A newcomer to the forum and double guns. I have an early Francotte Featherweight Grade I. Bob Beach was kind enough to look over photos and give me some history on the gun. But it is in need of some smithing. Barrels need put back on face, cocking dogs most likely need some material added, etc.
I've already reached out to Griffin & Howe, Vintage firearm Inc Gunsmiths, Whittman, and a few others I've found recommended by members of the forum. Most are not accepting new work. I then stumbled upon Bill Graham with "nice old doubles gunworks" through the Society of American Side by Sides group on Facebook. The work seems very high quality, and his quote came in at a significantly lower price point.
Does anyone have experience working with Bill? Or have seen his work? I'm not in a rush, and want it done right. And the quotes from the other smiths were not unreasonable per say, but with Bill I could potentially have a few cosmetic things addressed for the amount of money I want to put into the gun, not just getting the action taken care of.
Any other smiths that folks would recommend?
And if this thread should be in another category let me know/move it. I'm new to the forum and did my best to search before creating a duplicate thread. Thanks for the thoughts! Take care. -Josiah
Not sure if he's taking on work but our own SKB (Steve Bertram) restored my Francotte to all it's glory, including replacing the hinge pin, rebuilding the inletting and refinishing, and a downright gorgeous covered pad.
This discussion has migrated a bit and it brings to mind to me that we are seeing a significant change in the work force in this country, and this change is across the the spectrum of labor and crafts it appears.
Mark's comment above about some gunsmith's not taking on new customers is one of these significant changes that we are seeing in America; not only with gunsmiths but with crafts such as the private automobile mechanic (now called a auto technician). When you telephone the auto shop of the father and son who keep my SUV going you receive a message that they are not taking on new customers.
Further, we see the shortage of labor in the general work force and we old timers are prone to think that the shortage is caused by those lazy 20 somethings who do not want to work, but free load off the government. However, just today the we have seen statistics from the national news that set our minds to thinking....... HERE IT IS BELOW:
"One of the more insidious myths making the rounds this year was that young people didn't want to work because they were getting by just fine on government aid. People had too much money, went the narrative from a handful of politicians and pundits. Only trouble is, the numbers don't back it up.
Here's the thing: Early retirement — whether forced by the pandemic or made possible otherwise — is having a huge impact on the labor market. And data show that retiring boomers, far more than "lazy" millennials, are the biggest force behind the labor shortage.
People have left the workforce for myriad reasons in the past two years. But among those who have left and are least likely to return, the vast majority are older Americans who accelerated their retirement.
Last month, there were 3.6 million more Americans who had left the labor force and said they didn't want a job compared with November 2019. A whopping 90% of them were over 55"
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT BUBBA? What was it that Pogo said about seeing the problem and it is US, or something like that? Of course, many of you are too young to even know who Pogo was.
There is an incredible Tony rice video free born man with Bella fleck Jerry dougles Sam bush and a bass player best live acoustic guitar guitar
Mark, I have been lucky enough to see all of the above many times at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. I attended 10 times between 1996 and 2008 and caught some amazing players there. Late night shows in bars with Tim O'Brian singing happy birthday to a girl in our group, hanging out with Todd Snider, seeing John Prine, Emmy Lou, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson. I caught Dylan in Telluride town park for two shows in the early 2000's as well. Great memories of some wonderful musicians. I do regret not catching the Allman Brothers in Telluride, though I have seen them quite a bit.
I see Tyler Childers is headlining TBF this year.....it might be time for me to return.
Several years ago I had a hammer ejector issue with a gun I still own and shoot often. When I had the issue I had sent the gun over a two year period to four different nationally known doublegunsmiths. None of these gunsmiths could rectify the problem. Finally, I sent the gun to Jack Haugh of Milan, IN. Jack fixed my gun and got it back in hands within two and a half weeks with a note enclosed saying there would be no charge for his services or shipping. I immediately called and he told me that I nor anyone else could justify paying him a normal gunsmith's hourly wage for the time he spent fixing the gun. IMHO, Jack Haugh was truly the gunsmith to other gunsmiths and he has now handed the torch over to his son Cole.
Re the original question for a gun smith recco. Be sure to ask if your man has a Type 01 Federal License for gun smithing, has liability insurance, and has a distinct business premises, i.e., not working on the kitchen table out of an apartment or such. Just a few years back one guy I can think of flipped a 20 gauge Fox because it was too hard for his wife to cock, now he's a gun smith.
The criteria mentioned have nothing to do with the skill level of the gunsmith. The four best vintage double gunsmiths I have met all work or worked from home (one is now retired). I have had work done by all four of them and in each case it was exemplary. Here is an example:
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