EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 6, 2013

Black Forest stand has worth even in bad condition


Other Black Forest items might include benches held up by bears; lap desks; wall shelves; umbrella stands; inkstands; figures and sculptures in the form of bears, elks, boars, and wolves (among others); wall plaques with hunting horns and other paraphernalia; nutcrackers; chairs; cabinets; book racks and on and on.

The pictures are poor, but we believe the smoker’s stand in today’s question was made from linden wood, which is actually from a tree called “tilia” that can be found in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere around the globe. These trees are generally referred to as “lime” in Great Britain -- but have nothing whatsoever to do with the citrus fruit.

In North America, the terms “linden” and “basswood” are often used. The wood of the several genus of tilia is soft, lightweight and easily carved. The Vikings used it to make shields, and since the Middle Ages Germanic people have used it as a wood for sculpture.

A similar smoker’s stand -- with its mama bear holding up a tabletop with boxes that have three-dimensional baby bears carved on the lids -- sold at auction a few years for $4,000. Its quality was a bit better than this one, and its condition was certainly better.

In fact, the condition of the example in today’s question is deplorable, but still it has an insurance value in the $800-$1,200 range if attractively restored.

Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of “Price It Yourself” (HarperResource, $19.95). Contact them at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928. Email them at treasures@knology.net.

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