Custom Dress-Up Walking Cane, Walnut shaft with a Camphor Burl Handle

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-26-2008 02:52 PM 5793 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This was a commissioned walking cane, so it has been sold.

Cane Serial Number #2008-34
Height: 34 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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Handle: Camphor Burl

  1. Kansas Black Walnut
  2. Brass Ferrule, w/ Replaceable Rubber Tip

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Project Story:

This summer, I had the honor of being the Featured Artist at an art gallery in Wichita, KS called “Gallery XII”. The gallery gave me the featured center of the floor for my display, and I think I ended up with something like 30 items displayed. My time being “Featured” is now over, and I am now only a “Consignment Artist” at the gallery, which is still cool. This has been a good experience for me, and I hope to find other opportunities like this in the future.

The City of Wichita has worked with the local art-gallery community to develop a program called “Final Friday.” The art galleries in Wichita’s Old-Town district all open up for a special event the last Friday Night of each month, thus the name. The City provides the downtown Trolley service for “free,” shuttling folks from one art gallery to the next all evening.

These receptions are usually filled with people, music, refreshments, and the artists are on hand to answer questions and explain their “inspirations” to the art-loving crowds. I have been doing the Final Friday show for several months now, and have come to really look forward to the end of the month where I can get out of the shop and go meet people.

Over the years, I have been invited to some “think-tank” meetings where town-folks are wondering how they can attract tourists to town to buy food and hotel rooms. The local business community is excited about anything that will bring folks to Main Street so they can sell their stuff. Artists are usually excited about the chance to sell their art. For hobby artists, even ones that sell something occassionally, showing their art can be the most important factor, but with full-time professionals, it’s no-sale-no-eat. So, the priorities are different.

Local Music Concerts and food Cook-Offs, and Farmer’s Market are usually the first concepts thought of, but there are a few forward-thinking folks that believe that “art” will bring in tourists. For most towns, this means putting up a “Craft Show” sign on the highway, and charging the “artists” $50 or more, for a table to set up, (tables aren’t provided).

I’m not much on “sharing ideas and talking”, I want to see what we are all going to go out and “DO” to acheive our goals, which usually doesn’t happen.

At one of the meetings, I was one of three artists invited to meet with the Kansas State House & Senate Subcommittee on “Art & Culture.” What the Legislators said they wanted to know was how to promote Art & Artists in the State of Kansas. The main outcome of that meeting that I have seen is a new website with a list of all artists, food vendors, and craft folks, in the State that wanted to sign up. That list has given me the “opportunity” to be on the mailing list of a lot of small towns trying to bring in tourists by charging artists for a 10 foot square booth during some little festival they are doing. So much for Big Government solving the problem for us.

Personally, I think that is like charging the players in the symphony to show up and play a song, which no one would ever dream of doing. I can’t figure out why any town would want to put the burden of the cost on the backs of the very artists that everyone is hoping will attract the tourists to buy sandwiches and stay the night.

I can get pretty opinionated on the subject if you can’t tell. So, I have been invited to “talk” about it a few times.

My thoughts on the matter are too long to discuss here, maybe a blog article on that some time is needed. But, suffice it to say at this point, that I have been really impressed with how the City of Wichita is working to help promote art buying. Not art-looking, but rather art-buying. The bottom line is that Artists don’t need “lookers,” they need people to pay them for their materials and time, so they can go home and do more art. Want to promote art in your city? Buy the art, and the artists will stand in long lines to show what they can do.

Ok, so back to the Cane:

During one of the Final Friday Night Opening Parties at the art gallery this summer, I met a young guy that hurt his knee skiing a double black diamond slope. He said that he was skiing with friends who had on shorter skis, and when they all headed for the trees, he couldn’t make one turn that they were able to make, and so he nailed a tree with his knee. What he is left with is a knee that is stiff and sore when the weather is cold.

We talked for quite awhile at the art gallery about what he needed, the sizing, and the styling. I had a bunch of canes to show, and various materials, and a bunch of different handle templates on hand, so we walked through all of the possibilites. He selected a cane shaft that was simple and elegant so that he could use the cane with his business suit at work in the aerospace industry in Wichita.

When I offered this cane shaft style for his consideration, I had never actually tried to sand one of them smooth. I did learn on this project, that those little bumps are fun to look at and to touch, but they are a hard sanding job.

Here are some additional photos

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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 darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5335 days

#1 posted 07-26-2008 03:41 PM

the handle design looks really comfortable.
I really like the shaft design on this cane, so I think your sanding effort is definately worth the time!

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4729 days

#2 posted 07-26-2008 06:36 PM

I’ve got to make a cane for my Dad in the near future and I am using yours as inspiration. I appreciate the effort that these take. Thanks for posting.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6873 posts in 4989 days

#3 posted 07-26-2008 07:31 PM

Hi Mark;

Another beautful cane. I hope these specialty items you are producing are keeping you “in the black”.

A very nice niche indeed.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4929 days

#4 posted 07-26-2008 08:44 PM

As usual Mark, incredible work!

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 4712 days

#5 posted 07-26-2008 09:38 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4776 days

#6 posted 07-27-2008 02:32 AM

I love that shaft. The overall design is clean and well done. Thank you for sharing.

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

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5015 days

#7 posted 07-27-2008 05:48 PM

Beautiful cane!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5323 days

#8 posted 07-27-2008 11:30 PM

Charging artist at the fair does sound crazy. Very crazy. Sad too.

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4860 days

#9 posted 07-27-2008 11:51 PM

Beaut job Mark. Great lines

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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