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Author Topic: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree  (Read 105 times)

Offline scooby

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Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« on: June 23, 2020, 11:18:02 AM »
My packing buddy and I both ended up with one of these. They have been hanging in a barn for years. Made by Oliver Robinette who lived in Kooskia, a small town located just up the river from me. After making improvements to the original pattern, he started making packsaddles for the Decker Bros. and local packers and outfitters around 1907. He then went on to make them for the Forest Service. He passed from this world in 1945.

What a cool find. The bars are made from Cottonwood and the bows are hand forged and riveted to the bars. Later ones were fastened together with carriage bolts and square nuts. I only know of two complete OPR,s in these parts that have all of the original rigging attached along with the original half breed.

This tree now resided in my living room.

DSCN5058 by Steve OBrien, on Flickr

DSCN5059 by Steve OBrien, on Flickr

DSCN5061 by Steve OBrien, on Flickr

Offline ShotgunDave

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 12:36:36 PM »
That's way cool Steve. A piece of local history, you can admire everyday.
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Offline scooby

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 01:16:33 PM »
Thanks Dave. I was pleased to obtain a local piece of history. Say, I forgot to mention that Robinette always carved his initials with a u-gouge in the same spots and exclisively used Cottonwood for the bars because of the light weight and strength.

Offline mazo kid

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 06:07:21 PM »
Very nice find, lucky they were stored in a fairly dry place.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 11:55:03 AM »
Nice, and historically pertinent, too. Put 'er on display for the world to see!
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Offline Miguel Loco

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2020, 07:28:21 AM »
My grand father has a couple of those in the old barn in Ferdinand years ago. That's a great find! I remember seeing a picture of a mule packing a cast iron cook stove using one of those.
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Offline mazo kid

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Re: Antique Decker Pack Saddle Tree
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 08:19:35 AM »
I have a friend who is a blacksmith full time (actually have 2 others who specialize in knife making too). He started out at rendezvous selling his wares, but for years now he only does art shows and orders from custom shops. My point is, since he is making many identical pieces, he has several jigs to speed production and keep items uniform. I would think that might be the case with the maker of your pack tree.