Welcome, my name is Mike Miller. I hope this site will introduce you to my "useable historic art work". I have had an interest in the history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky since I first saw the Disney series, Davy Crockett and the TV series, Daniel Boone. I am a born and raised native Kentuckian. I built my first rifle from a CVA kit when I was 12 years old with the help of my dad. My first "stick" rifle was built when I was 15 from a barrel and lock from Dixie Gun Works and a walnut stock from my grandfather's saw mill. In the late 80's I discovered American Pioneer Videos. I received 4 videos as a Christmas gift and a fire was lit that has yet to burn out. I called the number on one of the boxes with the intention of ordering a couple of more videos. I spoke to Karen Wright and was very pleased to find that they were located in Bowling Green, Ky. about 10 minutes from my family's house. I was invited to meet with Karen and Jim to get the other videos. Almost 20 years later I have come full circle from student to instructor of their "Building a Flintlock Kentucky Pistol" video and have appeared in several others.
One of the most influential people in my gun building career has been Bill Nagel. I met Bill at the local rifle range where I saw Bill shooting a rifle built for him by Steve Davis. Bill invited me to his shop where I showed him a couple of my "best" rifles. He quietly examined them and after several minutes of silence, he left the shop and returned with two rifles and said, "This is what they are supposed to look like". The name engraved on the top of both barrels was Ron Ehlert.
I have worked with Bill since 1996 and he has introduced me to many of the top names in the business. Ron Ehlert was to become one of my most influential teachers in the art of engraving and building historically correct firearms. Ron once told me, after several hours of gouging practice plates with gravers, that "this doesn't come naturally to you does it? I'm not sure you'll ever get it". After many more years of practice and more instruction from another Master Engraver, Mark Silver and lessons in design and carving from Master Gunsmith Wallace Gusler, I think I might have gotten a little better. I strive to find a challenge in each new piece I create.
Until 2003, I was tied to a real job with the Paducah Police Department and had to build rifles part time until I reached retirement. I was then able to build firelocks full time. I can now devote my time to give customers my full attention in building their dream gun.