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GUNS Magazine December 2011 Digital Edition - Page 30

• h A M I L t O N S . B O W E N • And why everybody needs to know one. corners occupied by stands with firearms in various states of disrepair, and maybe a poster or two of some guns up on the wall. Out of this physical plant emerges the finished product, typically produced along the lines of sausage— which nobody should ever watch done. while it is true physical resources are critical to the proprietor’s success, his human resources are just as important, because without them the enterprise will surely fail. No matter how smart your pet gunsmith is, he will inevitably encounter problems that are simply insurmountable with his equipment and skill. No amount of study of manual or gunsmithing text will get you through some difficulties with uncooperative guns, tools or processes. What separates the men from the boys is the wisdom to recognize their limitations, and have written by the phone the numbers of vital human resources to call upon in time of crisis. I may not be the brightest star in the firmament but my momma didn’t raise no fool, so I have spent a lifetime accumulating friends who are sources of skills, gear and knowledge which I do not have. You should, too. My gang has done a lot of bacon saving during my career. I’ll tell about a few of them but you can’t have their phone numbers; some names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike. The smartest human being I know Jerry kuhnhausen’s excellent manual notwithstanding, for most of us, the bowels of a colt new service are terra incognita. thar be dragons. thE SMARtESt Man I KnOW hen most of us ponder gunsmithing shops, we conjure w up visions of a building chock full of machines, tools, fixtures, vats of unappealing liquids, hoppers of gun parts, an example of astonishing welding; these tiny beads admit no caffeine shakes. we’ll just call Norman. And I know lots of smart people. My wonderful pa-in-law is a physician with a PhD in neuroanatomy from the University of Chicago; my friend Dusty D. is a Guggenheim fellow and worked for the Smithsonian National Museums; lawyer pal Bill H. is whip sharp and a terror before the benches of Kentucky courts. But Norman is much smarter than these dullards. He is a tool-&-die maker of incredible skill, experience and imagination. Lucky for me, he is also a real gun junky, which may account for why he takes pity on me and constantly bails me out of the situations into which I seem to blunder from time to time. An utterly unassuming chap who looks like Santa Clause on spring break, Norman probably has an IQ of 278. Aside from the innumerable broken taps he has removed and counsel given on materials and heat-treatment, he also has several Holy Grail machines in the form of wire EDM (electro discharge machining) equipment and burns out our 5-shot moon clips for the .50 Redhawks we build occasionally. True enough, other people have these and do fine work with them but Norman buys them at surplus, then repairs and reconditions them. This is akin to preparing the space shuttle for launch for most of us. Our wizard welder Bill M. from Texas is another resource who enables us to produce some fairly sophisticated work. The most skilled TiG welder I know, he works in the oil industry and 30 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • DECEMBER 2011

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