Wooden Wonders


Looks like a SAA and acts like one. Can you say “mahogany?”

The classic 1950s cowboy grips are a nifty touch.

Excellence is in the details and this is excellence.

Look again. These are both fully functional guns, a Colt Single Action Army and an 1851 Navy. They cock, cylinders turn, ejectors eject, loading rams load, triggers pull and there’s even rifling in the barrels. They go “click” and “snick” and feel like the originals. Indeed, they are both “real” guns except for one very important thing — they are made of wood. Real wood.

Thomas Havens is a gunsmith and craftsman. One of those people who know how to make their hands actually create what they dream of in their minds. But this time, rather than working in steel, Thomas challenged himself to try something different. “I just wondered if I could do it,” he told me. “Nobody told me I couldn’t, so I tried, and, well, here they are.” Indeed. Here they are.

The brass bits are all hand crafted.

Yup, a wooden bullet and there’s rifling in that barrel.

Thomas won’t tell me how long it took, “More time than you might imagine,” was the best I got out of him. But he did say a very important thing. “Well, I suppose I would build one for someone if they were willing to pay me fairly for my work.” And what’s fairly? “I’d rather leave that between whoever wants one and me,” he said smiling. I’ll bet.

You’re looking at one of the reasons American Handgunner exists, to shine the spotlight on the unusual, the classic and indeed sometimes — I like this time — to shine it on what looks like the impossible. But it seems it is possible.

How much fun do we shooters have?

Plenty. Thanks Thomas.

If you want your own, e-mail: [email protected].

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