Muzzle-Loading Firearms Are Works of Art for Designer

Article excerpt

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Chuck Lindsey has a lot in common with the sculptor who can stand in front of a block of marble and visualize the statue within.

Whether it is a block of maple or a scrap of iron, Lindsey just shrugs his shoulders and says, "I just cut off everything that doesn't look like a gun."

When Lindsey, of rural southwest Logan County, is making his own vintage firearms, he combines his engineer's training (he is retired from Caterpillar) with an artist's sensibilities.

"When I was about 25, 26 years old I shot a muzzleloader for the first time and decided I wanted to start building them," he said.

Lindsey builds muzzle-loading firearms, especially flintlocks that were in use in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

"I got interested in early (U.S.) history," he says. "And they are accurate - we've hunted squirrels with them. They are not toys."

But they are works of art.

Wood for the gunstock is milled from locally cut trees, including maple. Lindsey often hand carves designs into the stock, or chisels designs into the metal.

His specialty, what his friends call the "crown jewels," are double-barrel shotguns he builds in his modest rural Logan County shop that's filled with tools, scraps of metal and shavings from past projects. …