Atuk Usop retired from the army; as I heard, he was an armourer, so he is very well versed with arms. Every 6 months, all shotguns holders must renew their license and this is usually done at the 'Balai Raya" next to the Sekolah Chung Hwa Senaling. As our house is on the way to the 'Balai Raya' almost everyone who wants to bring their shotgun to renew their license will stop at our house for Atuk Usop to check the guns to make sure that it is still in perfect and worthy condition to have the license renewed. He makes a few bucks here and there and he managed!
He used to have a workshop for repairing guns; all kinds of arms, but I normally see only shotguns (as most 'kampong' folks have only shotguns). He repairs them and oil them and attends to all problems relating to the guns, when they are brought in. He also makes butts himself, in order to replace those broken ones as required by his customers. Pak Cik Mazlan from 'Kampong Dioh' is the person who normally carve out the shotgun butts for Atuk Usop. Whenever any Angsana Tree is being trimmed or cut in the village centre, Atuk Usop would ask me to collect the big ones to bring them home.
According to him, Angsana Tree is the best wood to carve out shotgun butts. I would use my bicycle to bring home, one by one, the large pieces of Angsana Tree from the felling site. When Pak Cik Mazlan comes from Dioh, he will then start carving those butts; including the small wooden handle (under the gun barrel). I tried to learn the trade by failed, as it is a painstakingly delicate kind of work and meticulously detailed and smooth. The butts and the handle then will be applied the finishing varnish. Until now I can still recognise Angsana Tree every time I see one!
2 weeks ago