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Spear pic + ?


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Does this type of spear look familiar to anyone? Early Riser?

It's from the Park Rapids area and at least 50 yrs old.

100_1392.jpg

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Does it have a "notch" in the other end? I think it might be a Brainerd spear if I am not mistaken. I am not 100% sure of the name. They are real nice. I have the one that belonged to my grandfather. They are worth something.

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Early Riser

Sure enough it does look like a Brainerd spear by L. Gustus. They are worth about 100 to 150 dollars.

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I did some looking, it is a Brainerd spear made by Louis Gustis. 1887-1974 I believe it is worth at least a couple of hundred bucks.

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Thanks for the info guys.

The spear belongs to my father-in-law. I noticed it last summer hanging on a wall in his garage. It was behind a bunch of stuff. Anyways, the garage got cleaned up this fall to make room for cars in the winter. I was able to get a close look at the spear and take a picture on my way to LOTW. He got it used from a neighbor about 50 years ago.

What is a "Brainerd spear" ? This might sound like a dumb question, was L. Gustis from Brainerd or is that a style of spear?

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Early Riser

The information I have is from a reference book on spears by Marcel Salive called "Ice Fishing Spears." This book is loaded with information about many of the old spear makers from MN, MI and other places.

Candiru and I were both wrong on the spelling. According to Salive, Louis Gustas was a blacksmith that made the spears for the Foley harware store in Brainerd. When Mr Gustas stoped making his spears, Mr Foley found another local blacksmith named Clarence Thomas to make a wire tine version of the spear.

I bought one of these spears about 3 years ago for 100 dollars. Someone usually has one for sale at the bigger decoy shows. Their value is likely going up. After a little field testing with mine I determined that the Gustas spears are very well made and solid. They drop and throw straight. The barb work also does a very good job of holding fish.

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That is the same spear I use. I got it from my grandfather about 25 years ago. Helped him shingle his house. He gave me a spearhouse and the spear.

It is a great spear.

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Thanks again for the info.

If I remember right, somoeone posted that the design of the Amish spears are based old Brainerd spears. I use an Amish spear. It's kind of neat to think that my spear is based on the spear my father-in-law used as a kid. I'm a newbie from a non-spearing family , but now I have my own sort of spearing tradition.

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Early Riser

Huey the Amish spears are based on the turned weighted center design perfected by MN spear makers Dillo Hinnenkamp, Joe June and W. Pimple. Contemporaries include spears made by Jeremy Kraemer, Lee Moening and the Amish spear you have.

I have a little time tonight so in my edit I am adding a few pictures of examples from my photo album:

Brainerd Spear by L. Gustas:

LGustusBrainerdspear2008185.jpg

Pimple Spear:

WPimplespear2008177.jpg

J. Kraemer Spears:

JKreamerspear2008189.jpg

303.jpg

L. Moening Spear:

LMoeningspear2008179.jpg

Stiff's Spear, unknown maker, but an awesome spear!

IMG_4476.jpg

Misc. Spears on the judging table from Perham:

FamilyFunJanuary-June2006036.jpg

One thing for certain is that well crafted spears are functional pieces of folk art that are fun to collect, learn about and use.

The handle on my Pimple spear was a little loose due to the wood drying out over the years. I picked the spear up from a local decoy carver who actually knew Pimple having grown up in the same community and working on his farmstead. He said many folks are still using Pimple spears in central MN and suggested that if I wanted to try it I should simply soak the handle in a little water to tightened it up. I replaced the old rope, soaked it and took it out for a few trips to the dark house. It has functioned as perfectly as I had expected it to. The whole experience made me ponder the spear's previous owners and all the trips to the dark house they may have employed the old spear for.

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nice collection EarlyRiser. could you tell me what the overall witdh is of the spear and what ther distance between the tines are. just out of curiousity

and I like the yellow and red decoy in stiff's photo I had one like that but its now at the bottom of Big Lake oopps I would like to find another one like it.

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Early Riser

Elwood, the Brainerd spear is 55" long. The outside tine spread is 7.75". The space between the tines, center to center is 1.25".

Kraemer spears are about 60" long BnS.

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Thanks EarlyRiser in the pic it looks so much bigger than that.

I like that spear I also assume that it is a forged spear being that Gustas was a blacksmith. I'd like to try and learn that art of blacksmithing someday.

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  • 10 years later...

I was searching for Louis Gustis Spears and ran across this old post. I have been looking for one as I grew up nest door to Louie as we called. Spent much of my time in his shop as he crafted spears. In fact I knew the entire operation from raw stock to finished product.  I played with his forge and he taught me how to weld. I even saw him make the then illegal 12 tine spears. They were works of art. He took me on my first spearing excursion when I was 5. Nokay Lake. He and his wife were like grandparents to me. Watched Friday night at the fights with him.

anyway, I’d like to find one to buy. 

Thanks.

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I have the one you called Stiffs spear. Bought it about 1982 from Rapids Tackle in GR. Owner told me it was made by an 80 something year old guy and it was the last batch. Can't remember the name. Cost me $80 then. My first wife was pretty upset that I spent that much so I traded her in for a different model......wife that is 😀.

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Mike89.  I’d love a picture. I am pretty sure I can identify a Gustis spear.  I am not far from you. Moran township. 

Any way, Louie’s Spears we’re constructed out of bar stock he used for the handle and smaller stock that he hand cut for each individual tine. Each tine was put into the forge hammered hot into shape so the end had a sort of v shape. Then each tine was was cut with a hacksaw to create an area for the barb. Then hand filed in the cut to open the barb up and sharpened with a file.  Tines were then ground on a stone on an electri grinder to creat the point. Back to file for final sharpening. 

A flattish sort of bar was created in different lengths to creat the piece onto which each tine and the handle were welded. Missed the the rope end of handle was drilled with a hole and the very end of the handle had a small u shaped cut to assist in attaching rope.  

Finalinspection and sharpening. 

Then painted all dull black except for the sharp end points that were, to me, super shiny and left unpainted up to about 1 1/2 inch from the point.  A thing of beauty. 

His production varied from 800 to over 1100 each year with almost all built in summer. 

Tines were round, none of current flat shape.  

His philosophy which I remember well was: “A spear should cut like a knife through water and into the fish.”   Not knock the fish out with excess weight.  

I truly would like one if any available.  

If I had the tools and remembered how to forge without over tempering I could attempt to build one. 

Thanks. 

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Oh, and tines always even across bottom as I recall. Center double barbed on those with odd number of tines was not receded from others. 

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I'll take a look at the spears and see what I have...  come on down to the decoy show in Alex!!!

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Would love to go to show.  I think its tomorrow.  Out of town but get home very late tonight.  Wife says they predict a foot of snow, so it might be tricky as I have nearly 2 miles of township road before I hit a tar/county road.  If possible I will try to get there.  What is the location in Alex?

Thanks.

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gunner55

The fairgrounds, more info: Alex Decoy Show thread this forum

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  • 1 year later...
dutchboy II

Old thread I know but............

 

Fascinating thread. Hope I can make a show. Love seeing hand made art.  😃

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Mike89

there are talking a decoy show in Alex in Oct...  stay tuned!!!

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • CigarGuy
      Must be good, got the binoculars out and there are holes drilled out in the middle of Partridge River where they were ice fishing. Neighbor said they accessed the lake from his road. Didn't get a fishing report from them.
    • Mike89
    • monstermoose78
      Well I have been stuck inside with covid and just keeping to myself. I hope to get out in the woods or fields soon. Stay healthy everyone.
    • Alex E
      near McKinley park and got starlink to test as an alternative to frontier - not mounted properly (rooftop mount was back ordered) so obstructions are an issue. When it works it flies (had some speed tests >160mbps, but does drop for 20 seconds at a time. As chucker stated, it’s perfect for multiple streaming TV that can download/buffer ahead and for all normal internet uses but not great for video calls. 
    • Mike89
      good for you!!  
    • JerkinLips
      Cools down Sunday afternoon and the wind dies down at the same time so Head-OLakes Bay should freeze over Sunday night, 11/30.  A couple of cool days after that so next weekend may be possible for fishing (on foot).  I may wait until the following Monday 12/6 to go up.
    • smurfy
      Yea noticed that to. Since heading north to Itasca county since 1965, we notice the same with the weather and snow. Seems  brainerd is a line, then north of deer river.
    • jim curlee
      I've had enough drama/frustration over buying a used Skandic. lol Called all over Minnesota yesterday looking for a new one. One of the dealers I called last week, had 8-9 of them, today none. I happened to find one new Skandic SWT, and bought it. Delivery sometime in December. If anybody else is on the fence about a Skandic, you better buy it, there aren't anymore. LOL     
    • Wanderer
      The transition seems to be around Brainerd the past few years that I’ve noticed.  Anything south seems to take a while to lock up good then goes bad earlier. Probably has been that way a long time but I’ve only been in the area about 5 winters now and normally didn’t come this direction to ice fish before then.
    • SkunkedAgain
      I would bet that the ice in front of your place is at least 6 inches thick. I think that this will be a good ice year in our bay, but will have to wait it out to see what the future holds for the rest of the lake!   I expect that you'll drill a hole or two to get some fishing in this weekend....
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