A passion for hunting and fine guns literally demanded that I leave a career in law enforcement at age 29 to open my first Gun Shop in Walnut Creek, CA. My wife was…well…speechless, but supportive...Three kids, a mortgage ...and I now didn’t even have a "real job".
Outdoor Life Shooting editor, Jim Carmichel , saw some of my custom work and wrote a nice feature article about my rifles. Of course, this was very good for business and gave me an advantage for which I will be forever grateful. Other magazine articles followed, and complimentary sections in "Modern Rifles”, ”Book of the Rifle" and "Contemporary American Stockmakers". This all helped to create a backlog of customers that exists to this day.
When the American Custom Gunmakers Guild was formed. I became a Charter Member and was honored when asked by the members to be a part of the first (No.1) Guild commemorative rifle project. The proceeds from the sale of that rifle helped keep the Guild afloat during that first formative year. I am very proud to have been a part of that.
I have a self imposed motto: Take all the credit or all the blame. Once in a while, I am asked to make the stock on another metal smith’s artistry. There is a lot of darn fine metal smiths out there that do not make stocks. I try to be accommodating and have done so many times, but the bottom line is that I prefer to do the entire commission "in-house".
While I believe a custom maker must have wide experience in general gunsmithing, my custom backlog simply will not allow general gunsmithing activity. Most of my commissions are for high grade bolt action rifles, maybe 30% in side by side shot guns and single shots. I do not accept work on automatics or pump actions. Once in a while a nice lever action piques my interest. Handgun work, I leave to the experts in that field.