The sculptor at Airgunstocks.com is Michael McKeown, a long time shooting sports enthusiast. Raised by the well regarded (in certain non-internet niche circles) custom gun builder Al McKeown, Michael began building custom guns based on the Mauser 98 action at an early age. He refined his carving skills while owning the company Performance Composites, carving custom plugs to make molds to create parts for airplanes, race cars, and model sailplanes. Michael was one of the original founders of NOCASA (Northern California Airgun Shooters Association) and for about nine years ran the club and produced a monthly newsletter that went out to more than 300 members. Michael was instrumental in changing California hunting law so that California hunters can now use airgun to hunt all resident small game and all resident upland game bird. Michael made trips to Sacramento, wrote research papers, and organized state wide letter writing campaigns in order to effect the change. It turned out another prominent California airgunner, Robert Hamilton, had also petitioned for the rules change that same year. California leads the country in it's progressive use of airguns for hunting.
About the Duplicating Machine:
Michael has a background in engineering, and drew upon that experience to design and build his 5 axis stock duplicating machine. It is important to note that this is not some computerized walk away until a buzzer sounds kind of thing. There is a great deal of art in reading the wood and jigging it in the machine to pull a stock out of the most interesting grain pattern, and then the machine is operated by hand, following along the master with a stylus while carefully cutting the new stock. The router in the machine is a top of the line Milwaukee 3 1/2 hp unit with electronic speed control. The speed control feature allows the motor to be ran at it's slowest speed (good for carving without burning) while still producing the full rated horsepower. Duplicating a stock takes on average about five hours of carving time, with another couple of hours setting up the machine before the carving and sanding the rough machine marks out afterwards. Add in rough cutting and cleanup time, it pretty well takes a full day to create one stock.
Masters are created by carving shapes from blocks of wood, and then refining the shape with plastic filler (Bondo) and lots of carving and sanding.
About the Walnut:
Michael has several great contacts in the California walnut industry and thus has access to the best Claro, Bastogne, and English walnut gunstock blanks coming out of the state. We make regular trips to our mills and hand pick the wood used in our stocks. You will find our wood to have some of the most interesting color and figure available for airguns.
Airgunstocks.com is more than just Michael. His father provides art direction oversight, and partner Scott Gustafson takes turns at the duplicator and is an experienced wood carver and shooting sports enthusiast.
More about Michael:
Michael enjoys other nature oriented sports as well. He is a docent for astronomy at Mt. Diablo state park. You can see the monster telescope he built here: winecountrystargazing.com. Michael is an accomplished fly fisher, and has been president of the Napa Valley Fly Fishers for nine years: napavalleyflyfishers.org.
Michael also owns the web development business Wine Country Web Services and is active with the local chamber of commerce, and is active with the business development club Napa Success Connection.
So that's who we are! No big conglomerate. Not some fellow in an apartment arranging for cheap overseas labor with inferior wood. Just a couple of guys with a talent and an accurate powerful machine turning out some of the finest custom gunstocks for airguns.