Strip Laminated Big U by Al Gerhards

Item S05   

This Item was Sold on 24 August 2012 for $277   

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Al Gerhards is one of America's most famous pioneers in the development of long distance boomerangs. Al was an active thrower, manufacturer and competitor in the 1970s and early 1980s. His most popular model is the Standard Weighted Hook which was made out of strip laminated hardwoods. The standard hook was occasionally made without weights, but the majority of these hook boomerangs had a single lead weight on each tip with a unique serial number stamped in the weight near the lift arm tip. The earliest examples (1970s) had an additional half weight inserted into the underside of the elbow. This was discontinued on hooks made in the early 1980s because the elbow weight was often the source for the initiation of strip delaminations. Al also made strip laminated large hooks, small hooks, omegas, traditionals and the awesome Big "U"s. The large hooks were sometimes called "White Lightning" hooks and Al used one of these to set a World Record in the long distance event with a documented throw of more than 125 yards in the late 1970s. Only 500 standard weighted hooks with numbers were made. The last one has a silver star inlayed in the dingle arm tip and this one is displayed in Al's living room in a specially made holder that also displays his world record "White Lightning" hook.

I visited with Al Gerhards in early 2006 and asked him about the integrity of his boomerangs after 25-30 years. Al assured me that he used strong epoxy glues and that he still throws boomerangs that he made 30+ years ago without any problems. Al recommends that the owners of his boomerangs rub the surface with Tung oil or Gun oil prior to throwing if it has been in storage. The boomerang should be oiled at least once every 3 months if it is thrown regularly. However, I discourage the throwing of old collectable boomerangs unless it is thrown under very carefully controlled conditions. I would prefer that the owner make a copy of this boomerang for his own use and save the original as a fine collectable.

This boomerang is a right handed early version of Al's famous Big "U". It is not signed or dated, but I personally acquired this boomerang from Al in the early 1980s. It was probably made in the mid 1970s.. This Big U is made out of thick Oak strips. The outer 3 strips are Red Oak and the inner strips are White Oak. This is one of the few boomerangs that Al made using more than a single species of wood. I was able to test throw this boomerang before listing it. It is a wonderful flyer with a low and circular 35+ metre flight. The blades on this early Big U are a little shorter than those of the Big Us made in the early 1980s,, but it is easier to throw and structurally stronger. Excellent condition, but a couple of the Red Oak strips have some wood putty, used to fill in a thin area from construction, not damage. This boomerang is also not finished with oil. I left it in the original state that it was acquired and it has held up well for 25+ years. Because of it's size, it will cost extra to ship this boomerang,. Very rare and wonderful to watch this boomerang fly. It appears to fly very slow because of its large size.

Specifications: Right Handed ; Tip-to-tip Span = 52 cm ;Weight = 242 gm

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