"Eric Kettenburg Allentown Arsenal rifle detail"
A very good point. Clearly the truth. The 18th century generation certainly had it's attraction to its past, but not in the way ours may. One could argue there may have been groups (probably actors) who got together and attempted to recreate knights in shining armor or biblical scenes. Not much rust on armor so this lets out the lust for patina here, ha ha, but ahhh to look very old like Moses or St. Peter, now this might have had appeal. Our groups of reenactors attempt to create the past as though it were here and now so there is not much point in having accouterments which look 200 years old. So What's the point? What has this got to do with aging long rifles to look like antiques? Nothing. That is the point. Adding Age to new guns is something entirely separate from making them. It is art all by itself and because it is a pure and imaginative activity may be the reason most gunsmiths do not find it interesting or challenging. It's like writing fiction. It implies a past where there is none before. It requires a special talent and a willingness to add a whole new layer of imagination and experimentation to an already successful conclusion. It involves taking chances, removing definition and changing (some would say destroying) layers of work. The only thing artificial aging has in common with building a gun is it is both an additive and subtractive process. It is an activity which uses none of the ordered steps involved in the making of a rifle. There is really nothing to hold on to... except perhaps curiosity, no real reference points. There is also the worry that ones work may be accepted by some as actual antiques! For shooters this aged look may have little appeal, for collectors it seems to have great appeal. Imagine an antique gun show where every piece was in brand new condition.
Copy and photo by Robert Weil.