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Project Information


This was a commissioned project, and so it has been "sold" (see note just below on ordering).

Cane Serial Number: #2008-38
Height: 54 inches

I have another sapling Crook that is ready for shipment, click here to view it

Slide Show: I've added a new Slide Show where many of the different cane styles I've done are shown.

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

Or you can visit the DeCou Website

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Customer Testimony posted with permission:
If you would like to see the customer's posting about this Stick in a border collie forum, please go to this link

And, if you scroll down her posting to look at the other forum member's responses, you can see a few pics of handsome "Deuce" in action, herding sheep.

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Photo 1

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Project Story

This Border Collie Carved Stick was about 10 years in the "making."

Remember that old movie called "Babe" about the farm animals?

Remember those gorgeous dogs that herd the sheep in the movie, and then teach the pig named "Babe" how to be a sheep herder, and then the pig wins the herding dog trials?

After my wife and I watched that movie, we decided that we just had to get our own Black and White Border Collie. They aren't like buying other dogs. You don't just go to the "pound", or to the puppy-mill shop. Buying a Border Collie, a good one, can be a long process.

It took a couple of years, but one day I was outside working on the Ranch that we were living on in those days, and my wife came out of the house running down the hill hollering at me.

She doesn't normally do that sort of thing.

So, I stopped work to see what-the-dickens was the problem.

She ran up to me with a folded newspaper in her hand, and pointed to the "want-ad" she had circled with a pen that said "Border Collie Puppies for Sale, top breeding….."

So, later that day I was in my old '63 Ford Galaxie driving with my arm around my wife's shoulders as she clutched that little folded up newspaper. We had been unable to have our own children for many years, and so "we" were more than normally excited about the prospect of adopting a little puppy.

We enjoyed the hour long ride through the Kansas Flint Hills to the sheep ranch North of our place about 60 miles. After about an hour of playing with a dozen or more puppies, we had finally decided on which ball of fluff to adopt, and named him "Luke." He was the one that the kids at the sheep ranch had been playing with the most, and he liked to come inside and lay on a pillow with them and watch movies. So, we decided that he was a perfect dog for us. I said, "we'll take him."

I didn't realize at the time, but we had to be "interviewed" first to see if we would be appropriate for adopting Luke. And, we hadn't even heard the price. So, we sat at a little shaky picnic table in the yard and answered all of the "questions" and wrote out a check, and then we were on our way back home with "Luke".

Old Photo of our 8-week old ball of fluff, "Luke"

Here is a Photo of our Luke at 8 Years Old:

Since that happy day 9 years ago when my wife and I adopted "Luke", I've wanted to carve myself one of the old Welsh-style market crook sticks with a border collie dog on top. There was only two problems with that.

First, since I don't pay our bills unless I sell my woodworking, I have never been able to get the stick carved. Second, I couldn't have done this project 9 years ago. This sort of woodworking looks fairly "simple" but it isn't. It has taken me these 9 years also to learn how to do a stick like this one.

Finally, the time was right.

I just don't get to keep it for myself.

So, I took lots of photos.

Finding the Customer:
A nice lady in the New Orleans area wrote me after finding my other walking cane project postings on Lumberjocks. She was interested in a special Show Stick with a Border Collie on it for her dog "Deuce".

So, after all of these years, I finally had my chance to do the Border Collie carving.

I spent some time doing research on the old Welsh-style sticks to understand the proportions and the proper "crook", and then drew a concept sketch and posted it in a blog showing my idea.

She liked the idea, and we had some discussion, along with the Lumberjocks, on what carving style, which way to turn the dog, etc.

The big worry about the style of dog I wanted to carve centered on whether it would break off. So, I came up with the concept of using pool cue threaded brass couplers to break the shaft into two pieces, and allow the crook to come off. This allows it all to be put into a carrying case for transport. The extra "Plain" wooden crook is for days when she is practicing, or doesn't want to use the fancier carved crook.

Making the Crooks:
As woodworkers know, short grain pieces of wood break off easily. So, to do a wooden crook with the historical "Welsh" style look, I would need to solve the problem of strengthening the short grain on the crook.

In the old books on making crooks I have, there were several methods shown to reinforce the crook, ranging from cutting a groove and gluing in an alternating grained board, or drilling and inserting dowels, and even placing steel rods inside of the crook. Those methods all looked too "rinky-dink" for me to seriously consider using.

So, I rejected all of the "book" methods, and decided to glue up a blank for the walnut crooks using 5 layers of solid walnut, alternating the grain direction, basically building my own 1-1/8" thick walnut plywood. After the glue blank was dry, I squared it up, drilled the hole for the threaded connector and then cut out the crooks on the bandsaw.

For the Crook with the carved Dog, I just cut out the shape of the dog profile while cutting out the crook, and then carved the rest out, rounding the crook under the dog, and giving him some shape and hair, and then painted the details with acrylic paints. One difficult part was carving the dog in the layered walnut, since the grain direction kept switching on me, but I figured it out.

The Carrying Case is walnut and Oak Plyood stained "American Walnut".

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To protect the Show Stick while it is being transported to different Herding Dog Trials, I built a storage case for it.

The case was built with Walnut and Oak plywood, and utilized a leather snapping strap closure, and leather handle. Inside the box, there are contoured compartments for each of the Show Stick parts, and a black velveteen-type fabric.

With these photos, I had a hard time getting an image that didn't have "fisheye" distortion of the straight lines. The box did not have a bowed front, it just looks that way in the photos.

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Here is the beautiful Show Dog "Deuce" who will be working the sheep during the Show Trials while his owner will carry the Show Stick. I used the photo of Deuce in the carving and painting of the carved topped crook..

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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

List of Other Canes I've built:-

Folk Art & Pop-Art Carved Canes
  1. Carved Face Life-Story Cane
  2. Motorcycle Biker's Walking Cane, Carved Flames
  3. Elk Antler Handle, Carved Twisting Oak Leaves
  4. Bishop's Carved Walnut Crosier
  5. Nascar's Jimmie Johnson Themed Walking Cane
  6. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Stick
  7. Folk-Art Smiling Wood Spirit Face Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle
  8. Folk-Art Carved Wood Spirit Hiking Stick
  9. Folk-Art Pirate Carved Face Cane w/ Deer Antler Handle
  10. Cartoon Character Taz, Folk Art One-of-a-kind Art Cane
  11. Sculpted Wood Spirit Face Cane
  12. Folk-Art Wood Spirit Cane w/ Elk Antler Handle & Scrimshaw
  13. Folk Art Mountain Man Face Cane
  14. Shamrock Wood Spirit Irish-Theme Face Cane
  15. Walnut Wood Spirit Face Cane with Antler & Turquoise
  16. Collection of Face Carved Canes
  17. Moses-Inspired Face Carved Cane w/ Antler & Turquoise
  18. Shepherd's Stick, Carved Border Collie Welsh-Style Dog Show Trial Stick
  19. Carved Oak Leaf Walking Cane with Scrimshaw Artwork
  20. Amazing Grace Music Notes Carved Cane
  21. A Lady's Elegant Red Long-Stem Rose Carved Cane
  22. Prairie Fire Hand-Carved Hiking Thumb Sticks
  23. A Folk-Art Carved Albatross Head & Snake Walnut Cane
  24. 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. 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.

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

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)



1,143 Posts
Great job Mark. I'm sure the owner loves what you did with the cane.

661 Posts
Mark, I notice that you laminated the handles. Was that done for the strength? The owner will be one up on all the other handlers that might lead to more commissions.

35,383 Posts
Mark: Another great creation. A nice job.

1,798 Posts
as we have come to expect, it's fantastic work Mark!

3,748 Posts
That's a wonderful story behind this cane. I'm sure the new owner is cherishing the cane too.