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Rare Preening Black Duck

Jim Schmiedlin (1945-2015)

Bradford Woods, PA, 1994


Jim's carvings are amongst the most sought after of any working decoy maker who carved in the last 70 years.


Jim mastered his own unique, original, and highly identifiable look.  Like master carvers nearly a century before his time, Jim made working decoys, in his own style, that managed to attract as many people as they did ducks and geese.  He made mostly for himself and virtually all working model birds have seen some genuine use if not years of genuine use.  Well before realizing the meteoric values they do today.  In earnest, his medium was simple, recycling wood and using deck screws.  His tools mirrored nothing fancy.  Yet he created one of the most elegant and recognizable working styles in waterfowling history.


Ducks and geese that were commonly hunted make up the majority of his decoys available today.  Black ducks are a rare species for Jim.  The carved details reflect the level of technical creation by an ardent observer of the waterfowl he hunted and sought to achieve in wood.  No matter the species, the preening pose is always the most desireable and rare.  Commanding top dollar at every public sale.


This fine and rare example follows the styling of preening birds in other species.  The decoy is hollow carved.  The preening side wing is gently outstretched with the bill resting gently into a shallow pocket on the wing.  The subtle flare of the lifted wing flows backwards across the back, seemingly burried under feathering paint, only for the relief caved feathering of the wing tip to emerge across the back to the far side of the tail.  The tail feathers are fluted.  The sculpted body curves realistically with pocketing on the opposite side.  The head and bill are highly detailed. 


The decoy retains its original keel and weight.  On the underside it bears its created date of October 1994, the JAS brand, as well as Jim's famous 'Reward for Return' label.  Written on the underside are areas of use to include Lake St. Clare, MI, Lake Erie, PA, and more.


Condition: Original and near mint with minimal gunning wear


*List price is Check or Cash price.  Online payment purchases will have an additional 5% processing fee surcharge.  Please contact with any questions!  Thank you for your business!

Preening Black Duck - Jim Schmiedlin