Gun stocks come in all kinds of natural and composite material, but a nicely designed and beautifully finished wood gun stock has its own special aura of looks and use.
For Larry Schuknecht on Salt Road in Clarence, that aura has been a lifelong and family involvement. For more than 30 years Schuknecht has been involved in designing and carving wooden gun stocks at his Dutchman Woodworks shop. “But I’ve been tinkering with guns all my life,” he said this past week while displaying a few of his many finished creations.
He added, “My great grandfathers on both sides of my family were carpenters and builders, and I grew up around and with wood-working tools; at the age of 21 I inherited my great-grandfather’s old sawmill, which I operated for quite a few years.”
Internationally, he is a charter member of the German Gun Collectors Association and has memberships in the Parker Gun Collectors Association and the L. C. Smith Collectors Association.
Along with many published articles, he also wrote and self-published a book titled “Two Shots: Multi Barrel Long Gun Patents and their Inventors.”
Custom gun makers mainly key on building stocks on specific gun barrels and actions. “I do some custom work, but I mostly do antiques,” he said of repair and original designs he has on display in his shop that his grandfather deeded to him.
Schuknecht was born and raised in the house next to the woodworking shop, and his collection of tools set up for immediate use reflects the span of history to modern-day woodworking and finishing equipment.
One most impressive piece among the five long guns Schuknecht placed on the table was a .54 caliber percussion rifle. “I got bored this past winter and decided to build this one,” he said of a brass framed rifle with ivory inlays and checkering any traditional muzzleloader hunter would love to carefully take afield.
The inlays and brass fittings stand out vividly, but a closer look at the checkering reveals not just the standard cross-hatch design used to maintain a smooth grip and grasp of the fore end, but also the checkering pattern is that of sturdy yet decorative fish scales.
Most of American gun wood is black walnut, but the continental guns he gets from England, France and other European countries ares mainly English walnut.
Schuknecht can restore or design new models of wood stocks of any vintage for collectors or for hunters seeking a custom gun model. For more details, call 741-3739 or go to dutchmanwoodworks.com.