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Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs

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Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs
All~


Although I'll be hunting Long Island the next few days, holiday company has departed and the sub-zero temps will keep me comfortably occupied in my shop hereabouts.






I have a bunch of boats lined up, one gunning coffin, and a variety of decoys. This note is just a sampler of some I have begun.


These 3 Herters Model 72 Broadbill lost their bills in service. The lost piece was found for the Hen - so she got an easy repair, plugged with whittled White Pine and epoxy. The 2 Drakes need prosthetic bills. These are White Pine set in thickened epoxy.




species

These 7 Herters Model 63 (the life-size model) puddlers came to me painted as Wigeon. I'm not sure what they will become - but they have been coated with fine sawdust + epoxy.






The previous owner branded the foam bodies - the first I've seen of this practice on Durlon. The flat bottoms make these some of Herters earlier molded decoys. I am not sure when they added the extruded keels - maybe the 1970s?






This is an earlier Herters - 1940s or 1950s - the over-size, balsa-bodied Model Canada. Joe Daly knows of my affinity for these birds (my Dad had some when I was a young gunner) - and found this nice Drake for me.







The old bill repair was fairly solid, but....






All of the fasteners - one 6 penny box nail and 3 tacks - were all located toward the aft end of the loose piece- so could split through the thin wood.







The box nail was tenacious - but surrendered to a variety of prying and pulling tools.






The new White Pine bill is held with thickened epoxy and a galvanized shake nail that runs with the grain of the wood. He is now curing overnight by the stove. The new (larger) will be placed a bit aft of where the originals had been.







This corker - a traditional Long Island decoy made from a single slab of 2-inch "life-preserver cork" - was converted to a Hen Broadbill sometime during its hard working life.






I am very happy with the result. My job was to return it to a Canvasback - but to keep (or re-create) the wear and wounds of a veteran. I will post some of the step-by-step when I have more time.






All the best,


SJS


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Nice work as always Steve!
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Steve,

I'm really liking that Can. The new head has style to compliment the cork body.

Two thumbs up.


Best regards
Vince











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Very nice work on that can, imagine the stories it could tell!


Great South Bay
West Sayville, N Y
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Steve-always enjoy your posts!
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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Good morning, All~


Here is some more detail on the Canvasback. It was clearly marked by its owner:







Here is the bottom before - with some hollows and other pieces of missing cork.







The top of the head was missing and its bill was about off.






The existing bill could not be simply re-attached.






So - I began by cleaning up the head break.






Then I notched the jaw for a new bill.






With no original to work from, I imagined a Canvasback profile that would fit this head.






The crown was easy to clamp - with thickened epoxy and a light bar clamp. I carved it the next day. The bill was reinforced with a galvanized shake nail - and plenty of thickened epoxy. The spring clamp was enough here.







Stay tuned......



























Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Canvasback continued.....


The bottom and "chines" were filled with cork particles and thickened epoxy. I sprinkled fine sawdust over any exposed epoxy.







I left the chine fillings proud so I would expose clean cork when faired. The cork is original "life jacket cork" - from pre-WW II.







Finishing the bird was fun. I used lots of tricks and experiments to make it look old - but not abused.






To change it from a Broadbill to a Can, I had to extend the White midsection much closer to each Black end.






I work to get the right texture and finish on the paint.






My Secret Process will remain unrevealed.....






The final portrait - showing the port side profile.






All the best,


SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Todd Smith is related to Reg Smith. I think Reg was Todd's grandfather. Todd brought a Reg Smith canvasback to LIDCA that was repainted as a blackduck. He said that once canvasbacks got rare on Long Island the solution was to repaint to blackducks.

Joe
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Thanks, Joe!


Now I'm wondering if I got the head shape anywhere near the original....


Maybe Todd will know. I'll get in touch.


All the best,


SJS


Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Steve

I'm starting to think no decoy is too far gone for you. Nice work as always. Oh, when I saw the first picture of the bluebills with the new bills and rubber bands around their necks I thought, jeez, even decoys have to wear masks these days :)

Eric

Last edited by:

Eric Patterson: Jan 28, 2022, 4:58 AM
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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Good morning, All~


Progress continues on numerous fronts. The Herter's Model Canada Mallard I have been working on is just one of seven. As I had mentioned, my Dad had 7 - probably purchased circa 1946, right after he got home from WW II. So, I thought I would insert a little background/context here.


Here is the Herter's Catalog description from 1955 (you'll want to CLICK to enlarge to read the text):







Here I am already hooked by decoys, duckboats and duck shooting.....with a "Black Mallard" repainted by my Dad. Note that nice long bill on the bird (mine grew out much later).







Here is what I have now - enough to replace my Dad's stolen rig. I will be rehabbing all seven.






Back to the Drake Mallard...I recarved the new bill.






Everything has been sanded and marked for priming with flat oils. The eye holes have been bored a bit aft of the originals.






This bird had strips of lead nailed into the balsa body as ballast. I pried them out carefully, using a piece of scrap Mahogany to protect the soft balsa from the tack remover. The brass screw eye fastens the head.






Lots of balsa came out along with the 6 penny box nails.






Epoxy thickened with fairing compound filled all the voids. I will likely add new lead ballast once I try them out on salt water.


The bills on the Model 72 Broadbill and this Mallard got sealed with straight epoxy.







Here's the Drake all primed. The White areas have been top-coated with flat latex. I had to replace its new left eye because the first new one had a flaw. No sense going to all this work and then seeing a blemish each time I gun over it....







One bit of extra work I will do will be to "correct" the bills on 2 or 3 of these decoys. Most of these decoys seem to taper the bill at the factory - and some are just too short. The bill on that Hen would be OK on a Pileated Woodpecker - but I want each of these birds to have a duck-like bill - parallel-sided and with a rounded tip. So - even though the bills are not broken, I will likely perform some rhinoplasty on a few. I guess this makes it "elective surgery"....







Stay tuned....


SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
This Black Duck was the first Model Canada I found - and restored.






I repaired its bill - but did not make it as long as I should have. I think he'll be painted as a Hen (for the shorter bill).







Here's the bottom - sealed and finish painted - needing only a ballast keel.






The Hen was given to me by Joe Daly 2 years ago. It came with the lowered head and notch beneath the wingtips. This one I rehabbed with a full rig in mind. I am shooting for a pair of Mallards and 5 Black Ducks altogether.






She got new eyes and Satin Spar Varnish on her bill.






I like to take a couple of minutes to fake the iridescence on each speculum.






I like the notch - but will not replicate it on the other decoys, which are in good factory condition.






One more update: The Model 72 Broadbill Drakes are ready-to-hunt. One needed the tail filled first.






Both got fresh paint all around - and will rejoin their rig-mates in a few weeks.







All the best,


SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
I think Mr Strohmeier downwinded the other three rigs in his Herter's testimonial.

Incredible work as always.

RVZ
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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
Thanks, Rod~


I think Mr. Strohmeier and Mr. Herter were birds of a feather!


I "fixed" (lengthened and broadened) 2 more bills on the Model Canadas yesterday. This one needed both a better bill and to have its head reacquainted with its neck. As clamping heads can be challenging, I frequently saw a custom chock so a bar clamp can pull straight down (to beneath the bench).


The spring clamp is sufficient for the bill - which is indexed with a brass brad to keep it from slipping during the cure.







All the best,


SJS




Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Here is a Progress Report....some of which has been reported in the Work Bench posts.


These Herter's Model 72 Broadbill got new wooden bills and fresh paint. They are once again ready-to-hunt.









These Herter's Model Canadas are also done. I may add ballast keels if I think I'll be using them on coastal waters.







Most of these LL Bean Deluxe Oversize Blacks needed just some minor patches.





One bird had more serious divots - and needs "dutchmen" glued in to fill the cavities.







Here are the easier 5 - primed with flat oil and curing by the stove.






Here is the re-carved bill - and new eyes - on one of the Model Canadas. All the bills get sealed with straight epoxy first. Then the whole bird gets sealed with Satin Spar Varnish.






Here's another head - primed with duckboat paint. The body will get primed with Rustoleum - Flat Brown + Flat Black - in about a 3:1 ratio.






Here's everything enjoying the stove. It's been near zero outside of late.







The last 2 bills have been replaced.






I re-carved them this morning - and just sealed them with epoxy before I came in from the shop.






All the best,


SJS
Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Miscellaneous Decoy Repairs In reply to
It is fascinating for me to follow the progress of your repairs and species reassignment of the decoys. This is way above my pay grade. I had one artistic bone in my body, and I broke it when I was 30. Laugh





Oxford, CT
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Very few are born with it.

Ya gotta work like hell, everyday (mind & body), and never give up.

THEN things happen.

For some they are OK, others Good, and very few Great. Time tells the tale...

ART = Communication. Thatz what matters.











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920