Case Studies

A Bespoke stock.

This gun was a particular favourite of the clients, a 20 bore Arrieta side lock ejector tastefully engraved with English style scroll work. On arrival I could instantly sympathise with the unique attachment the client had with this gun, which handled beautifully and had that indefinable tactical feel I would normally associate with one of the better made English gun;  the gun initially came in with a warped forend, probably due to the use of some poorly dried wood. After discussing repair and replacement options the client felt like the basic timber had always let the gun down so the decision was made to restock the gun. After much searching and exchange of advice the client presented me with a spectacular blank which I assured him would through work become such a stock as to give strength and durability while presenting the perfect balance of colour, contrast, depth and the particular flow of grain that the client appreciated. The stock was made entirely by hand, finished with fine checkering at 26LPI and traditionally oil finished. -Pictures coming soon

Westely Richards Flintlock Frizzen Pin

This flintlock mechanism came from a Westley Richards flintlock gun in remarkable condition. At some point the frizzen pin was broken and required replacing. As is often the case with guns a replacement pin had to be made on the lathe, the scale of the part is shown in the second image with a £1 coin for scale. Every project presents its own issues, a modern equivalent thread has to be found that's a close match to the original, in this case a BA thread was very close.

 

A pin 120thou in diameter was turned with a head 150 thou in diameter, threaded with a die and the rotation of the frizzen freed off and head slotted and carefully timed. The fitting of the pin diameter to the bore in the frizzen is critical. An oversize pin will bind the frizzen and impede the action of the lock. A pin under size by even 1 thou ( Roughly a quarter the thickness of a human hair ) results in a very sloppy job.

Broken Pin
New pin blank.

Single Barrel Muzzle loader Restoration

This was an intriguing old gun which came in for a full restoration. The gun had belonged to my clients father who had used it in his youth, the gun was long since considered lost until it turned up in a clear out. My client commissioned me to make a number of repairs to the gun in order to make it a beautiful collection piece, which was to be gifted back to his father.

 

The gun had an interesting history of its own which is lost to time it displayed no makers name though on stripping the stock a cursive pencil inscription behind the but plate read "Wm *Lelfer*? Hadley Hall"  though sadly internet based research turned up nothing. On inspection it was clear it was made from recycled parts of an earlier gun, the work was carried out skillfully.

 

The whole gun was scaled perfectly for a young teenager, the roughly 28 bore barrel was cut down from a longer and earlier flintlock gun, the touchhole being plugged for conversion with fitment of a new breech plug. The scaled gun was wonderfully tactile and one could easily imagine a little gentleman walking round a country garden and presumably terrorizing blackbirds!

The stock was made from an unusual wood, the forend tip, ram rod, and ramrod loos and nipple were missing and had to be made and replaced, the whole was cleaned to remove the years of gunk and grime and carefully refinished.

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Woodward "the Automatic" New forend Wood

As the gun was nearly 140 years old at the time, I was concerned that had I tried to carry out any work on it myself, I may not have done it justice even though I consider that I am quite practical in woodwork etc. However, I am so glad that I chose James to carry out the work, not only to give the stock an absolute superb finish and totally enhance what underneath years of grime was a stunning piece of English walnut, but to make from scratch, a new fore-end, totally in keeping with the style of the gun and matching the stock.

Chris Skinner, Kent.

This old Woodward Automatic came to me for new forend wood and to give the gun a general clean up, the gun was somewhat less automatic as at some point the ejector mechanism had been lost from the forend iron. The whole gun was showing its age though was obviously once a high quality piece. My work on this gun involved refreshing the stock and making a new forend wood for the gun as at some point this seems to have gone missing or broken and was replaced with a very rough "home brew" job. The pictures below tell the story!

Restocking AYA No/ 4 16 Gauge

My client tasked me with making a new stock for this AYA No/4 in 16 Gauge, the gun was in fine condition other than the original stock which had shattered and been repaired through the wrist. My client was concerned for the longevity of the crudely repaired stock and with the original stock extended with a poorly fitted pad decided to have the gun restocked.

 

AYA boxlocks have proven to be solid and reliable guns and many are in circulation holding good value after having given years of hard service. Restocking the gun allowed my client to have an old favorite fitted to him and invest in a gun which will continue to give good service for many years to come.

 

It was an added reassurance to the owner that the gun received a quick service before being returned. The left hand sear spring was found to be somewhat weak, which was quickly sorted out, a weak sear spring could have lead to failures to cock the second barrel or even accidental discharge or double discharges.

Bespoke Over under stock

My client wanted to buck the trend to heavy cartridges and heavy guns and commissioned this 12 bore stock on an alloy bettnsoli action. The brief was simple, we wanted something classic but with a twist, the client didn't want your usual drop points but asked for some kind of double boarder, though it would take an artistic eye to see just how this would work and sit on the gun. Key to the brief was to achieve as light a gun as possible, which we managed coming in perfectly balanced and a shade under 6lbs. The new stock certainly has unique handling characteristics being somewhat lively but with light cartridges has proved itself on driven game this year.

A Quick refinish

This browning stock was looking a little tired, my client asked me to prepare the gun for sale, and a quick refinish brought things back up to standard.

A Checkering Challenge

If you are looking for high quality workmanship then look no further. I would highly recommend the Woodworking Gunsmith without any hesitation at all"

Paul Rickets - Competitive Clay shooter - Oxford.

The checkering job was bought to my by competitive clay shooter Paul Ricketts who had had his stock modified with an ergonomic palm swell, checkering over a palm swell has its challenges, the checkering would hide the applied palm swell. Paul chose his own patterns, boarder, and i advised him on various aspects of the job, which Paul requested be as fully documented as possible.

Customising a "Venom" Air Rifle Stock

My client tasked me with making a number of modifications to some "venom" air rifle stocks he had had duplicated from an original one aspects to one of the jobs was adding decorative grip and forend caps Partly to hide some issues with the duplication's; below is the result of an conversation i had with the client about purple heartwood, we both think it looks pretty unique!

Replacement Purdey Forend Iron and Wood

My client came to me with a James Purdey bar in wood hammer gun, the gun had suffered significant damage and losses throughout its working life. On arrival at the workshop it was quickly determined that the barrels would have to be sleeved in order for the gun to be safely used; this work would be sent out to a specialist. The stock was broken through as a result of an historic bending of the stock to alter to fit, the only choice was to snap the wrist through to achieve an effective repair. Its not often you put a Purdey in the vice in order to snap the stock! The stock was duely repaired, refinished and re checkered. One key loss was the lack of the forend iron, this early hammer gun had a remarkably simple forend iron, despite this it was no small task to machine and hand fit the iron to the original gun. The iron was then sent out for engraving and was case hardened here in the workshop. At this point the iron could be fitted to the wood, checkered and finished and at long last the gun could be sent off for sleeving and reproof.