The well-used quote written above isn’t just a frilly phrase for the romantic of heart. I have yet to see a genuine gun aficionado not truly appreciate the synergy between custom finished wood positioned aside attractive metal in popular firearms. This is most superbly brought together in the form of hand-rubbed wood bordering a well-finished receiver/barrel assembly. The combination of craftsmanship, artistry, and charm brings us gunners, well, joy— “a thing of beauty”, don’t you think?
Around age twelve or so, I well remember my first experience with gunstock refinishing applied to the stock of my first ever firearm — a single shot Marlin .22- S, L, LR with a black pull-back cocking bolt and its shiny bolt handle! My dad had bought me that old gun at a weekend flea market.
And the lifelong bond was established.
Every smell of Hoppe’s 9 today so vividly recreates newspapers strewn on my bedroom floor, along with saturated patches whose smell drove my mom nuts! My .22 and I had a bond most of you reading this well understand— an affectionate alliance we’ve carried a lifetime.
The wood wasn’t pretty on my Marlin. A nicked, scratched, glossy finish spurred me on to undertake gunstock refinishing which, to me at the time, meant I was about to be a ‘custom’ gunstock maker! I’d read about gunstock finishes, wood, oil, stains, finishes, in Sports Afield— at the time, the most wonderful magazine in the world. Creating a new gunstock finish was an entrée into a whole new relationship with this wood and metal combination to which I was so attracted. And it remains to this day…
Although I’m sure the completed refinishing wasn’t impressive, that initial experience provided the impetus for a lifetime of woodworking, especially refinishing, that spread into furniture, interior decorating, and, today, the development of advanced gunstock woodworking for others.
Having taken retirement, my fun-focus now is gunstock refinishing, writing, photography, and participation in the shooting sports, especially Conventional Bullseye Pistol (now called Precision Pistol), and competition rimfire rifle and air gun when the opportunity arises. Trap, too, is now on the horizon. An NRA member for more years than I can remember, and being a competitive member in my local gun club not only keeps my hand busy but keeps me on the edge of active 2nd Amendment support.
In closing, many of you reading this are likely middle-aged (maybe “and then some” like me), and still enjoy as much an emotional affinity to owning firearms as shooting them. It seems this perpetual attraction somehow is a lifelong connection to an earlier day, one reminiscent of years as a lad enjoying country living and the kind of intimate companionship a first-firearm brings, both afield and in pursuit of the elusive 10-ring. Such experiences, thankfully, have endured a lifetime and buffer the mixed requirements, rigors, and difficulties of adulthood.
All told, our firearms hold multi-faceted personal value, some of which is treasured. If you have one you’d especially like to favor by rejuvenating the warmth of its wood, do contact me to get started. Wood’s inherent beauty, enhanced by quality finishing, brings satisfying warmth to the eye and, maybe, more importantly to the soul.
You’ll have my best work. My continual endeavor is to follow the biblical admonition: