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  • Writer's pictureJames Reynolds Gunsmith

A fresh start.

Well hasn't time flown, to the shock of nobody from my cavalier attitude in the first post, blog posts clearly didn't feature much as being important last year, I may yet make good on this blog but I shall not hold my breath, the new workshop allows for a small amount of dedicated office space and I hope this might make posting here more convenient and therefor a more regular occurrence. Recent times however make me feel its more important than ever to make my presence known, and share with my clients more of what has been going on.

I remember happier times in early 2020, work seemed endless and wondering what the murmurings of Corona virus would bring with them. I expect if any of us had sat in the pub and prophesised that most of the countries work force would be sent home and a tory government would prop the country up and pay everyone a wage you would have been thought insane.

I was fortunate at the outbreak that my order books for larger jobs was fairly well booked up, my work carried me through the first lockdowns, several restocking jobs as well as some restoration and customisation work though through this time the workshop lacked the in and out repairs and alterations that helps make up an important part of my cash flow. Alas things have gone quiet, many customers were unable to bring jobs to me due to the lockdowns and older clients continued to be comfortable traveling even once the lockdowns had lifted, the game season never really got going and clay shooting opportunities were fleeting.

Working up to October 2020, I completed and returned several jobs working awkwardly around various restrictions, closures and lockdowns, still now supplies of parts and sundry's have become slightly sketchy though businesses seem to adjusted somewhat to the "new normal"; goodness how I hoped that phrase would have a much more limited lifespan.

November saw me taking some time off enquires being well down and the workshop being empty for the first time since I opened the new workshop it was nice to take a breather, I rather felt at the time that I needed it though regretfully I think we all look back on time off and wonder exactly what it is we achieved, and its a question I'm unable to satisfactorily answer. The new workshop site was at this stage in development but not yet ready for me to begin any work.

As building work was able to carry on I began in earnest in December to build the new workshop. The new workshop is situated at Thimbleby shooting ground, though I will remain an independent business from the clay ground itself, the process of building the new site was a welcome distraction, though initially supply of timber and insulation delayed my making any real progress till the new year ( thanks JT Atkinsons; you were thoroughly hopeless). Eventually there came a day in late February that should of seen coming, I was stood staring at my empty old workshop which was a site that filled me with a wholly unexpected sadness.

The old workshop never quite presented the professional image I might have wanted to, but it was honest and it was my place of work for nearly four years, there are certain aspects of working within a workshop i don't think you can ever satisfactorily explain to anyone who doesn't. The day in the workshop becomes a sort of dance and over time if finds its own flow and rhythm, tools are moved from A to B and B to C and eventually find their permanent home at H or some other place you never thought to be convenient and its these little adjustments and movements around the workshop which increase the tempo of the workshop dance, to carry on the weird metaphors, the workshop begins to fit like a glove, and the day passes hopping from lathe to mill, from mill to vice and the hours ebb away.

With the new workshop nearing completion I'm pleased with how I have made use of the new space, I just hope it lives up to the old workshop, and I look forward to everything finding its place as I navigate around this new workshop and new work.

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