What Does it Take to be a Good Gunsmith?
Mr. Denny Crane brought up the subject that good gunsmiths are a Dying Breed. I can't say for sure whether that is really true or not. There are younger men in my area who are gun repairmen. But I've been thinking about the subject since reading his post. What does it take to be a good gunsmith?
First of all, he must be a good businessman. Accurate records are a necessity in the business, even more so in one related to firearms. But as any businessman, he must control costs and overhead. He must understand advertising. The world will not beat a path to his door if it can't be found. He must understand business relations.
Secondly, he must be a master machinist. Gone are the days of files and sledge hammers. Certainly an understanding of hand tools is a must, but he must know how to use machine tools for speed and the precision required. He must know woods and metals. He must understand bluing processes, and welding, soldering, and brazing.
And certainly he must understand firearms, and shooters. The best gunsmiths will turn no one away, whether the customer is bringing in a fine old L.C. Smith, a Holland & Holland Express rifle, an original Kentucky flintlock, a Colt Single Action, or a Gold Cup. He should consider no job too small or benesth his dignity.
Many young people are not willing to buckle down to this discipline today, preferring the fast-buck of working for the other man.
Fortunately I have run across a few of these, and I will continue to praise their work when possible. If you've encountered the same, let it be known.