Help support the WCHA Forums by making a tax-deductible donation!

Indigenous Antique Model Kayak - Please Help ID.

Discussion in 'Scale and Miniature Canoe Models' started by RoadRunner, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Had a very old model kayak given to me, and the detailed craftmanship is really amazing (at least to a newbie like myself). I don't have any info in it except that it was my grandfather's and possibly my great grandfather's. The frame is wrapped with skin of some sort, and the paddler is made of leather. There is repair that is required on the keel (one is missing and one is coming off) and there is a bead missing on the stern end.

    If anyone who can help me identify the item, time period, materials, etc., I would be forever grateful. I will post additional photos shortly.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  2. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Hello:
    Perhaps I can help with some of the info which you are seeking. Your little kayak comes from Greenland. It is very typical of the style made there - long and narrow with a small round opening for the cockpit. Also, very low profile with little or no shear. I'm guessing that it is likely around 18" to 24" in length, which is also fairly common for these models which were/are made in fairly plentiful numbers as souvenirs. Many were originally brought back to the US by servicemen stationed in Greenland during and after WWII. If your grandfather, or another relative did service at Thule, or visited at some point, that may provide some clue. As to age, it looks to me to certainly fit a 1940 - 1960 time frame, but might possibly even be earlier. It is made with a typical wooden skeletal frame covered with seal gut or skin. You are correct that one of the bang plate strips is missing from the bottom. Sometimes these are made of wood, but I have seen early models which had ivory or bone strips. Also missing is the ivory or bone finial from one end. Such losses do occur over the years, and it is not uncommon that a few parts go missing. If you still have them, they can be re-attached with a drop of CA glue, used sparingly. It is nice to find these models when they have the little paddler still with them (often these get lost over time). He will have a wooden body with carved facial features; the parka or anorak may be made of fish skin, or perhaps some bit of animal hide. These are fairly popular with collectors, and pop up fairly regularly on eBay and other sales venues. Current examples seem to still be made for sale to tourists, but I have come across examples that dated as early as c. 1900. I doubt yours goes back that far, but it is always difficult to judge such things from photos alone; much better and more reliable when seen 'in hand'. I have owned several over the years, and from different periods; that is the basis for my comments. As to value: past experience suggests that eBay prices for such pieces have varied anywhere from $250 - $750, depending on condition and completeness. Your model is missing its double-bladed paddle and a series of implements (harpoon, associated gear, flensing tool, etc.) which likely accompanied it when first acquired. I sold a similar piece from around 1920 a while back to the 'Canadian Pickers' for $350, as I recall, which was pretty fair and allowed them a small mark-up on re-sale. I have posted a couple of photos of another similar piece c. 1940 that I once owned. Hope this helps. If you have other questions, let me know. Roger
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  3. OP
    OP
    RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Roger -

    Wow, fantastic infon thank you so much! I guess my only other questions would be whether or not you could help me find someone who restores these things and / or where I could find info about doing so myself. I'm not concerned about selling, though I wouldnt want to degrade value any further. My hope is to repair / replace the finial, bang plate, and paddle so the item could make a nice presentation under glass. Even if the replacement parts are modern (quality) reproductions, I would be happy with that. Main thing is that I don't want to screw it up. I'd rather have someone reputable do the work. Let me know if you have any further thoughts. Thank you!!
     
  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Chris Pearson, who's often on this forum, would be the go-to guy. If you search for his name, you'll see some of the intricate models and dioramas he has made.
     
  5. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Hands down, Pearson is the guy.
     
  6. chris pearson

    chris pearson Michigan Canoe Nut

    I'd be happy to help in anyway I can. Since I am not familiar with kayaks of this type, I would need good photos or even actual pieces to replicate them as authentically as possible. I'm looking at things on my smart phone so images provided may be enough, or Roger may have more?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  7. OP
    OP
    RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Hey Chris -

    Thanks for taking a look!! I'll get you some better pics as soon as I have a chance. Looking forward to discussing further details. Thank you!!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
  8. OP
    OP
    RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    ....and speaking of smartphones.....I really need to start reading before I post. Sorry for the rediculous typing skills.
     

Share This Page