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little things that make a collector's day worthwhile

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Native American Antiques1619 of 1909Sioux Indian Dolls - South Dakota - Circa 1890some different model kayak styles from across the N. American arctic
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    Posted 11 years ago

    (39 items)

    Most of us can't wait to get up in the morning and set off on another 'treasure hunt'. Here are a few things that have made my pulse quicken over the years: First photo - stumbling across an old paddle that had been 'rescued' by a very artistic 12-year old boy, who cleaned it up and added a lovely, wading shorebird, complete with reflection. Second photo - being invited in to look at a friend's decoy collection, then being allowed to pick one to take home. Third photo - studying and learning about native-made kayaks from the far north, and why or how the different shapes began. Last photo, coming home after a long day and adding a 'new find' to the shelves. Makes it all worth getting out of bed in the morning. Best part is the folks we meet and the good friendships we make, even beyond the pieces we collect.

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    1. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      Thanks Gatekeeper, walksoftly and officialfuel
    2. sayer34, 11 years ago
      bushrat: in 1978 came across a 18 foot flat bladed oar-brought it home lightly sanded it and apply a light coat of Tungs oil-it has been hanging in our family room since 1978-recently contacted a oar manafactor and described my oar and they thought that it was a steering oar.The area I live in had a life saving station established around 1860s that was later to be a U.S. Coast Guard Station-it is my thinking the oar came from the old life saving station...My question to you is was it ok to have applyed the tungs oil to the oar?
    3. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      sayer, first of all, thanks for the kind support. Now, as to your question, I have the feeling that whatever I say will find both detractors as well as supporters. It's a very difficult one to answer without first knowing what was the condition of the oar when you found it. If it was badly worn, or simply had a surface that already had been re-painted or altered from its first finish, then cleaning it up probably didn't do any harm - at least in my view. Others may disagree.

      I don't like to mess with original finishes unless I have to. Most people would say that altering the original takes away from the value of an antique; however, I have come to believe there are areas of collecting where that is less so than others. For example, antique cars are routinely restored, rebuilt, repainted, etc., and what are otherwise wrecks become prized collector cars. That also happens routinely with wooden boats and canoes; old, weather-beaten items are brought back to life by re-varnishing, re-canvasing, repainting. That's almost a yearly part of ownership of older watercraft. On the other hand, decoy collectors will shy away from having much to do with a restored bird. Same for furniture. But, truth be told, many such items claimed to be in their original state have had work done on them - particularly decoys!!

      I think a lot of times it comes down to weighing up relative values, and deciding what your goal is as regards the piece in question. If the value is not overly great and all you want to do is enjoy it, how do you want to go about that? Can you live with the 'grungy' look of an old wrinkled, crackled surface? Or, would your tastes suggest that it would give more pleasure being cleaned up a bit and perhaps made to look again somewhat like it did earlier in life? It's your piece, and your decision.

      As for applying some Tung oil, that's likely not going to hurt, it seems to me. I have a friend who makes beautiful paddles; that's all he ever uses to finish them with. And, if they get used and worn a bit, another treatment easily restores their good looks. So, I think you're fine, other contrary opinion notwithstanding - and if you have enjoyed your paddle over the years, keep on doing so. It's too late now to be looking back over your shoulder in any event.
    4. sayer34, 11 years ago
      bushrat: Thank you for your reply-my oar was in decent condition when I received it-no paint just a little weather checked-in my opinion it looked better after my light sanding and tung oil applicatioon..I have kidded my friends over the years by telling them it is a oar from one of the lifeboats that was on the Titanic.When I contacted one company that makes large oars like this they gave me a formula to use to figure out what size boat this would handle.Don't remember the formula but do remember it came out to be up to a 30 foot boat.Again thank you for your time and consideration..I enjoyed looking at your collection-Here in Cederville Michigan we have a large wood boat show it seems to me it is the second weekend in July-attracts thousands of people and hundreds of boats.Cederville is where the St.Mary's river empties into Lake Huron.
    5. bushrat bushrat, 11 years ago
      Thanks Bellin; much appreciated

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