Whether you are into history, black powder, reenacting, or just skills of the great outdoors, this video featuring Hershel House is fun to watch.
One of the things I most enjoy about operating this blog is the learning I do. The school of the great outdoors is one you simply can never graduate from, and there is always room to learn. It is also rewarding to be a small part of a larger movement of people who realize how important the past is, and who work to preserve it. As a fella who likes to learn, I often find myself cruising the Internet looking to find people that are willing to offer up what they know about historical skills. One video I recently came across was this video showcasing Hershel House, a gunsmith from the woods of Kentucky.
Hershel House has quite a reputation amongst folks who appreciate historically authentic black powder guns. Since the mid 1970’s House has been making guns in his backwoods buildings, and people have been paying attention. He has made guns for governors, he made Fess Parker’s gun for Davy Crockett, and even restored the flintlock shot by Davy Crocket himself. Although he has always been a traditionalist, in 2009 House and his brothers undertook a unique project. They built a flintlock rifle from scratch to be raffled off. Don’t overlook that phrase “they built it from scratch”. Literally every piece of the gun was made, shaped, forged, and assembled by House and his brothers. Every screw, the barrel, and the stock were all hand made pieces of art. In the end the gun raised $140,000.
Hershel seems to be about as true as it gets when it comes to traditional black powder shooters. You can watch him in this video Kentucky Afield released a number of years ago.
It might be redundant to talk about how uplifting this short video is. For lots of reasons, this video should make you feel good.
For many readers the name Hershel House is probably old hat. In fact this article from Field and Stream mentions he has made over 300 guns for people. It might be worth noting that although his guns only cost a few hundred bucks in the 1970’s, his guns generally cost in the range of 5 grand these days. It’s hard to scoff at the price when you realize that not only does he have the skill to build handmade works of art, but his rifles are as historically accurate as they come.
All in all, the goings on at Hershel House’s Kentucky cabins are testament to the fact many historical skills are alive and well. It is refreshing to know that in a world where most folks can’t live without their phone, there are still a few individuals who carry this level of traditional knowledge. We certainly are all richer for that.
I’d love to hear what you think about Hershel House and his black powder flintlocks in the comments section below.
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