When I worked at John Dickson & Son in Edinburgh until recently, a policeman walked into the shop one day with a large brown paper bag. “Thought you might like this,” he stated. When I emptied the bag, out popped a very nice Dickson hammer gun dating from the 1880s with a beautiful-figured stock. He informed us that the gun had been found in a skip and upon realising its quality he thought we might like it to put on display.
The only problem was that the stock was completely shattered at the wrist. It was totally irreparable and because it wasn’t a clean break, lumps of wood were missing and there was no way it could ever be joined back together.
I pondered what to do with it and eventually decided to do a gamekeeper repair I’d seen on old guns in my childhood that seemed to keep them going. I took a roll of copper wire and tightly and neatly wound it round the entire wrist. I then covered the wire in soot to age it and the end result looked like a makeshift 19th-century repair.
The gun certainly elicited much comment from customers and even more comment from the manager when he took it out to show a customer one day and got his hands covered in soot! A gamekeeper at Egglestone Hall near Barnard Castle c.1880.