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To gunsmith or not to gunsmith...that is the question.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by PlayboyPenguin, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    We just got a very nice surprise. Due to the adoption of our sons we are going to be getting a huge tax refund this year. I was hoping the credits would be enough to ofset what we usually owe but boy was I wrong. We will be getting back enough that we will be able to put about 20K into the college funds and still have a big chunk left over.

    Here is my dilemma. I have an opportunity to go back to work soon but I am concerned it is still to early with the boys here. I am considering passing on the job opportunity and possibly taking some gunsmith courses. It is something I have always enjoyed doing and it seems like it is harder and harder to find a good one these days. I was considering taking about 6-8k of the money left over and putting together a pretty decent garage workspace. Not just tools to do small jobs, but a decent milling machine so I could actually build my own custom 1911's and customize revolvers (cut dovetails for sights, re-crown barrels, etc.). Anyone on here that knows me knows I do pretty decent work and with proper training I have a feeling I could make a good product.

    I have checked with my county zoning codes and as long as I am not creating foot traffic and have no employees I can start doing the work in my home. Then I could possibly get a small store front later and maybe even open a gun shop/gunsmith shop...or better yet buy into an existing one. Getting to work from home would be a great thing since I would be able to be home and the boys would not need to be bounced around to daycare and after school care.

    I have the huge advantage that we have enough money coming in to live fairly comfortably on without me working right now so the side project would not need to really generate any income. As long as it paid for itself (after and not counting the initial investment) I could stick to it for a long time with no profit. Of course a second guaranteed income (about 50k a year starting) would really increase our current standard of living so it is not easy to pass on it. Of course, being able to be home for the kids almost makes up for the lack of money.

    I know that I am not going to make my decision based on other people's opinions, but it would be nice to hear other people's two cents and or advice. What do you guys think?
     
  2. Garg

    Garg east of portland metro Hold my beer..... watch this Bronze Supporter

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    Sounds to me like you would be pursuing a dream. I could not possibly see a down side to that alone, not counting the being at home benefit.
     
  3. Sling Blade

    Sling Blade Yamhill County Well-Known Member

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    Sure be worth a try. Often we think we have skills and find we don't, or the obverse - the only way to know for sure is to check things out first hand. In addition to technical skills, do you want to work with the public? I have worked retail and it was a real eye-opener into the crappy side of some people. Sure there were more good ones than bad, but on a hard day the bad ones can really drag you down.
     
  4. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a damn fine arrangement and an opportunity that you shouldn't pass up. I'm envious.

    Let me know if you are looking at larger machines (mill, lathe, etc.). Due to some family connections, I often hear about large iron in good shape at very decent prices (and always when I can't afford it).
     
  5. joken

    joken Corvallis Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You will eventually need a FFL and to get it you need the local authority (City or County) to bless it. That typically requires approval of your neighbors. I went to the County and they wanted to send a Building Inspector out to inspect my shop. That ain't going to happen. I would go for it in a heart beat. Good luck.
     
  6. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    So will you plan to do the smithing in the 2-3 hours a day the kids are napping?
    Not to sound like a dick here but if you think staying home with the kids will allow you to work from home, around machine tools and dangerous items, you might want to think again. Being home is a great thing to be able to do when kids a young and will be key in their development but juggling that and a job just may not work out as you'd planned.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  7. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you are going to do it on a "for profit" basis you are required to have a FFL. You
    might run into a roadblock there---not sure what the current BATFE attitude is
    on granting FFL's without a storefront.
     
  8. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    Already checked. A storefront is not required. Only a business license. I did break down and order one of the "get you home based business FFL" kit of the internet. I know it is all stuff I could figure out for myself, but this was quicker.
     
  9. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    Might want to take into account the power demands of the milling equipment against what you have currently. Sounds like a great opportunity even if you dont go the FFL route maybe you could work with another smith and still do the job you want to.
     
  10. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    That is a good point and I did. I can get one that will just meet my minimum needs but still be just a 220 circuit. If I ever need a more advanced milling machine I would have to have three phase power. Hopefully if I ever need to upgrade I will have a storefront.
     
  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Do it!

    You can get a great milling machine that runs on 220! If its a 3 phase just get a converter, mine works great! A good engine lathe it pretty handy also!

    You will need an FFL for any work you keep overnight to work on. You should have just called the BATF and asked them to send you the info and forms. Its a huge packet that they send folks that are getting sarted in the biz.
     
  12. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    Gotta agree here. I have a 6 and 5 year old, and when the wife is gone, even being able to work in the garage on some simple wood project with them awake is a bit of a challenge. We don't have any electronic babysitters or boob tube, so they want to be with us, doing what we're doing, when we're doing it. Which is great. I love teaching my kids, but I'm using a jigsaw and drill, not something as intricate and time-consuming as a lathe.

    With that said, if you can manage it, I say more power to you and good luck!
     
  13. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I've been running a 2 hp Bridgeport clone 3 phase mill on a static converter for about 10 yrs now--no problems. You lose 20-25% power with the
    converter. Converter cost was around $125 at the time. Best milling "accessory" I ever bought---a decent set of DRO's.
     
  14. thescottsmith9

    thescottsmith9 Polk County Member

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    If you took the job for a couple years, used all that money to get completely out of debt(follow Dave Ramsey's program), then go for it. And there's nothing to prevent you from starting on a part time basis now. Use the refund to get setup and going while working the job to get out of debt. Just my 2 cents worth.
     
    evltwn, borrowedsig, mjbskwim and 3 others like this.
  15. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    The only debt we have is our home. We do not even have a single credit card. With the interest rate we have on our loan paying it off does not make financial sense. Those people that tell you to be debt free are not always the right people to listen to (especially since most are selling you a product) and many financial professionals will tell you that carrying some debt is good. Especially low cost debt on an appreciable asset. The money that would be used to pay towards the house would serve us better invested in our future.

    Plus, this isn't a job I can take for a couple years. If I take it the amount of re-training I have to go through would make a short stint hard to swallow. It also is not the kind of job that would leave me enough free time to do much of anything on the side.
     
  16. skywag

    skywag On the Columbia River Active Member

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  17. billgrigsby24

    billgrigsby24 Beaverton, Or Active Member

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    Do whats best for your family! Whether it be staying home working on being a gunsmith and spending time with the kids or going to work. In my humble opinion it is better to spend time with the kids and pursue gunsmithing if there isn't a financial need to go to work. You can teach your boys and oneday they can take over for you....Legacy!!!!
     
  18. hammertime

    hammertime Oregon Member

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    Didn't you just sell a pile of your guns to meet the adoption requirements when you got the kids. Now you can open a gun smith shop in your home and possibly FFL with no issues? Do they just make you jump through the hoops then forget about you or will this be a problem down the road?
     
  19. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I spent 14 years of my life as a Custom Knifemaker. From 1983 to 1996 our son was born in Dec of 1984 and at 18 months he moved out into the shop with me when his mom went back to work full time. At first he spent the majority of the time in his playpen. Then with the store part of the shop fenced off. Then by aged 3.5 to 4 he was in the shop in the yard he went every where with me.

    At age five while attending a 1000 table Portland gun show he watched a guy pickup a 1911 style auto point it at the ceiling and dry fire it. WITHOUT CHECKING THE CHAMBER. In an instant Philip was up on his chair in a very loud voice and with authority telling the guy YOU NEVER PULL THE TRIGGER ON A FIREARM WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING THE CHAMBER. And you never handle someones gun with out asking!

    The guy who had to be 225+lbs and well over 6' looked at me and tol me to keep my kid quiet. Before I could speak up defending my son the table holder a dealer who had been at his other table talking to a customer reached up and forceably took the 1911 out of the guys hand and told him to move along. He said he would rather sell the pistol to my son then the guy at least he knows how to handle a firearm.

    He (the dealer) then asked if I would mind watching his table while he walked my son over to the snack bar for an Ice Cream cone.

    You get out of a child exactly what you put into them.

    My son is now an E5 Electronics Tech in the US NAVY he has been all over the world and done many things. And growing up with his dad in his dads shop has done nothing but good things for him..Course I think he likes his mom better.

    Never a single involvement with drugs

    Never a single involvement with the police

    No drama with girls.

    SO if Penguin is up to the challenge (granted two boys will be 3 times the work) then I say go for it.
     
  20. PlayboyPenguin

    PlayboyPenguin Pacific Northwest Well-Known Member 2016 Volunteer

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    The state can kiss my *** now. The kids are adopted and legally mine now.