Kentucky Buttstock Sculpture by Jim Parkeradmin
by Joshua Shepherd
The frontier longrifle is unquestionably one of the most uniquely American art forms developed in the last two centuries. To showcase the graceful lines and exquisite workmanship inherent to the discipline, Jim Parker of Calvary Longrifles has crafted a truly unique sculpture that should undoubtedly prove popular with collectors at the 2016 CLA fundraising auction.
Although the timeless phrase “lock, stock, and barrel” sums up the most necessary components of the longrifle, Parker has focused his efforts on the stock, which is clearly where a craftsman’s creative talents have the most opportunity for full expression. His “Quaker stock” is an impressive embodiment of the gunsmith’s art.
Starting with a simple slab of American sugar maple, Parker has crafted a decorative butt stock inspired by an original example which was made by a member of Virginia’s legendary Lauck clan. The entire sculpture is a humble homage to tradition. His sculpture, explains Parker, was “shaped to match the original”, using appropriately authentic tools and methods. The stock, richly patinaed with aqua fortis and a hand rubbed oil finish, is adorned with hand carved embellishments as well as a sterling silver cheek piece and thumb inlay. Its fully functional patch box was crafted entirely from scratch using sheet brass and hand forged springs; the vent pick inlay, likewise of sheet brass, boasts a hand forged pick.
The finished sculpture, mounted on a rotating curly maple base, constitutes a truly iconic reflection of the longrifle culture by one of America’s best contemporary makers. This fine addition to the annual auction is a fitting vehicle for the artist to promote the organization that is at the heart of the hobby. “The CLA,” explains Parker, “has provided the perfect venue for all that love our early American history and enjoy recreating it.”
Jim is one of the CLA’s outstanding gunsmiths. We have included a photo of an earlier auction donation he collaborated on with Darren McDonal.