It takes more than a pandemic to stop production, what are the most eye-catching items on the benches at the moment?
We have several remarkable things going through, as always. What has really caught my eye this week, however, is a pair of 28-bore Rising Bite shotguns. They have truly spectacular wood and are being carved and engraved in-house by Saija. She’s doing a stunning deep steel carving of North American gamebirds with wonderful scrolls, plus, because she’s a goldsmith by trade, she’s also including a gorgeous stippled gold background on them. They may be the most beautifully embellished pair of 28-bore Rigbys ever made. I’m really in love with them. They are very desirable and an excellent example of what we do here. There will be photos to look forward to in the coming months.
Have you noticed any trends in gun specification over the past year or are clients’ tastes as varied as ever?
I wouldn’t say there have been any real changes. I think people come to Rigbys because they want to have something truly bespoke. They know that here we have a really passionate team of people who really want to get fired up and get the customer involved in every project, which is so important. The trends haven’t changed: people still want what they want, and they want to work with young, passionate excited people to make the best gun that they possibly can.
When you look around the workshop now, which elements of gunmaking do you find most fascinating? How has this changed from when you first became involved?
It hasn’t changed at all and I’m mesmerised by every aspect of it – the craftsmanship, the precision, the artistry… After all these years, (though I’m still relatively young!) I can still find myself standing there watching the guys in the workshop and suddenly realise that 15 minutes have gone by. It’s captivating. It’s amazing what skilled craftsmen can do with their hands and what beautiful work that they turn out. It’s fascination for me hasn’t changed and I don’t think it ever will – that’s why I’m passionate about it.
Are there any new lines to look out for in the Rigby online store this spring?
We’re adding new items all the time. Things are, of course, a little bit quieter than normal with the pandemic because we’re not able to travel around the world to source products as we would normally, but there is still some really cool stuff coming through. This includes an exciting new partnership with YETI Coolers, so you’ll be seeing that coming along soon.
COVID restrictions might be here for a while longer, but how would you like to celebrate with the team once they are gone?
A big braai and a load of beers in the courtyard right here! I say it all the time, but “family” doesn’t go far enough to describe the team. “Tribe” I think is probably the best word for Rigbys. Not being able to meet for a beer as we used to do, not being to have everybody together in one place to unwind has not been easy – bringing that back is definitely something we’re looking forward to.
Rigby engraver, Saija Koskialho