The temperature has gotten back to normal here in Southeastern Massachusetts, which means it is below freezing again. As I sit near the wood stove, enjoying its warmth, I decided to share a short tale including some before and after photos of a project I did this past summer. My late father in law, although not a firearm enthusiast, had purchased a black powder rifle kit back in the seventies. He assembled it with no real passion (the stock was never sanded nor stained) and did not intend to display it or even fire it. When he retired and the in-laws downsized, we found the gun tucked in a closet. Knowing I had the perfect mantle to display it under, he graciously gave it to me. After seeing the photos that many of you have shared of your customization and craftsmanship with your firearms, I too was inspired to try my hand at infusing the old rifle with new life. I know what I've done is no way as interesting as custom carved stocks or hand crafted grips like many of you have done, but it's the best I'm going to do with my limited skill set. For those wanting more information on the rifle, there was no brand name that I could find. There was an "I" symbol (as seen in the closeup photo) near the "made in Italy" stamp and the caliber stamp. The only other markings I could locate were some barrel stamps and two sets of matching serial numbers. I did a rather lackadaisical internet search for more detailed information but I was unable to find much. The most pertinent info I could find was an old Gun Auction post from 2013 for a Cabela's .58 CAL Hawken replica black powder rifle and it really didn't tell me anything about the maker, the date of manufacture, or anything of real value. Maybe someday I'll learn how to shoot black powder but for right now, I'm content to let it be wall art with a nice connection to my father in law. The first photo is the untouched, roughly 25 years in a closet followed by 15 years hanging over a wood stove photo. Sorry for the poor quality photo. The second photo is the restored photo. The third photo is the close up of the stamps.