Our Custom Work

In our portfolio you’ll find a selection of our work on various projects. Although it is by no means comprehensive, it presents some of our toughest projects along with the results. We are proud of our work and love to show it off! Hopefully we will add your project here soon. 


-1887 New Baker Shotgun

-Browning BAR Sport Rifle

-Weatherby .270

-Winchester Model 1400 MK II 

- Making a Winchester Model 94 work right and look right-Part 1

- Making a Winchester Model 94 work right and look right-Part 2

- Bad old Ruger to Good new Ruger

- Colt 1911 Deep Blueing and Hand Carved Mother of Pearl Grips

- Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. Tribute Shotgun

- Winchester 1892

- Marlin 336 30/30 repeating rifle

- Remington 1100 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun

- Springfield 16 gauge side by side double barrel   shotgun

- Essex 12 gauge side by side double barrel shotgun 

- 1895 Steyr Mannlicher Austro Hungarian rifle

- Marlin Golden 39A

- Ruger 10/22

- Winchester 12 gauge pump shotgun

- Glock 42 .280

- More cool stuff we do

1887 New Baker Shotgun

The Baker Gun and Forging Co. has been gone for a long time. But, for a brief time, this Batavia New York company produced some very fine shotguns. A client sent me his grandfather's "New Baker" to see if I could bring it back to its glory days.

This Shotgun was made in 1887. A lot can happen to a gun in 137 years. In this case it was missing the fore stock, the Butt plate, and more importantly, the hammers. I managed to find an original butt plate. I manged to find a forestock for a a later Baker that I modified to fit. But I had to get creative with the hammers. I found a set that fit an Ithaca shotgun of the same period, but the draw (distance to the firing pins) was too short. So, I brazed extensions to the hammers so that they would strike the pins. I engraved them to give them a little extra flare. I sanded and re-checked the forestock. Then I did the same to the stock. I had to fill in some missing areas, but after polishing, staining and oiling the wood, it all turned out nicely. I had to file the barrel to remove pitting, and then polish it. I then used a rust blueing technique on this fine old Damascus twist barrel. The result I present to you here. This is a completely restored, 137-year-old New Baker shotgun that is fully functional. I hope it has another 137 years to be admired for its craftsmanship and ingenuity.

(I strongly advise that anyone with a similar gun talk to a qualified gunsmith before you use a modern load. These barrels cannot withstand the gas pressure generated by modern shotgun loads and may very well rupture the barrel. Please use caution!)

Browning BAR Sport Rifle

The Browning BAR sport rifle is a classic design that was first introduced in 1968. A customer brought me a version of this awesome rifle that had belonged to his late father. He wanted to restore it to look like how he remembered it growing up. It had a lot of wear and tear over the years, so a lot of elbow grease was involved in this one!

I started by stripping what remained of the bluing and sanding and polishing the barrel and receiver. Then, I treated it to a hot bluing process to get a nice dark, shiny finish.

I pulled the dents out of the stock and forearm and then sanded both to a high grit. I polished them and then set to re-checkering the grips as they had virtually worn away over the years. A thorough cleaning followed, and this old beauty has a new lease on life. It's just as lethal for deer as it ever was but I suspect it will be hanging over a fireplace to admire. I think his dad would be proud. 




Original Flyer for the Browning BAR Sport Rifle circa 1968

Weatherby .270

We all make bad decisions with good intentions sometimes. I encountered such a decision recently when a customer brought me his Weatherby .270. He had decided that there is no such thing as too much camouflage and proceeded to wrap his beautiful rifle from the tip of the barrel to the butt pad in camouflage tape. The tape had been on there so long (about 40 years!) that it became brittle and the glue had fused to the wood. A big challenge here was to remove the old tape and glue while preserving the beautiful check work. Rust had formed under the tape on the barrel so a little pitting had to be dealt with as well.

I managed to remove the tape and revitalize the wood finish. I preserved the checking and touched up a few spots. After I dealt with the checking I used a technique to “spot blue” the barrel, instead of having to completely strip it. A good cleaning and polishing followed and this bad idea became nothing more than a bad memory as we brought a beautiful rifle back into service.



Winchester Model 1400 MK II 

This came to me in about as bad a shape as I’ve encountered. It wasn’t my customer’s fault, because it came to him in the same condition. Today however, he has one heck of a fine semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun.

I painstakingly removed the paint, and old finish from the wood and then sanded and stained it. I went over each individual checkering to bring the pattern back out. The fore end was split and rattling so I repaired the split and reinforced it. I added a rubber shim between the fore end and receiver to reduce the shock. I stripped everything down to the smallest screw and cleaned and greased or oiled thoroughly. I disassembled the trigger mechanism and bolt and cleaned them like new. I blued the bolt, but first I engraved it for a personal touch.

The barrel’s pitting was ground away and then polished smooth. I crowned the barrel ends and then hot blued it as well. Of course I thoroughly cleaned it out of all rust and dirt.

The receiver is aluminum, so once again I was faced with the choice of painting or polishing, as aluminum cannot be blued. It can be oxidized via a complex process, but I felt that was cost prohibitive and I was curious as to how the polished aluminum would look contrasted with the beautiful dark walnut wood. Before I set to polishing I did some engraving in order to give the gun its own personality. After polishing I decided that I made the right call. The action cycles smoothly and there are no rattles. This shotgun is well balanced. This was truly a case of the ugly duckling becoming a swan. Speaking of ducks…this shotgun may be claiming a few sometime soon.



Making a Winchester Model 94 work right and look right-Part 1

If a gun won’t work correctly, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is…it’s pretty much useless. That’s because a gun is a tool that is designed for a specific purpose. If it can’t fulfill that purpose, then its usefulness is gone. It’s like having a really good looking lawnmower…that won’t crank.

My most recent job involved restoring a family heirloom of a classic firearm, while also repairing a very tricky problem that was preventing it from functioning.

A customer brought me his granddad’s Winchester Model 94, chambered for 30/30. He complained that it wouldn’t feed cartridges correctly. When he went to function the lever, it would allow the following round in the tube to shoot up under the carrier, which jammed the gun’s function.

I studied on this for a few days and read everything on it I could find. It occurred to me that there are a lot of so called “experts” out there that are really only experts at being wrong.

Finally, after observing the function for the umpteenth time, I noticed that the little nub on the end of the Link was very worn. The Link is what the lever fits through and fits into the base of the receiver. That little nub is what holds the cartridge in the feed tube until the Carrier lifts it up and into the chamber to shoot. The nub holds the other rounds in place until it’s their turn. If that nub is worn, then the cartridges just slip right by and under the carrier, which has by then lifted up.

It turns out that this is a common problem, especially with Model 94’s that were produced post 1964. I believe the metal used for the link was poorer (less carbon content) and thus easy to wear. It’s not an easy fix either. Midwest Gun Works makes a replacement, for $63. (Don’t buy a “slightly used original somewhere else, because “slightly used” with this part means “won’t work!”)

I decided to try something they only recommend having a highly skilled gunsmith do. You can call it hubris, but I think it’s more of the challenge that motivates me. I filed a channel into the little nub and then welded a glob of metal onto it. I then sanded and filed it into the shape and height that would work. It was a lot of guessing, because I didn’t have a diagram, only old photos. I welded an excessive amount because it’s easier to remove material than add it. While I was in the “welding mood”, I reinforced a crack in an old weld in the carrier. I also reinforced the back of the spring cover (or “loading gate”), because use over the years had caused it to become weak and unable to pop back up into the cartridge loading slot. I cycled rounds through and I’m proud to say, we have a working rifle. This was my most intense and involved bit of smithing, and I’m actually very pleased with myself. I also saved my customer over $100 in parts and let him the original parts in use. Next up is the restoration of the rifle itself. Let’s hope I get just as lucky.

Making a Winchester Model 94 work right and look right-Part 2

After a successful, and very involved repair job, I set to restoring this old beauty. I removed the rust and what remained of the blueing and then set to grinding out any pitting. I polished the receiver, barrel and all parts and then blued them with my new method. Then, I steamed out the dents in the forestock and buttstock, sanded them, stained them, and applied 5 coats of oil over several days. along the way I cleaned every nook and cranny. The result is a Winchester Model 94 that looks like it did the day it was purchased. Oh, and it works just as well too.

Bad old Ruger to Good new Ruger

A customer brought me a Ruger P89 9mm that had seen better days. His uncle gave it to him on the condition that he could get it to work. Apparently , it had been left where rain leaked and had developed enough rust to make it impossible to function. I didn’t take “before” photos, because to be honest, I wasn’t sure there would be any point. It was THAT bad.

But…I have this problem with challenges. I tend to take them personally. So I set to work on bringing this great handgun back from the dead. I disassembled it down to the smallest spring. Then I used a wire brush dremel to clean everything. I applied Ostermayer’s gun grease to all the internal working including the slide rails and channels. I had to grind and sand the receiver (taking care not to remove the serial number), and then I polished it with the buffing wheel to a high gloss. Then, I blued everything that was metal.

The grip/receiver was a problem. It is aluminum, and thus cannot he blued. Of course, it won’t rust either, but this had been dropped and abused so that it had deep, ugly gouges in it.

What to do? You can paint aluminum, but it’s a bitch to do, and will rub off eventually. So, I decided to just file out the bad places and then polish the aluminum to a high shine. The area around the trigger well was ok, so I left it black. Once I reassembled everything, I have to admit, it looks really sharp. You won’t see another like it. Incidentally, my customer sent a photo of the finished gun to his uncle…and he wants it back, lol. Fat chance!

Colt 1911 Deep Blueing and Hand Carved Mother of Pearl Grips

Blueing a gun is probably the most uncontrollable, finicky process in gun restoration. It’s never simple. Guns react differently, and metal can have different properties in different areas of the same gun. It takes patience, skill and maybe even a little magic.

I have refined my techniques with each effort and learned more and more as I go. I’ve finally settled on a method that gives me a result that is very much like the old “charcoal blueing” that gunsmiths used in the past to such beautiful effect.

This is my personal Colt 1911. I’ve used my new method and I love the results. I’ve set it off by hand tooling a set of mother of pearl blanks into grips that I ground and polished to shine. I also customized my trigger. This is the 1911 I’ve always wanted. Let me know if you are interested in something like this for your own pistol.

Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. Tribute Shotgun

“Anybody that don’t like Hank Williams…”

I’ll let you guys finish the song.

I’ve realized that in order to really highlight skill, you have to do something extra ordinary in order to get people’s attention and interest. I studied on this for a while, and decided to really push myself. Below is the result, and I really hope you like it.

As a tribute to my home state, I decided to honor two of its most famous sons.

Hank Williams Sr, and Hank Williams Jr.

I hand carved the likeness of Hank and Hank Jr. into the stock of a Harrington and Richardson,Topper 148 ,16 gauge shotgun.

I carved “Family Tradition” in honor of one of Junior’s most famous songs and because of the music they made and continue to make. The reverse is a G clef musical note that is inlaid with mother of pearl. Surrounding it are the number 1 hits for each man (11 for Sr. and 10 for Jr.). The palm rest has Jr’s nickname (Bocephus) and Sr’s alternate (Luke the Drifter).

The forestock is a relief carving of Jr’s famous logo. Finally, I inserted a 1943 Liberty Coin into the butt, which is the year Hank Williams married Junior’s mother, Audrey.

Winchester 1892

The story of a gun can sometimes be as compelling as the biography of a famous person. And if you are willing to  follow up on a hunch and do a little reading, such a story can turn into a personal experience that can be very fulfilling. That’s what happened with my latest project.

A neighbor that I had done a little work for came to me with a 32 caliber lever action rifle that had an issue. The hammer wouldn’t stay back when he worked the bolt. I pulled it apart and inspected it. Then I did a little reading. I discovered the issue and corrected it, but that isn’t the real story.

You see, I had noticed the octagonal barrel and manufacturer name and realized that what I was holding was special. It was an original Winchester model 92. That is the model used by Chuck Connors in “The Rifleman” tv show and by John Wayne himself in several movies. It is an iconic firearm that was designed by a genius engineer for Oliver Winchester’s repeating firearms company.

“When asked by Winchester to design an improved lever action to compete with a recent Marlin offering, John Browning said he would have the prototype completed in under a month or it would be free. Within two weeks, Browning had a functioning prototype of the '92.”

Realizing I was holding such a classic I asked my customer if he would be interested in having me restore it. He said, “I doubt it’s worth what it would cost me to re-blue it.” I told him, to let me do a little digging and get back to him and he agreed. I went to Winchester’s record of serial numbers and looked up the number on my friends rifle.

Winchester made 1,007,608 model 92’s between 1892 and the end of World War 2. Anything after that is not an original Winchester. The serial number on the rifle I was holding was 5,502. That meant it was made in the first year of manufacture, 1892. It is 131 years old. It is a very low serial number from the first year of manufacture. I informed my friend that indeed it was worth FAR more than the cost of re blueing it. A heck of a lot more. He said, “do it.” And I did.

I ground and polished the barrel and receiver. Then I rust blued it. I cleaned and repaired it by replacing the ejector collar and the cartridge stop spring with original parts. Then I stripped, sanded, stained, hand oiled (with 5 coats) and waxed the fore-stock and buttstock. The result is a fully functional and beautiful 131 year old masterpiece of engineering that was designed by a legend. I doubt my friend will ever sell it, but if he wanted to, he would definitely cover his investment many MANY times over. Either way, I got to be part of the story and stories are sometimes just as valuable. They certainly last longer.



Remington 742 Woodsmaster Fore Stock and Buttstock

As fulfilling as it is to create something unique, I also take a lot of pleasure in restoring something back to the way it looked the day it was bought. If only I could do that to myself!

Below is the fore stock to a Remington 742 Woodsmaster. This came from a rifle that belonged to a customer’s father. The customer mailed this to me and asked me to restore it. In the before pictures you can see the usual dents and how the basket weave pattern has smoothed after years of handling. The cap had delaminated.

I stripped the finish and drew out the dents. Then I detailed each basket weave to bring out the definition. I stained it and gave it 5 coats of tru-oil. I polished the white spacer and the end cap and refinished them. After a couple of other special touches this was ready to be reattached to a family heirloom that will be around for years to come.



Smith and Wesson Model 3 "Schofield" revolver

My latest project was the first classic pistol that I’ve worked on. The Smith & Wesson Model 3 Schofield revolver was a classic firearm produced between 1870 and 1915. A true “cowboy” gun, the model 3 was what Wyatt Earp used in the gunfight at the OK Corral. Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid and President Theodore Roosevelt also carried the “Schofield”. I was asked to work on a beautiful modern version made by Uberti.

My customer wanted new grips, and some engraving in order to make his gun truly unique. He also wanted me to see if I could make the grip longer to accommodate his big hands. I studied in this for a while until I found my solution. I extended the grip by adding a spacer that I attached to the grip and form fitted it to the metal handle frame. 

I made the grip out of mahogany that I cut to fit the frame. I added relief carvings on both sides, and inlaid the top and bottom with beaten, polished brass. After sanding, I oiled the wood and polished it to a smooth shiny finish.

For the gun engraving, I engraved patterns on both sides of the receiver including a Navajo eagle (or Hawk). I did a unique engraving for each of the six cylinders. I then re-blued the areas I worked on to match the original finish. I’m really pleased with the result. I think ol’ Wyatt Earp himself might of liked it too



Marlin 336 30/30 repeating rifle

On a couple of occasions I have been asked to work on firearms that are not merely antiques but hold a special, emotional attachment to someone. This is of course an honor, and the responsibility humbles me deeply. As you can imagine, it can also be intimidating as I am forever altering something that is irreplaceable. I am relieved to say that my latest effort made the person who had faith in me very happy.

The project was a Marlin model 336 rifle chambered for 30/30. It belonged to the deceased father of an acquaintance who wanted something special done in commemoration of his dad. My only instructions were to include the family name somehow and a hawk. How to represent this was left to my discretion. The rifle had no decorative features and had suffered from the years. It was rusty, with pitting on the barrel and chips and gouges in the stock and fore grip. 

I spent a few days studying it and set upon a relief carving for the wood and an engraving for the receiver. I broke the rifle down completely and cleaned everything, assuring functionality. Then I proceeded to carve a hawk in flight with a banner over its head with the family name. I then carved relief patterns on both sides of the fore grip. Once finished I stained, sanded and oiled the wood. Then I sanded and filed the receiver and barrel, finishing by polishing it with various grits. I engraved a pattern on the flat surface of the receiver opposite the loading port. Finally I re-blued all the metal and reassembled the rifle. I already have another project for this customer and I can only hope it is as successful as this one was. 

Remington 1100 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun

Everyone has a gun that is special to them for a variety of reasons. For me this is that gun. This belonged to my grandfather who passed away several years ago. He bought it new, and did a lot of quail and dove shooting with it. It was his favorite, and he left it to me. He was special to me, so this gun is like carrying around a part of him. I decided to honor it by doing a full restore and customization project. After breaking it down and thoroughly cleaning it as well as repairing the safety, I started on the wood. 

For the stock and foregrip I sanded them down to 2,000 grit. I did a flower flourish relief carving on the right side. I then re-lined and re-checked the palm rests and the foregrip. I added a personal engraving on the foregrip of my grandfathers initials and his nickname "Pop". Then I went over the original receiver engraving as it had worn significantly. I sanded and cleaned the white inserts for the butt plate and pommel. The white diamond on the pommel had fallen out at some point so I fabricated a piece and replaced it. I cleaned and re-grooved the butt plate after deciding not to replace it. I sanded, filed and polished the barrel and receiver and re-blued it to a rich dark blue. I opted to leave the aluminum trigger housing with it's "nickel" finish after thoroughly polishing it. Later on I cam back and added mother of pearl to the stock relief. The result is something that I know my grandpa would be proud of as I am quite proud of it myself. 

Springfield 16 gauge side by side double barrel shotgun

This shotgun was a family heirloom that had seen better days. The owner decided to go all out and asked for a full restoration, repair and customization. 

We broke this shotgun down and repaired or replaced any worn parts such as a worn sear, and then started on the metal. We stripped, sanded and filed the barrel and receiver and then polished it to a glass finish. Then we rust browned it to a beautiful plum brown. We also added a watermark etching of a mallard that only the owner would know to look for in the event it was ever stolen and recovered. 

After sanding down the stock and foregrip, we did a relief carving scene of ducks in flight with flourishes on one side. On the other side we added a fish scale relief and and a unique inlay of the Alabama state flag using mother of pearl and beaten, polished copper for the St. Andrew's cross. For the palm rests we reformed them with mother of pearl which we ringed with beaten, polished brass. Along the top of the stock we added a ridged pattern. For the foregrip we engraved a ridge and flourish pattern. We finished by sanding the wood down to 2000 grit, staining walnut and then hand applying 8 coats of tru-oil. This was all hand waxed and buffed. Finally, we restored the butt plate and added a polished brass spacer. The result was a unique masterpiece and a slack-jawed, satisfied customer!

Essex 12 gauge side by side double barrel shotgun 

Essex shotguns were pretty common 80 years ago, and retailed for around $12 in the Sears Roebuck catalog. A customer found one at auction and brought it home intending it as a gift for his grandad. Unfortunately, it was in rough shape. He had us take a look at it, asking us to do what we could and add any touches that would make it special.

After breaking it down we noticed right away that the stock was cracked so badly that it was held together only by the screws. This  meant that serious magic was required! We repaired the stock with steel posts and elbow grease. We sanded, stained and oil rubbed it to a beautiful finish, bringing out its original luster. We did the same to the foregrip. To personalize it all, we added custom engraving to the foregrip and inlayed it with mother of pearl. We then customized the palm rest and the pommel with mother of pearl as well. We reinforced the joining screw with a strip of beaten, polished copper. The metal required  a lot of cleaning, sanding and filing. We repaired worn parts with originals and then re-blued the barrel to a rich deep blue. The result was unrecognizable to the owner and his grandad proudly put it over his mantle immediately upon receiving it. 


On the Bench...


1895 Steyr Mannlicher Austro Hungarian rifle

This piece of history came to us demonstrating the effects that over a hundred years can have on a firearm. We broke the rifle down and cleaned it, repairing anything that was an issue such as the bolt. Then we sanded, shaped and finished the stock to bring it back to it's original condition. We sanded the barrel and receiver to remove pitting or burrs. We finished by re-blueing the metal and then reassembling it. It was humbling to consider that this rifle was a participant in the "War to end all Wars" in which my own Great Grandfather was a participant as a soldier in General John "Black Jack" Pershing's US. Expeditionary Force. 



Marlin Golden 39A

The Marlin Golden 39A is a timeless classic. This lever action, tube fed, beauty was chambered for .22LR. It was presented to us as a repair, restore and customize project. The owner wanted the rifle restored to its original glory in both appearance and function. He also wanted special touches added that would mean even more as the rifle passes down through the family. We repaired a few broken mechanisms and ordered a few original parts that had gone missing over the years. First off, we deep cleaned everything to get rid of years of built up grease, oil and dirt. We sanded, stained and oil rubbed the original walnut stock to bring out the beauty of its grain. We then added a custom engraving of the family name. We then turned to the barrel and receiver, which required sanding and shaping to remove pitting. We added a custom engraving to the receiver and then "rust browned" the metal to a rich plum brown finish. After test firing and cleaning it again, we delivered it to a very happy customer. 

Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is another one of those classic rifles that develop a loyal following. Initially the owner wanted us to re-work the wood with a new finish and stain and to personalize it with a name engraving. Additionally we added a silver dollar embedded into a mahogany ring. The customer was so pleased with the results he decided that je wanted to customize and modify the rifle into a true marksman rifle that they could drive nails with.

We started by sanding, staining and oil rubbing the stock. We specialized the stock by inlaying a Silver Dollar within a ring of mahogany. On the reverse we engraved the owner's name. After initial reassembly with the original barrel and trigger housing for testing, we went to work modifying it to a true shooter. 

We added a Ruger BX- trigger that was set for a 3lb. trigger break. An custom machined aluminum quick release magazine lever was added to the trigger housing.  We glass-lined the barrel bedding and added an aluminum pillar. Next came a stainless, threaded 28 inch match bull barrel with a 1:16 twist which we "floated". We attached an owner supplied scope which we bore sighted. Finally, a tripod completed the project. After test firing we returned this rifle to another satisfied customer. 

After the first Customization

After the Marksman Performance Modification

Winchester 12 gauge pump shotgun

A young man came to us with a modern Winchester 12 gauge pump that he wanted to personalize. He asked for an engraving of a wolf on the stock and a name engraving. This was our first wolf, and it turned out great. In addition to the engravings, we sanded off the factory finish and did our thing by staining and oil rubbing the stock so that he walked away with a truly one of a kind. He was howling with delight (Groan! Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

Glock 42 .280

For this project we had a customer complaining about the stiff trigger break on his Glock 42. We tested it and our trigger pull gauge showed a break in excess of 10 lbs! We ordered the "Ghost Spring Kit" from one of the best sources for Glock parts, Ghost Inc. We replaced the original striker spring with a reduced power 4 lb. spring from the Ghost kit. We also replaced the factory safety spring with a reduced power version from the kit. Before reassembling we did a THOROUGH cleaning of the gun and lubricated it. We punched the barrel and applied solvent to remove copper and lead deposits. We also repaired dings and gouges in the housing and touched up scratches on the receiver. After re-assembly, the trigger pull was just over 6 lbs. As the springs break in with use, he will probably end up with about a 5 lb. break. That's a 50% improvement! The customer was pleased considering he now has what is essentially a brand new Glock. 

More cool stuff we do

Here are a few side projects that we have worked on that may or may not be directly firearm related. We also make custom knives and we will be showcasing some of them here soon. 

Hand engraved walking/swinging stick made from a Hickory axe handle

Hand made and engraved Hickory walking stick. The stick was infused with resin to make it virtually unbreakable

Restored Colt 1911 .45 Caliber and hand made custom holster (K&S owner's personal sidearm)

Hand made Knife with Deer antler handle

Hand cut, stained, oil rubbed and engraved Fraternity Paddles

European style Deer Mount with Base made of Driftwood