By Douglas Tate
With the days of sliding one’s best gun into a fleece-lined slip and chucking it into the back of an SUV being long gone, casing today’s high-art guns—together with the equipage that comes with them—provides new opportunities for the style-conscious sport. Previously, I extolled the beauty and elegance of casemaker Vince Rickards’ wares, but now another Brit brand is making luxury examples.
Alex Torok served for 30 years at Purdey’s as an actioner before becoming a freelance gunmaker to the trade and then, in 2006, partnering with Mike Smith to form Smith & Torok Gun and Rifle Makers. Since the death of Mike Smith, in 2015, Torok has continued to build best guns but also has diversified into gun cases and tools.
“Our cases comprise 350 individual custom-made pieces,” Torok said, “and this is reflected in the price. There is no expense spared in making our cases; we do not use cheaper materials to save a few pennies. The case starts with the client’s choice of hardwood—typically but not necessarily French walnut. Once the design of the case has been decided, master cabinetmaker Kristian Pettifor starts constructing the case. We use London color oak-bark-tanned leather for the outer of the case, and the client can choose whether to line the case in either soft leather or baize. Every case has perimeter stitching all the way round, which takes Allan Gillespie, our leather craftsman, hours to stitch using 200 feet of Irish linen thread.”
All of the accoutrements are made by Torok and his apprentice from the highest-quality materials.
Smith & Torok cases start at £20,000 with a canvas outer cover, and the firm endeavors to deliver within one year. (This time frame may be extended if the client chooses special materials.)
For more information, contact Smith & Torok.