in the past, so I have a huge learning curve before I know what I’m doing with logs and boards. I’m hoping that as I get older, my son will take this up and do the hard work and let me use the wood and supervise (Ha, how’s that for a dream?). While I’m dreaming, it would be nice if the daughter became a chiropractor, or married one, that would be nice to have in the family as well. Ha again.

We have a skid-loader, large trailer and truck, even a track-hoe, front-loader and bulldozer all to use to move logs around, so we are not planning on needing a hydraulic lift onto the trailer, at least at this point. We are planning on bringing logs to the mill, but we wanted it to have wheels just in case we needed to move it somewhere. We were looking at videos of the chain driven log rollers on some factory made models, and my partner on this thought that looked pretty handy and fun to make, so we might do a log roller hydraulic system, not sure yet though.

We still have the clamping and rolling system to work out. I also want to take root balls and flat cut off the bottom, and then parallel cut off the top to make rustic table bases. So, I know I need to come up with a “table” sort of thing to hold them in place while I’m cutting off each end. I have a couple of root balls already laid up and waiting to get started on this plan as well.

My main goal was to take advantage of all of the free trees around here that get pushed up into piles and burned. A large wind storm came through in June last year, and most of it just laying around on the ground, the best stuff getting cut into fire wood. I want to be ready for the next Kansas Wind Storm. About the only thing that someone will save here is Walnut, and if they are clearing in the winter time and all of the trees look the same, they just whack them all down not knowing what they have cut.

For instance, awhile back a huge osage orange tree I’ve been lusting after for several years was whacked down and cut into firewood before I knew it happened. It was straight trunk for 25 feet, about 24” diameter, grown in the shade with lots of water access, and it had three brothers by it and the whole “Family” was made into firewood…......ugh!! There are lesser trees to use for firewood, they should have become table tops….at least in my world perspective.

My partner on this build was telling me the other night how much fun he was having working with me on building this log mill, and so after a little while I told him I had a plan for another machine to build, one that will rotary duplicate gun stocks and hat making tools. He thought that sounded like a fun build as well. If we get that done, then I have another idea for a huge root ball diameter “lathe” to slow spin huge root balls into hollow vessels/bowls….........


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

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