Annual gunsmithing seminar provides ‘unique opportunity’ for participants
|Date: Thursday, June 7th, 2012||Return to Archive|
Perry Price is a former opera singer from Connecticut. Kim Lawler is an oral surgeon from Hawaii. Christina Carlson is a silversmith for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
All three share a common interest – learning more about the art and craft of making the American longrifle.
They were among more than 60 people who’ve been in Bowling Green for the past week as part of the 31st annual NMLRA Gunsmithing Workshop and Seminar, hosted by WKU’s Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences.
“This is a unique opportunity,” said Walt Framski of Connecticut. “We get to see old rifles, we get to reproduce old rifles and we get to handle them which you don’t get to see in museums.”
Framski was among the participants in a workshop taught by Wallace Gusler, the “Gunsmith of Williamsburg” who established the Colonial Williamsburg gunsmith shop in 1963 and helped start the WKU event with Dr. Terry Leeper in 1981.
“There were other people in muzzle loading,” Gusler said of the late 1950s and early 1960s period, “but Colonial Williamsburg was the place where forging of barrels was rediscovered and somewhat reinvented, making rifles by hand.”
“The American long rifle is a unique weapon,” Framski said. “It’s what helped build a nation. No place else in the world you can get this kind of experience.”
In the past 31 years, hundreds of gunmakers have gotten that experience at the workshop and seminar offered at WKU.
“We have an exceptional instructional team that has made the seminar a tremendous success,” Dr. Leeper said.
When Beverly Decman of Illinois attended her first seminar at WKU in 1991, she wanted to learn more about the craft of metal engraving. “I never thought I could build a gun,” she said.
Now 21 years later, Decman is working on her sixth gun and has participated in several classes offered each year. “I got hooked. It was so fun,” she said.
The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association Gunsmithing Workshop and Seminar continues to attract new and longtime participants.
“I like the craftsmanship and I like the old technology and learning how things were done,” said Framski, who has attended the seminar for about a dozen years. “I like the look and feel of them when they’re finished.”
Price, who sang opera in Europe for about 30 years, was among the participants in the “Finish What You Started” class taught by Bob Elka and Joe Valentin.
“I inherited a few antique firearms as a young man from my grandfather and that whetted my whistle about antique firearms and I’ve become an enthusiastic collector,” Price said.
Price was working on a German Jaeger rifle that he started about four years ago at the WKU seminar. “This is a very unique program,” he said. “The best thing from the learning standpoint is the hands-on of the professors. We’re learning how to do it. We’re shown how to do it.”
Lawler, who traveled from Honolulu to WKU, also was working to finish a project. “I started this rifle in 2001 at a workshop in Indiana,” he said. “The title of this course is ‘Finish What You Started’ so 11 years later I’m trying to finish what I started.”
Carlson, who works at Colonial Williamsburg, attended the seminar for the first time to learn 18th century engraving techniques, which will assist in the educational mission of her job.
“Hopefully I’m going to be able to take this back and be able to keep practicing this skill and I’ll apply it to pieces that we make at Colonial Williamsburg,” she said.
Contact: Terry Leeper, (270) 745-5954.
- All Categories
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
Continue using your current permit until 8/15/14.
July 29th - Aug 4th