My name is Jeffrey M. Olson. I am a metalworker who specializes in repairing and restoring antiques. My latest challenge was restoring a dark house fishing spear that was hand forged by renowned spear maker Wendlin Pimple.
Wendlin Pimple was an Austrian immigrant born in the 1860’s and settled in Albany, Minnesota. His spears were made in the 1940’s and 50’s. They are rare and sought after by collectors. They are preserved as family treasures, passed on from generation to generation.
This Pimple spear was brought into the shop in rugged shape.
A tine was missing all-together and it had a lot of ugly brazing on it.
The original 7 tine spear was now a 6 tine spear. Now to be fair, I give the metalworker credit for doing what he had to do to make the spear serviceable. The tines were all, for the most part, evenly spaced and the spear was serviceable.
The first step was to remove the brazing to get all the tines free to assess the condition of the tines individually.
Once the tines were cleaned up, work began on straightening the center tine. Using the traditional blacksmithing tools in my shop, I heated the center tine and forged it straight.
Experience tells me that with every restoration, there will be unexpected surprises during the process. This project would prove that to be true once again.
Upon straightening the center tine, several cracks were revealed from the original forge welds that threatened the structural integrity of the spear.
Once the center tine was repaired, work began on forging a new tine to match the one that was missing. Even though the client said this spear was to be a wall hanger and he would not be using this spear to fish, I chose to use a hay rake tine instead of mild steel to keep the spear as original ass possible.
In my mind, this particular spear will still be around decades from now. It will out last me and eventually end up in the hands of someone who may want to use the spear for what Wendlin Pimple forged it for in the first place. To put meat on the table.
Another BIG challenge to the restoration process is getting the new parts you have fabricated to look weathered and worn just like the original old parts. This is hands down the MOST important concern the client has. They want it restored but not look like it’s restored. So I have to constantly remind myself “not to make it look too new” during the entire restoration process.
The final step and most difficult is reassembly. With all the grinding and filing that happens during the repair and restoration, the pieces and parts no longer fit together like they originally did. So assembly and realignment can be tricky and take lots of patience.
Restoration complete! I’m very happy with the restoration of this Pimple spear. Now to get it back to the client!