Custom Hunting Skinning Knife Damascus Steel Atypical Deer Antler Elephant Ivory Scrimshaw Artwork

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 895 days ago 6145 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Custom Made Antler Handled Damascus Steel Knife was a bit of a challenge for me. The Atypical Antler set had a right handed, mostly normal looking deer antler, while the left side had a mostly straight tall “spike” antler. The customer on this shot the deer in Ohio in 2010, and found me on the internet, and asked that I convert the antler set into a custom made Damascus Steel knife with a display stand.

I built a small, yet similar knife one time before, and had photos of that project posted on Lumberjocks. That photo was discovered by Google, and many others have sought me out about custom hunting knives to be made from their unique or special-memory antlers.

To do this type of mounting, I have to make an angled synthetic ivory mounting so that the blade has something to sit into. The blade tang goes down deep into the antler, and the synthetic ivory is used to give it a mounting location that makes the atypical Spike a relatively good handle. The customer’s name and the deer harvest date was added in hand lettering, scrimshaw style, on the synthetic ivory section.

The customer also asked that I inlay a piece of legal, pre-ban, Elephant Ivory into the display stand antler Crown end with a picture of a deer. I do this work with a sharp pointed knife and scribe and darken the scratches with black ink. I’ve written many times before on Scrimshaw Artwork here on Lumberjocks, so if you would more information about the art form, or how it is done, a quick “search” of the site will give you quite a few links to review.

I took a couple of the “hunt” photos that the customer took from the day the deer was harvested, and converted that into an original art image of what I thought the deer might have looked like with his atypical Spike showing on the left side.

The Display Stand was made from the right side Antler, a four pointer, and set on the figured burl walnut board with brass rods. All together, I hope it is an attractive Mantle Display piece that the customer will enjoy for many years as he reflects back on the hunting day.

If you have a special Antler that you’d like to have made into a knife, let me know by emailing me. The waiting list is pretty long, but if you can be patient, I will do the best work I can on your project.

Thanks for reading,
Mark DeCou

Here is a link to more photos in my album sets


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.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

19 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


4886 posts in 1468 days

#1 posted 895 days ago


I’m a pocket knife, functional knife guy. I love your work. Like your creativity and how you view the world.

Hope you can sell something.

take Care.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View BTKS's profile


1967 posts in 2090 days

#2 posted 895 days ago

Wow, what a piece. Talk about a project where you only get one chance to get it right!!!! Good work.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View grizzman's profile


6915 posts in 1929 days

#3 posted 895 days ago

mark you always seem to step up one more notch in the quality of your work and i enjoy seeing it….i can tell you enjoy taking the elements of what god has given and join them together to make a masterpiece..wood, metal, antler…, so many …bravo mark, i really love this set, your customer is a lucky guy…grizz

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

View junipercanyon's profile


192 posts in 1318 days

#4 posted 895 days ago

Very cool. Do you make the steel or buy it somewhere?

-- Juniper Canyon Design

View Woodwrecker's profile (online now)


3582 posts in 2201 days

#5 posted 894 days ago

very nice work indeed.
I like the way you incorporate the different materials; all to their best display.
You are quite a craftsman my friend.

-- Having fun...Eric

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1979 posts in 3031 days

#6 posted 894 days ago

Thanks guys.
I appreciate your encouragement.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 1862 days

#7 posted 894 days ago

Wow, that’s too pretty to sharpen, much less cut anything with it!

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Roger's profile


14318 posts in 1429 days

#8 posted 894 days ago

I agree with Hal. super nice

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3026 days

#9 posted 894 days ago

Mark: A beautiful job on a unique piece of Antler. Some fantastic touches.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2181 days

#10 posted 894 days ago

Wow that is beautiful

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View jcsterling's profile


340 posts in 2210 days

#11 posted 894 days ago

well done. masterful work. we all can learn much from you.

-- John , Central PA , on facebook:!/pages/JC-Sterling-fine-furniture/104430802928776

View Napaman's profile


5332 posts in 2702 days

#12 posted 894 days ago

so nice…so nice so nice!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View woodworm's profile


14124 posts in 2216 days

#13 posted 894 days ago

Very nice, I like it!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View miles125's profile


2179 posts in 2631 days

#14 posted 894 days ago

You out did yourself on this one. A real beauty!

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

View Martyroc's profile


2708 posts in 931 days

#15 posted 894 days ago

Beautiful carving.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

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