James Reynolds – The Woodworking Gunsmith.
I was born and raised in rural north Yorkshire and by the advent of my early teenage years started to become involved in shooting sports through a combination of air rifle shooting and beating, which in time, became an all-consuming passion. Guns became a platform on which to consolidate my interests in, engineering, manufacturing, art and history.
It is obvious that work of this nature is an absolute passion to James and whilst a relative youngster, he has the skill, knowledge, ability and professionalism of someone of much more senior years.
Chris Skinner (Kent)
As a young man I was the type of child who would have his Christmas presents dissected into their various parts by Boxing Day in order to understand how they work and with little tools or ability but exuberant self-confidence the same was done to my various air rifles in order to make “improvements”.
( Image right: view from Black Hambleton back towards Nether Silton )
(Image above: one of my first paid trade jobs many years ago. A new forend wood for a Webley and Scott model 700.)
Exposure to the MLAGB at various game fairs around the county sparked my interest at a young age in muzzle loading guns, and indeed by a chance circumstance it was these interests which lead me into the murky depths of the mystery of the gunsmith.
The acquisition of a quite hopeless old reproduction muzzle loader from an older sportsman who was giving up his activities also offered the opportunity to acquire an old Linsley brother’s shotgun, which the old boy proffered to me on the condition that I would turn my budding talents to restocking the neglected old gun which was missing half the stock from the wrist backwards. I immediately agreed, the gun being more than anything I could afford, however other than some less than satisfactory air rifle stocks, the fitting of a few but pads and a couple of refinishing attempts this was a much bigger job than anything I had attempted before.
Being young the early part of my summer holiday was spent reading and watching and learning how to make a gunstock, which was laboriously carved with a handful of blunt rusty chisels. Three weeks of painstaking work and the stock was made, the attempt was a good first attempt however the details of the job, the style of the checkering, the fit of the gun and practically every detail through which you might recognize fine work was lacking.
The fire was lit, and my passion led me to acquire other broken guns in order to fix and put them back into service. Along the way many other skills were required to be learned, and working daily I advanced my skills as an autodidact with help and guidance from various people in the trade as I went.
On leaving school I turned my attention to air rifle stocks, which ultimately kept me in social funds for a year out of education, it was clear however that the market was limited and too price sensitive to ever really be a mainstay of business, I took up a position studying a countryside management degree, diverting my student loan to more equipment and buying me more time to continue my self-education in gunsmithing, through which I am determined to produce only the very best work.
After my countryside management degree it was clear that changes had to be made; its one thing fitting a recoil pad on a Saturday for a few quid, and quite enough to provide a secure workshop facility with flexible capability i invested heavily and after much work my new workshop was fully equipped, licensed, planning approved and secured.
(Image left: a selection of walnut blanks showing various grades from my stockpile)
Over the years Ive gained the patronage of a loyal private and trade customer base who regularly furnish me with varied and interesting work.
"I have had the pleasure of using several Gunsmiths over my 40+ years of shooting but I have never before seen such a natural flair for precision work at such a young age - his checkering skills are beyond reproach and I have yet to find his weak spot where I could consider his work merely "average".
C.Cherry. Winslow, Bucks.
In Late 2020 I began to effect a move of the workshop to Thimbleby Shooting Ground, the old workshop suffered issues with phone reception and limitations of space due to its lay out, These issues have been addressed with a purpose built workshop in the new location i hope will be more convenient to my customers who can combine a visit to drop off and collect guns with a visit to Thimbleby Shooting ground. A vast amount of work has been undertaken to improve the shooting ground throughout the COVID 19 Lockdowns, The new club house offers unrivalled facilities including a Gun shop, and Cafe, As well as many improvements to the ground which offers challenging sporting clay lay outs and an air rifle range. This move should be effective by April 2021 and i look forward to seeing new and old faces at the new facility
Now after many years of work and practice a thousand problems have come and gone through the workshop; there is little in gunsmiths problems that can be offered to the workshop which with ingenuity and confidence cannot be solved. These services I offer to you, please get in touch if you need a quote for any gunsmithing task; contact me here
When not in the workshop I enjoy a steady days walked up or rough shooting over unruly spaniels in Yorkshire which boasts some of the most beautiful countryside and the efforts of the gamekeepers keep it abundant with wildlife.
In my spare time i enjoy shooting of all types, be it walked up shooting, duck flighting, roost shooting or relaxing at the local clay ground Thimbleby.
I also maintain a passion for black powder guns and love to get out and put them back into practical use when i can.