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Thimbleby Estate

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All about James Reynolds, The Woodworking Gunsmith

If you put a decent number of cartridges through a shotgun every year, an annual service should be a firm fixture in your calendar. It doesn’t matter if your gun spends its life on shooting grounds or in field – or both – it will need more than a clean you can do at home. That way, you’re ensuring your gun stays in excellent working order for as long as you want to keep shooting it. You need to know that when you decide to take the shot your gun will work properly, be it within a competition environment or in respect to your quarry. If this is touching a nerve and you can’t quite remember when your gun last had more than a perfunctory clean, we know just the man to help!


We’re lucky to be home to James Reynolds – aka The Woodworking Gunsmith – and his studio, which is tucked on site here at Thimbleby. James is the go-to gunsmith for firearms owners and members of the gun trade here in North Yorkshire and much further afield, thanks to his superb work. He offers a wide range of gunsmithing services, from regular serving and deep cleaning to identifying and fixing issues and making modifications, such as restocking and fitting recoil pads. He also restores antique firearms and makes custom and replacement parts, so there’s really not much he doesn’t know.


James was born in North Yorkshire and was immersed in shooting sports from a young age, spending his time beating and air rifle shooting. He also had a deep fascination with how things work, being the child who took their toys to pieces to see what was going on inside before rebuilding them from the ground up. That love of shooting coupled with a manufacturing and engineering brain meant James was destined to become involved in working with guns. It was at game fairs and encountering muzzle-loading firearms that, in his words, he ‘went down a rabbit hole’ and became intrigued with the art of gunsmithing.


Soon, the chance to acquire an old reproduction muzzleloader and a neglected shotgun on the proviso that he would restock and transform them, was the first step to where James is today. With his nose in as many books as he could find, he spent the summer holiday working on the restocking project, successfully completing it in three weeks. His late teens and early twenties were spent refining his skills, and he has since forged a name for himself as a talented and hardworking gunsmith. He works on all manner of shotguns in his workshop here at Thimbleby Shooting Ground which was set up in 2020 and has been a great success – and an excellent resource for our staff, members and customers.


If your gun needs some attention or just a regular service, why not get in touch with James? His work takes a lot of focus, so please make an appointment in advance, and why not combine it with a visit to the ground for some shooting and perhaps a lunch in the café? You can learn more and get in touch with James directly by visiting his website – just click here.

The Woodworking Gunsmith