Muzzle Loader Gun Stock Carving

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Project by Justin Gordon posted 11-14-2014 01:16 AM 8289 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a 54 caliber muzzle loader that was built by a nice gun maker some years ago that my buddy owns. The original finish was very dark and you could barely see a tiger maple pattern in the wood grain. My friend wanted to lighten the finish so the grain showed through like other classic period rifles. At the same time I was looking for a rifle to carve for a show piece at gun shows for marketing my gun stock carving. My friend let me carve into his while it was apart anyway in exchnage for letting me take it to gun shows for a portfolio marketing piece. This work took over a week and since it was a freebee, I didn’t have to worry about my lousy quoting. But its shallow relief is probably no deeper than 3/32 at its deepest. The cheek side pattern and top pattern at the butt of the barrel were copied from a magazine and the beautiful work of Jim Kibler. The owner liked his designs. The design on the opposite side was my own design to match a patchbox design the owner saw that I transformed into a relief pattern. I gave him a few designs to choose from and this was his choice. I think I should have made my design a little more lacey or less thick in details to match the cheek side a bit better with its light and airy look. But it still looks nice. The hardest part again was the dang sanding. I hate sanding. Getting in all those little knooks and crannies was a bitch. I had to make a bunch of tiny sanding tools to do it right.

This rifle also won a blue ribbon in a New England Wood Carving competition. It’s one of the nicest black powder rifles I’ve seen or held and I’ve brought it to a hndfull of gun shows to show it off. It’s not heavy and is real comfortable to hold and aim. The owner is going to let me shoot it one of these days when he’s at the club range. Can’t wait.

Now the guy I did the Mossin Naggant rifle for (seen in my projects) wants me to carve his 50 caliber Hawking rifle to be as he says: “Just this side of gaudy”. That’s a pile of carving to do. But the Hawkin rifle is a classic and designs like these above would make a Hawking rifle look great. I can’t wait to start it. Now I just have to figure out where “this side of gaudy” is.

-- [email protected]

11 comments so far

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2028 days

#1 posted 11-14-2014 02:14 AM

I am proud to be a woodworker, but, I often dream of being an artist like you.

Beautiful work, as always.

-- Brad, Texas,

View hunter71's profile


3477 posts in 3791 days

#2 posted 11-14-2014 02:46 AM

Very nice.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View UncleStumpy's profile


741 posts in 2917 days

#3 posted 11-14-2014 02:49 AM

I’m with timbertailor. I consider myself a pretty dang good woodworker and my wife and some friends even say I’m an artist. But YOU my friend are an artist. It gives me goosebumps looking at your work and imagining what it would be like to be able to do that. Nothing more needs to be said….............

-- "They don't want it perfect - they want it SPECIAL"

View Justin Gordon's profile

Justin Gordon

47 posts in 2262 days

#4 posted 11-14-2014 03:10 AM

Thanks guys. But don’t get all “artsy” on me. It’s just another day at the office. Anyone can do this stuff with the right tools and time. It’s just tools and time.

-- [email protected]

View summerfi's profile


4356 posts in 2291 days

#5 posted 11-14-2014 03:18 AM

Exemplary work. Thanks for sharing.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2744 days

#6 posted 11-14-2014 02:03 PM

Man, that’s pretty. Makes all my rifle buttstocks look terribly plain. Wish I knew how to do that (and had the time!).


View Jim's profile


150 posts in 3894 days

#7 posted 11-14-2014 03:06 PM

I like that the finish is lighter to show the beautiful wood.
I am impressed with the carving, wish I had that talent.

What finish did you use on the stock?

Thank you for sharing.


View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4189 days

#8 posted 11-14-2014 06:51 PM

Makes me sick ( you Yankees are so darned talented )LOL really this is beautiful work even though I am against guns,sorry I really have no time for them generally . This is truly a hansome handsome piece of dedicated workmanship am I Jealous or what ? lol Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View hoss12992's profile


4166 posts in 2497 days

#9 posted 11-14-2014 11:00 PM

That is absolutely awesome. Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18783 posts in 4280 days

#10 posted 11-16-2014 04:21 AM

Very nice carving. The carving on originals was very shallow also. Most carvers work for photographs and assume it was deeper.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Don W's profile

Don W

19424 posts in 3172 days

#11 posted 11-16-2014 01:28 PM

Excellent work. A very nice to unique piece.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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