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freedom to the ducks

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Repair
- 25 Sep 2017 -
39 posts / 0 new
#1

Hi,


I just won an ebay auction for a vintage Hans Bølling duck. The big one.

I got it for a pretty reasonnable price (25€) and I guess that's because the poor thing has been glued to a piece of wood by its previous owner.


I would like to free the bird without damaging it. Do you guys have any tips? (my guess is that the glue is nothing fancy but the usual white one).


Many thanks!


Country
Denmark
Periods
1960 - 1969

Comments

- 25 Sep 2017

Damn shame.

Somebody will have an answer. The duck should still be edible...

Damn shame,

Aunt Mark

- 25 Sep 2017

I'd start with heat.....try a hairdryer until the glue gives way. If that doesn't work, you'll have to try a solvent to break down the glue. Vingegar diluted to about 30% works on some wood glues.

- 26 Sep 2017

I second steam.

Another option could be to use a thin bladed Japanese style handsaw and cut along the glue line. The kerf width is less than 1mm. And these saws leave a very clean cut. So, carefully done, Hans the Duck would still be within factory specs for duck racing height.

- 26 Sep 2017

I'm being silly, Dr PouleT

odd,

Aunt Mark

- 26 Sep 2017

Whatever you do, be very, very careful about prying the feet off the board. I've seen a lot of Bølling figures with feet that have split along the grain. Probably most of them happened when the pieces were dropped, but still--just be aware that they're prone to splitting. The leg hole at the end further weakens the, I think.

There's also the issue of the mark on the bottom of the foot. Counterfeit ducks are being reproduced by Asian companies and they're very, very close copies. Don't end up obliterating the Bølling mark somehow!

- 26 Sep 2017

Thanks all for your tops! I will try those as soon as I receive the duck.

Spanky: I think that is precisely why it has been glued. One foot seems to have split. I will see what I can do with that. Anyway, these ducks are still made by Architectmade, I guess it might be possible to order à spare foot if necessary...

- 26 Sep 2017

Hi.

This story will have a happy ending.

It will,

Aunt Mark

- 27 Sep 2017

I did not know there is a mark under the foot. Yes, do try and keep that whatever it takes.

- 30 Sep 2017

I'd reluctantly opt for the Japanese saw. Steam can affect wood -- in this case, much of the poor little duck, potentially. If he sits normally where he's glued now, little harm would be done by sawing him free -- and the rest of his surface will remain untouched.

[written before Leif's last post]

- 03 Oct 2017

I have received the bird yesterday. Did not realize how big the thing actually is.

The piece of wood on which it is glued is a nice thick piece of solid oak. The duck is perfectly centered on it and honestly it doesn't look like a home made addition at all...

I guess I'll leave it as it is. I am afraid I'll do more harm than good trying to unglue it.

- 03 Oct 2017

Oh and one funny thing I wanted to share with you guys.
My son: "Daddy, may I have the duck to put it in my room?"
Me: "No"
My son: "It's unfair. You have all the designers' stuff and I have nothing."
Me: "Well, what would you want?"
My son: "I would like the duck and an egg chair for my room".

My son is 7...

- 03 Oct 2017

Sign your son up here!

I was surprised too at the size of this duck when I got mine in the mail. And I agree, it looks fine on the base. But if and when you decide you need one or more ducklings to go with it, then you might change your mind. I'd try soaking it off, either with water or a solvent. The split looks very clean so it will probably glue up nicely with the right adhesive. You could make a clamp by tacking two little pieces of wood onto a board at the same angle of the foot, then just slide the foot between them until the two halves are tight against each other.

- 03 Oct 2017

A bright child from bright parents! You should be so proud.

Now, gosh Dr. P.,,,,,time for a chat.

The wood base must be removed. It cheapens the piece...and it is such a nice artifact.

Respectfully,

Aunt Mark

- 03 Oct 2017

LOL, that is pretty funny about your son. You just need to teach him perspective though, or he will become a design snob (uh, I mean lover) like us, far too young. He might refuse to sit in chairs at school, because they are not aesthetically pleasing enough! I doubt it though, his father seems very kind-hearted and grounded, so the more likely result will be a guy that at 30, has one of the best design collections in France!

I agree, I think the pedestal looks fine. To me, it would not be worth the risk of removing it, although it might be hard for me to resist the challenge.

- 03 Oct 2017

That pedestal would drive me nuts.

Some of the glues that could have been used to attach it are water soluble. Some are not. Maybe you will get lucky and it is a water soluble one. If you put it in a tray of water that just reaches over the top of the pedestal and let it sit for 30 minutes or so, you will know.

- 03 Oct 2017

Well, it looks fine on its base -- but I'm not a purist about objects I'm not strongly attached to.

The base can be sacrificed, presumably. So, it wouldn't be hard to run the piece through a band saw, slicing the top 1/16" of oak off -- or closer, if you have good control of the process. Then, the remaining oak can be carved away from the feet, finally sanding the last of it off the bottoms of the feet. Or, when the oak is very thin, water could be introduced, to attempt to melt the glue.

I have the Bosch 3 x 21 belt sander, which I use in all kinds of ways. It has a flat side and a flat top, so it can be clamped to the workbench as a stationary sander. And it's light enough to hold in one hand, for free-hand work. The front handle is easily removed, for more access to the round end of the belt. A favorite tool . . .

- 03 Oct 2017

DrPoulet you have him well trained! Clearly he has his tastes well developed, have you donated anything to his room?! It's funny how we take so much from our parents interests...my father thinks I absorbed his interests in old furniture and ephemera when I was younger and tweaked them to suit my own tastes as I got older. I still send him pictures of newly acquired pieces to discuss and have gifted a few items he took a shine to. Many a Saturday was spent in antiques shops or markets....I want to do the same with my offspring as you are clearly doing with your son! With regards to the duck I think I'd like it that little bit more without the stand....

- 03 Oct 2017

The "improvement" of the stand or base reminds me of my dear dad. He bought one of these Orb clocks for his desk on the 38th floor of the Chrysler Building in New York. But he wasn't happy with it until he'd "improved" it: he took it apart and added a white paper arrow-head to the minute hand, matching the one on the hour hand !

https://danishmodernla.com/product/george-nelson-chronopak-orb-desk-cloc...

I was a budding design fan as a teen. When I made it known I'd like an Eames shell chair for my bedroom desk, I apparently didn't emphasize that only a "real" one would do; little did I realize, in 1956, that there were already knock-offs on the market. Christmas morning revealed a sad gray round-shouldered fiberglass chair, with simple bent-tube metal legs. My shoulders must have slumped . . . not too noticeably, I hope.

- 03 Oct 2017

Charming story, SDR.

My Debbie Reynolds life sized blow-up doll is also a knock-off.

Charming,

Aunt Mark

(EDITED BY ME:AUNT MARK): hi. Now SDR, your father must have been quite creative. And mother, too. hi.

- 03 Oct 2017

Sunday's "Cypher" in the SF Chron: "I live in front of my daughter [Carrie Fisher]. I have a little house in front of her because I can stay in touch. We're a very close family. Debbie Reynolds"

Interesting choice of "because" . . . and "in front of" ?

- 03 Oct 2017

Finally, I did not resist removing the duck from its base. I noticed there was a gap between the base and the feet, introduced a thin blade in it and voila! It went pretty easily.
Unfortunately, there was a Torben Ørskov sticker under one foot and it got damaged in the process as it was glued to the base. At least I am now sure it is an original!

Does anyone know what marking came first: the sticker or the stamp?

- 03 Oct 2017

A happy ending.

yup,

Aunt Mark

- 03 Oct 2017

Bravo, Dr Poulet. Well done . . .

- 04 Oct 2017

Yay! Looks so much better. I can't help with which came first, the stamp or the sticker.

- 04 Oct 2017

Yay for brittle old glue!

I have looked at an awful lot of these ducks online and most have the incised mark. They're still in production so the logical guess is that the paper label is older. I don't know when they switched over, though. Somewhere there's an article or maybe a video of Bølling talking about how he got started. Torben Ørskov was his friend and agreed to let Hans sell his toys in his shop in Copenhagen, then later Bølling had some other arrangement.

Is it worth a try to steam the rest of the label off the wood block?

Here's a video of the the duck is made now:

- 04 Oct 2017

Found the other video but he doesn't give many details about the business side of things. Still--charming!

- 04 Oct 2017

Thanks for the videos ! Charming. I guess in the construction video the duck's bill is being shaped to fit into a v-groove in the bottom of the head, using a little vertically-oriented shaper ? Most interesting.

- 04 Oct 2017

Just got a feedback from Ørskov and indeed the ducks with the tags are the earlier ones.

- 04 Oct 2017

Ah, a happy ending.

You know, that pedestal, while it was certainly the focus of much ire on this post, is probably the whole reason the item was able to be procured for the price it was. Without seeing a label, and dropping it into Google, it was just another wooden toy to the seller ...... now if it will just give its final gift, and release the rest of that label.

- 04 Oct 2017

Hi.

I'll bet that the previous owner glued the sweet duck to the tragic trophy pedestal mostly to protect the foil label. Luckily it was somewhat a successful strategy, in that the recent surgery quickly changed the "price per pound" on this old bird...as the previous owner would have hoped for??...I guess. Enough label residue remains on the piece for most die hard collectors. The wood pedestal should saved for future conversation.

Hello,

Aunt Mark

ps. My cousin collects wood duck decoys. Quite an impressive collection. Mostly by one carver. hi.

- 04 Oct 2017

And now you know the perfect way of revenging yourself on said cousin, should the need ever arise. You will only need a few dozen perfectly manicured slabs of white oak and a bottle of Elmer’s finest.

- 04 Oct 2017

Haha.

I'll ask permission to photograph my cousins duck decoy collection. A ruthless collection ( he bought quite of few pieces whilst driving in "disguise" a a beat up old Buick Electra when scouting certain decoys, and was forced to buy an old Mercedes with another decoy purchase). A big article in a big magazine a few years back. Big. He now uses spotters. Not my thing. I like pants. And shoes. And pet chickens. And I like y'all.

oh birds,

Aunt Mark

ps. don't forget to feed the birds. they are our friends.

- 04 Oct 2017

Ah, good news from Ørskov!

The big duck is a hefty 13 oz (375 grams) and is very carefully balanced on the little legs. The feet are only about 1/4" thick at the back and they taper down to about 1/8" in front. I've seen many with split feet and some missing a foot altogether. Putting it on that base kind of wrecked the label but at least it saved the duck further damage! The tip of the beak gets chipped pretty easily, too.

SDR, you're exactly right. Here's a photo of the back of the head of a fake duckling compared to that of an authentic one. The fakes get listed as authentic pretty often, probably mostly by people who don't know to look for the subtle differences. I have three authentic ones and this joint is perfect on all of them. On one you can barely see it at all because the grain happens to be very similar on both pieces. They are delightful little gems of workmanship.

- 04 Oct 2017

Thanks, spanky. Both pieces of the head, then, start out as turnings. Most of the beak turning becomes waste -- unless the process begins by cutting the beak turning in half -- or in quarters ? That's not a simple matter, either.

Does oak seem an odd choice for these little beasts, considering its granular coarseness ? Of course, the result is lovely, and sturdy.

- 04 Oct 2017

They're teak, not oak! I think Dr. Poulet said the added base was oak. Hans Bølling's Little Mermaid is now made with an oak bottom half - i think the original was all teak? Not sure.

This image is from a montage on Architectmade.com. They don't show the entire schematic, just this much. (and this is the duckling, not the mama duck, but I think the construction is the same.)

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