Gunsmithing seminar returns to the Hill for 37th year - | SoKY Community, Events, Weather


Gunsmithing seminar returns to the Hill for 37th year

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It's a lost art, and one that will be gone soon if seminars like these don't continue.

That lost art is gunsmithing, and the goal of this annual seminar held at WKU is to carry on the tradition of smiths who started the trade back in the mid-18th century.

"The instructors here originally started this with the intent to learn how to use the old techniques and how to kind of maintain those over the years," said regular attendee Randy Werkheiser.

Some of the techniques taught during the three, six, and nine day seminar classes include engraving, stock carving, brass casting, and other skills, with the main purpose of creating muzzle loading firearms and long rifles, but it's about more than just crafting a usable gun.

"It's just the pleasure you get in trying to recreate something that was done at least 150 to 200 years ago or more," Werkheiser said.

Werkheiser has been attending the seminar for the past 12 years, but says the crafting portion of the seminar isn't what keeps him coming back year after year.

"My favorite part is coming here and meeting all of the various people, the friendships we make over the years," he said. "That's what it really amounts to. We like the camaraderie of getting together and exchanging ideas."

There's no written manual or video tutorials on how to put together these forgotten firearms, so being able to partake in an activity like this is very gratifying for attendees like Werkheiser.

"It makes it more rewarding that you're doing basically the same work that somebody was doing a couple hundred years ago," Werkheiser said. 

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