I discovered your blog some years ago, and I regularly check it, enjoying reading the new posts. I’m a young (26) French historian of technologies. I’m really interested in pre-industrial skills and crafts. I have been introduced to gunsmithing and 18th/early 19th century craftsmanship through my history studies in Canada. In 2008, I spent a year there studying history of the fur trade and of the Aboriginal People at the University of Manitoba. I specifically studied the impact on Aboriginal People of the introduction of the Northwest Trade Gun into their tribes. Along with my studies, I looked carefully at the skills needed to survive into the wilderness and especially the one needed to make and use traditionnal hunting and trapping gears. I came back to France with some of these skills and the need to experiment by myself new ones.
I started working wood, horn and leather in the old way to create my own pieces. As I didn’t have the tools for working metals and as creating weapons and parts are not as easy as it is in your country I decided to work exclusively by replacing metal by wood. So I started creating wooden replicas of weapons, trying to keep as close as possible to the original models (shape and mechanism for some of them).
I started with a mid XIXth century pocket pistol and then went on with a 1851 Navy Colt. After these few successes, I decided to start working on a complete longhunter (inspired) hunting gear. I started by the hunting pouch, the horn and the accessories. I based my designs on today’s reenacting sources and historical sources.
I now plan to build an wooden English fowler based on an antic long gun stock I bought few years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t have the proper workshop I need to meet the quality I want. I would probably have to postpone this project a little bit.
My latest creation is a personal design of a boxed underhammer handgun and its accessories. I started this project from a discarded pair of brass piano pedals.
I just want to share my experience and my work with other people interested in the same fields.
Copy and photos supplied by Geoffroy Levy.