I was born in North Carolina at Fort Bragg Army Base in 1956 but spent most of my years growing up in Richmond, Virginia. I became interested in muzzle loading guns in 1972 while still in high school. I made my first rifle in the school shop class. This was when you could still take guns to school and not be expelled! I would sometimes skip school or on weekends, drive to Colonial Williamsburg. I would bribe the master in the Gunshop, Wallace Gusler, with Moon Pies and Dr. Peppers to let me sit and watch them make guns and critic my work. Then in 1988 the master then, Gary Brumfield, asked if I would like a summer job interpreting in the shop. I of course jumped on it. That fall a position opened at the Anderson Forge in Colonial Williamsburg and I transferred there for 2½ years working under Peter Ross and Ken Schwarz. I am grateful for my time with Peter and Ken as I was able to learn more about blacksmithing there than I could have ever learned at the Gunshop. Those skills carried over to the Gunshop where I ended up doing most of the hammer work which further increased my skills. An apprenticeship then came open at the Gunshop so I transferred back in 1991. I received my Journeyman's papers from the Gunshop in December 1995.
In 2006 I made my 300th gun which was an engagement present (2 years late) for my wife Debbie. To see pictures of her gun, click here.
Along with the gun making came an interest in pouches, horns and other accessories. I have actually been doing leather work longer than I have been building guns. I worked for several leather companies making belts, wallets and other small items that were sold in their retail stores.
I am a charter member and past Guild Master of the Honorable Company of Horners as well as a member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association, the Kentucky Rifle Association, the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association.
One of my personal highlights was to become friends with and build a gun for the actor Wes Studi. Wes is best known for his role as Magua in Last of the Mohicans and as Geronimo in the film by the same name. He has also done many other roles on film and screen including Streets of Laredo, Dances with Wolves, Heat and Deep Rising. I met him while he was in Williamsburg filming for The New World a film about the founding of Jamestown. My wife and I had a few drinks with Wes one night and found out that he had free time on the weekends. We offered to take him out to shoot my guns one day and he accepted. I found out that Wes is a fine shot with most any gun. He later talked about getting a gun made for him. Of course he wanted a Trade gun. To see pictures of his gun, click here.
Another highlight was to be commissioned by Linda Bruckheimer to produce a silver and gold mounted rifle for her husband Jerry Bruckheimer as a Christmas gift in 2009. Jerry Bruckheimer is a movie producer known for films such as the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "The Rock", "Top Gun", "The Prince of Persia" and "The Lone Ranger" as well as dozens more. He is also known for his television shows such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation", "CSI: Miami", "CSI: NY", "Cold Case", "Without a Trace" and "Hill Street Blues" to name only a few. To see pictures of his gun, click here.
In January 2009, due to cutbacks at Colonial Williamsburg, my position there was eliminated so I went to work at home full time. What you see on this website is a result of that. Kind of sucks when a nice hobby becomes a job. I now work 7 days a week, 12-14 hours a day to keep up with it all. Good thing I enjoy it. I'll never be wealthy making guns for a living, but as they say "I'm keeping my head above water." Well, maybe not, I recently had to buy a snorkel.....
Thanks for checking me out.
(Unless you are from the IRS or BATF.)