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OPTIONS Other slow $$ hand engraving, stock work?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Bueno, Oct 3, 2011.

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  1. Bueno

    Bueno Member

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    I am in the market for some quick and easy engraving on my O/U shotgun. There has to be better and least expensive options, than retiring your favorite gun for one or two years, and spending more money than what the gun cost. With all the modern laser engraving and digital photo developments, there has to be another, less time consuming and cheaper option out there.
    I feel the same about custom stocks, and will also like to have a blank stock turned in a day via computer wood lathe, and left in the rough and then fine tuning with a competent stockman. They did this in Italy for a Perazzi that I purchased there, a while back and I heard Cole had one of those but no longer offers the service. Perazzi had a similar lathe at the grand making stocks.
    Anyway these two gun new market niches would be a great new business for some of the young entrepreneurs to apply themselves.
    Any ideas, hints, websites, emails?
     
  2. beaker100

    beaker100 Member

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    good, quality, artwork costs. doug hubbart gunsmith/ colorado cusom cases.jmho
     
  3. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick two.

    Eric
     
  4. billyboy07208

    billyboy07208 Member

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    actually I dont care for nothing except broad scroll like what you`d see on a colt saa army sixshooter, go to the SASS websites for these folk,they use the elecrtic type gravers so its not time consuming.
     
  5. ctreay

    ctreay Member

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    As soon as demand picks up the technology (?) will catch up.

    ctreay
     
  6. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Bueno,

    May I ask you what you think a fair price is for that computer carved rough stock?

    Keep in mind, that to create a cnc carved stock, you have to have a 3d model, a machine that costs anywhere from 20k up for the carving, and you either have to have a 3d scanner, or spend countless hours making the 3d model. A good 3d laser scanner will start at 10k but the ones that make good models start at 30k and the software that goes with it runs around 20k-30k, if again, you get the good stuff.

    Don't forget that the inletting has to be obtained from prints from the factory, or digitized from the original stock or action, or it has to be modeled by hand by taking measurements.....= time consuming. Many factories won't release their prints for obvious reasons.

    Most people have no concept what it takes to make a cnc carved stock, and a one off custom is bad expensive. Where cnc shines is when you make the same part time and again.

    Mike
     
  7. Bueno

    Bueno Member

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    Mike:
    Thanks for the input, but again all businesses need investments in first rate machinery. There are a lot of gun owners out there, that would love to custom or personalize their favorite gun. So there is a niche market for someone that wants to invest the money, time and effort to build this business up.
    Personally I would love to have some nice scroll engraving, but I can't retire my gun for one or two years.
    Same thing with a custom stock, the artisan way of stock making is too time consuming, and it is only done by high dollar shooters, with several guns, that can wait as long as it takes. That disqualifies a lot of shooters. As an example I have a friend who is middle class, has a nice ASE 90, and a Perazzi MX8, as well as an automatic for hunting. He would love to have a custom stock, who wouldn't?, but to invest $1000-$1500 in a stock blank and upwards of $2200 for a custom stock, is prohibitive, and he will never go to the next step. Why? because he can buy another gun for that price, and at resale all the custom work is worthless, or it even depreciates the value of the gun.
    I used to be as a hobby in the shotgun blank business, and my retail buyers where about 95% high end, all big money.
    That leaves the majority of the shooters out of the custom market. If you could offer a reasonable custom stock for $1500-$2,000 dollar range, including the cost of the wood, in a short time frame, there could be a HUGE market out there.
     
  8. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Bueno -

    I'm confused by your last post. Is it a niche market or a HUGE market? They are definitely different, but you indicated first that there's a niche market for someone that wants to invest the time and money, but later indicate there is a HUGE market for custom stocks.

    Seems like if it were a HUGE market someone would be doing it?

    Scott
     
  9. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Bueno, you're talking abt two issues here, and, frankly, one of them is pretty-well solved: the stock problem.

    a) Wenig will get you a stock as fit & finished as you want it for a few hundred dollars, plus the wood, and how fancy you want the wood is your call.

    b) There are plenty of high-precision stock-duplicators out there. Most will ruin your old stock making your new one. Some won't. Many will inlet the head and leave the rest square, and you can shape how you wish. I have done more than a couple of sidelock guns that way. It's not that hard if you're patient.

    What you are NOT going to get is an exhibition blank without paying extra, nor should you expect to.

    Metal is a different story. Steel is not a real good tool for lasering, and you have a couple of ways to go about 'short-cutting' an engraving process:

    a) You can digitize a pattern you like, and have it lazer ETCHED onto your gun. That's straightforward, then find an apprentice somewhere with the tools, time and patience to ... follow the pattern. Depending on complexity, it will be a few days or a few weeks. Open scroll and/or relief carved is pretty simple and straightforward, and quick. Of course the real engravers - especially the motorized ones - don't charge too much for that kind of stuff, neither.

    b) A 4 axis CNC machine will do what you want ... the issue is the program. There are some shortcuts to writing CNC programs now, but you still have a pretty healthy front-end cost. If there was sufficient demand, a good pattern library could be built fairly easily, and from that point it is a matter of scaling the programs to fit the various receivers, and changing tools.

    When you look at a 687 Silver Pigeon, or a Browning Grade gun, or the MX 2000 logo, CNC work is what you are seeing.

    Bob
     
  10. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Hi Bueno,

    It is not a matter of a business investing $$ in equipment, but rather, the expected or needed roi on that investment. To invest in the right equipment to produce a stock at the price you suggested, at the time frame you suggested, is simply not possible. I can assure you that you go into any top level cnc shop (metal) and ask their hrly rate, you will find it is from about 70-200 pr hr....not counting set up cost and/or programming cost. Even if you have a good 3d model, there is still hand fitting and hand work that has to be done. Hand work, as you have already mentioned, costs!

    Are you willing to take a plain piece of walnut, sprayed finish, no adjustable hardware and machine checkering with Pachmayer pad for say around $300? I can get those produced but I need about 100 orders to get them at that price, and they all have to be for the same gun! Now on the other hand, if you want a fairly nice piece of marbled English, hand rubbed oil finish, adjustable cheek and machine checkered, I can get you one of those for $1500, but that doesn't include programming cost for the individual firearm or stock design and it doesn't provide final hand fitting of the iron. Provide me with a good quality 3d nurbs model for the shotgun butt stock and fore end of your choice, and I will provide you with said $1500 stock.

    Let me give you a real world example of the difficulties for what you are asking. I am currently designing a rifle stock with a classic shadow line cheekpiece and I sent off a hand made (not mine) pattern to have laser scanned. When I got the file in, the cheek piece and shadow line were rounded significantly, which destroys the design. I have spent to date about 20 hrs personally and had a friend give another 2 hrs to try to fix this thing, and I should have it ready to machine in another 15-20 hrs! Now admittedly a shotgun stock is somewhat more simple than this rifle stock, but the pistol grips are about the same time and trouble. Who is going to pay for my additional 37-45 hrs labor for this stock design? I will, but I don't want to pay for each and every customer who wants a custom stock, and most of them don't want to pay for it either.

    Mike
     
  11. schockstrap

    schockstrap Active Member

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    If you want an affordable custom stock, just visit Wenig at the Grand and purchase one of their semi-inletted stocks. It's going to take a lot of effort on your part to fit it to the receiver and do any shape modifications that you want, but they are essentially a mostly-finished stock. I think I paid $150 for a stock and forend set for my son's Rem 1100, in their "extra-fancy" grade of black walnut. I paid less than that for a slightly less figured stock and forend for my Browning Citori.

    Fitting them to the metal was definitely a several hour task for me (for each stock/forend). I'm not that experienced at stock work, but I have done a ton of woodworking -- I still have a lot to learn, but I wouldn't ever expect to get "speedy" with that process. The pros are surely faster at it than I am, but they earn every penny of what a custom stock costs.

    --Dan
     
  12. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    Guys, This is just a case of somebody who has no idea of what things really cost. P.S Reagardless of weather or not this fairy tale could ever come true, what about the blank? Where are you going to get a good stock blank for cheap?Jeff
     
  13. Bueno

    Bueno Member

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    Super X Jeff:
    Well obviously you don't have an idea either, wise guy. Your input is cynical and useless, and yes I know where to get a high grade blank wholesale for $350 or so, but I won't share with smart alecks like you.
     
  14. Bueno

    Bueno Member

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    turmite Mike:

    I appreciate your input, and expertise. Information like someone said, is more valuable than money, in today's world. I am evaluating all the info and studying possible alternatives, thanks.
     
  15. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    Stocks: As Mike stated above. A simple mechanical pattern stock duplicator, can duplicate a stock in pretty short order. Even the inlet, without the CNC machine cost. The expense is in the finished product. The actual metal needs to be hand fitted in each case, not only for a fine fit, but to avoid eventually cracking at pressure points. Thus the having the gun for extended period. The duplicated stock has to have a little extra wood all around to allow for finish sanding and fit. You can't put the wood back once it is gone. Time is money either way you look at it. Either you pay for hands on time, or you pay alot of money for the machines to eliminate the hands on time. Those costs still get passed onto the finished product. Custom fitted stocks are a hole different ball game.

    As for the wood, look at it as fine wine. The cheaper wine is mass produced and sold in six months. The expensive stuff takes years to become the finished product. The really good figured wood takes along time to dry, due to it being very dense, plus it is not as easy to come by, and thus costs more to obtain. The "fence post" wood dries faster, and is readily available.

    Metal: There are machines that engrave metal now. The cheapest would end there. Then there is the hand engraved accenting added to that. Then there is the all engraved by hand.

    Depends really on your pocket book on what you can get. In my opinion, the hands on, more costly approach will always look the best.

    In both cases basically you get what you pay for. Jon
     
  16. Bueno

    Bueno Member

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    Stl Flyn

    As I said before, I used to be a seller of high grade blanks, and all of those had to be dried and with a pattern in the grip that was desirable and resisted breakage the most. So I know a little bit about wood for stocks. FYI: the most expensive wood is the exhibition grade type, and that wood is so dried out that it is not recommended for shooting as these stocks can crack easily. That is the other side of the coin.
    It is most unwise to select a custom stock out of "fence post wood", and that would be a big mistake.
    Luckily, I personally have options in knowing where to obtain the high grade blanks at a reasonable price, since blanks have a 3 to 1 profit mark up, for the most part. So the blank that costs you $350 wholesale, would end up being retailed for upwards of $1200.
    Thanks for your accurate observations.
     
  17. Stl Flyn

    Stl Flyn Well-Known Member

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    Bueno,

    If you can get wood that cheap, I would say invest in a duplicator and start making some stocks. You would be the person that would be able to produce those stocks the cheapest, both for your friend and yourself. So in reality you answered your own question. You obviously have knowledge about the wood characteristics. The duplicating machine would pay for itself. I would be interested in purchasing some blanks also, if your supplier is happy with those margins. The problem is by the time you add your profit margins to it, and sell it to me, then I add my profit margin and make the stock for a customer it is at your price indicated. Jon
     
  18. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Here is a piece I put on here for sale a little while back to guage the market. Asking $500 and I don't have anywhere near 3-1 mark up. I wish :)

    Mike

    <a href="http://s136.photobucket.com/albums/q188/turmite/?action=view&current=501D.jpg" target="_blank"> 501D.jpg </a>
     
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