Hershel House is an incredible individual. Over the years he has been a driving force in the revival of the lost arts of old time gun making, blacksmithing and corn meal production. He work is known world wide. The pieces he produces look as though they originated in another time. Shooters all swear by the accuracy of a Hershel gun. Collectors eagerly seek out any available piece. His knives are seen everywhere. When Hershel arrives at a show he is immediately surrounded by a crowd. Everyone wants to speak with him. Visits to his home are like a trip back in time. His encouragement and sharing with other builders is legendary. I have taken great pleasure in collecting and shooting some wonderful pieces from his shop. Over the years Jan and I have enjoyed all our visits with Hershel and his daughter Jana Lee. Hershel is truly a treasure. Art Riser Contemporary Makers
Quote by Art Riser for the article in Muzzleloader on Hershel that was not used. Photographs at Hershel's in October 2002 by Jan Riser.
The jar lost most of its glaze and suffered other damage after years of exposure to the elements on a farm in Greene County, Georgia. Such jars may have been wagoned and sold to east Georgia plantations soon after they were made.
"The fourth of July is Surely come
to blow the fife and beat the drum."
Photographed at the Atlanta History Center by Jan Riser.
Building the Daniel Boone Rifle featuring Mike Miller
Noted gunbuilder Mike Miller from Edmonton, Kentucky uses his vast knowledge of American firearms to recreate a likely possibility of what must be very similar to what Daniel Boone would have carried: a brass-mounted, maple-stocked, long-barreled flintlock rifle with a wooden patchbox, featuring bold architecture that was prevalent prior to the Revolutionary War.
Mike demonstrates his techniques to teach how to build this traditional flintlock rifle. Starting with a curly maple stock blank, a long tapered and flared octagon barrel, a lock and some brass castings, Mike demonstrates in detail how you too can build a fine flintlock rifle that would have been common on the frontier among longhunters and early settlers.
This four disc DVD set is 5 hours and 20 minutes of detailed instruction taped in HD on location at Mike Miller's shop.
When it comes to sheer versatility in the field, few period firearms can compare to the smoothbore fowler. Capable of taking a wide spectrum of wild game, fowlers saw extensive use in early America as humble meat guns. But in a very real sense, the weapon helped shape the United States. During the early days of the Revolutionary War, New England militia units regularly took to the field armed with smoothbore fowlers, employing them in the epic fights for liberty at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill.
For this year’s CLF fundraising auction, artist and gun builder James Frost has created an exceptional example of the classic New England fowler. The gun, explains Frost, combines French and English stylistic features and is a typical fowler from the middle to the third quarter of the 18th century. This gun started its life as a kit from Jim Chambers Flintlocks, and demonstrates that top quality materials, paired with an individual maker’s unique creative talents, can result in a first-rate example of fine craftsmanship.
Frost constructed this gun around a 10 gauge, 46 inch long, octagon-to-round barrel. The barrel is married to a remarkably patterned stock of curly maple, and the artist finished the wood with a combination of alcohol-based stains and a hand rubbed finish of English red oil. The fowler features brass furniture; the barrel, as well as the Chambers lock, were given a cold rust brown finish.
The fowler is accompanied by a stellar powder horn by artist Mike Small. This robust 18” horn is well-paired with Frost’s 10 gauge fowler. Featuring a gracefully turned cherry base plug 3” in diamenter, and hickory stopper, the horn was aged with natural vegetable dyes. Patterned after horns typical of original examples from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, this screw tip horn is an exactingly crafted masterpiece.
For more information on the work of the artists, contact them directly:
When Robert Weil started collecting images for the Contemporary Makers book in 1973 the challenge to record contemporary gun work was daunting. Gathering material was difficult and time consuming. Few makers thought that there was any value in published documentation of their work. Electronic publishing has changed all that. Having a website or having one's work available to view on the internet is becoming a necessity. In spite of all the potential to finally have a true overview of what's being produced by the artists of today, a great deal of work still remains covered up and basically unknown. Our role is to make an effort to document some portion of what’s going on today. To comment on the established makers and to uncover the unknown. We welcome your comments and suggestions and look to you our readers to make us aware of the talented makers out there. Art and Jan Riser Robert Weil and The Makers