Modern Hi End Shotguns and their engravings. Some observations...

gomotomoto

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Feb 1, 2023
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I've always been fascinated by the engravings on shotguns. Specifically, the ones that were done by hand, not the ones that were cut with a laser.

I'm interested in learning how to engrave, but now that I'm looking at these engravings with a more educated eye, I'm shocked at the price of basic engravings considering the amount of talent out there.

The upcharge for basic engravings in the 10k range look more like 1k engravings to me.

I'm interested in what you guys think about engravings on shotguns and their upcharges.
 

allan621

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I had a customer come into my engraving shop and asked for a quote. I gave him one which he thought was too high. He asked me to justify my price. Thought about it for a couple of minutes trying to think of how to justify my price. And then it occurred to me the answer. I told him, the price is the price and it’s not going to change, so it’s up to you to justify whether you want to spend the money.

Allan
 

gomotomoto

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I had a customer come into my engraving shop and asked for a quote. I gave him one which he thought was too high. He asked me to justify my price. Thought about it for a couple of minutes trying to think of how to justify my price. And then it occurred to me the answer. I told him, the price is the price and it’s not going to change, so it’s up to you to justify whether you want to spend the money.

Allan
 

gomotomoto

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It’s just that I see the commercial side of things clearer now I know a little more. John B is right I also think that there’s more value to be had north of 10k than below it. I can see the difference between “fill it with something” vs a real effort and talent. Always spoke to me but had no idea scrollwork was so special.
 

monk

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I had a customer come into my engraving shop and asked for a quote. I gave him one which he thought was too high. He asked me to justify my price. Thought about it for a couple of minutes trying to think of how to justify my price. And then it occurred to me the answer. I told him, the price is the price and it’s not going to change, so it’s up to you to justify whether you want to spend the money.

Allan
it took me awhile, but i finally adopted an answer quite similar to yours.
 

Roger Bleile

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I've always been fascinated by the engravings on shotguns. Specifically, the ones that were done by hand, not the ones that were cut with a laser.

I'm interested in learning how to engrave, but now that I'm looking at these engravings with a more educated eye, I'm shocked at the price of basic engravings considering the amount of talent out there.

The upcharge for basic engravings in the 10k range look more like 1k engravings to me.

I'm interested in what you guys think about engravings on shotguns and their upcharges.
Many of the fine engraved guns that you have seen have well over 200 hours of work in them, some with as much as 1,000 hours. A top master engraver should be able to command at least $100.USD (or its equivalent) per hour. That includes all of the expenses of tools, materials, administrative expenses of self-employment, and of course taxes. Also include time to design one-of-a-kind designs before the engraving starts. As an example, most auto dealerships charge well in excess of $100. per hour shop time.
 

gomotomoto

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I probably didn't elaborate on my initial post. I fully get fair rates for skilled labor. Guns that have genuine effort put into them should fetch big money. It is a work of art when done right. I'm referring to something rushed for production's sake and fetching a +10K simply because the space was taken up.
 

Webb

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Although I’m not an engraver, I believe this crosses all industries. You never have to justify your price. A customer demanding you to justify is probably one you don’t want.
That being said if you can’t get any work you’re probably overpricing yourself. If you’re drowning in a backlog of work you’re underpricing yourself.
 

EngraverHand

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You say you are fascinated by the engraving, you want to learn engraving and now you are looking at the engravings with a more educated eye..

May I ask what education or experience you are talking about? Have you started to learn engraving or tried to engrave at all?

Since you say the 10k engraving looks more like 1k engraving, I expect you have at least a few hours or experience in engraving in stainless steel, doing multi color gold inlay, probably some bulino for a game scene right? Or what experience are you using thinking it’s only worth 1/10th. of the price?

would you mind posting a photo of a 10k engraving that looks like a 1k engraving and explain how you calculate why it’s 9k less?

looking forward to your reply.
 

allan621

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I taught someone who wanted to do scroll engraving but had no experience in it. I don't have any experience either but I have practiced enough to know I should stay with jewelry. The student kept showing me examples from the net that he thought were pretty good. They weren't.

The thing is that if you haven't any experience in just looking at scroll engraving, it seems pretty much all the same. But the more you do look at it carefully, and then keep looking even more carefully, the eyes and the brain adapt to what's going on so you should be at least able to see the difference between the the good and the not so good.

My student kept with it and was soon to be able to spot the difference between great and genius. I arranged to send him off to study with Ray Cover and that made an enormous difference since Ray could explain things better than I possibly could. And he became a great scroll engraver. And then he went into tattooing. Oh Well.

Allan
 

Goldjockey

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I had a customer come into my engraving shop and asked for a quote. I gave him one which he thought was too high. He asked me to justify my price. Thought about it for a couple of minutes trying to think of how to justify my price. And then it occurred to me the answer. I told him, the price is the price and it’s not going to change, so it’s up to you to justify whether you want to spend the money.

Allan
Bravo! Always the right answer.
 
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I've always been fascinated by the engravings on shotguns. Specifically, the ones that were done by hand, not the ones that were cut with a laser.

I'm interested in learning how to engrave, but now that I'm looking at these engravings with a more educated eye, I'm shocked at the price of basic engravings considering the amount of talent out there.

The upcharge for basic engravings in the 10k range look more like 1k engravings to me.

I'm interested in what you guys think about engravings on shotguns and their upcharges.
I have tried my hand for at least several hundred hours at engraving now, but my main thing has been jewelry and jewelry repair. I can say that if you are asking this question, you must've not tried your hand at it long enough to know the difference between a 1k and 10k engraving. Even with hundreds of hours I still don't. I almost didn't even try engraving at all because of how supremely difficult the skill ceiling looked, and it turns out I was right about my deduction. It is supremely difficult, and the skill ceiling is very high. Even though I've engraved things with very straight lines and such, I don't have the guts to think I could charge even 1k right now.
 

Leland Davis

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This was in my other business but the reply would still work for Allan's situation. I had a young guy just out of college take over 1 of the golf courses I contracted for. Our first meeting he told me how he was going to do things much different than the normal practices. I took that as an opportunity to learn something new I asked him why. His response was because I have a 75000 education and you don't. as I contemplated whether to walk away or knock him on his arrogant little backside I said your right I don't my education was much more expensive 30 years of my life, he was fired 2 months later.
 
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This was in my other business but the reply would still work for Allan's situation. I had a young guy just out of college take over 1 of the golf courses I contracted for. Our first meeting he told me how he was going to do things much different than the normal practices. I took that as an opportunity to learn something new I asked him why. His response was because I have a 75000 education and you don't. as I contemplated whether to walk away or knock him on his arrogant little backside I said your right I don't my education was much more expensive 30 years of my life, he was fired 2 months later.
I have another good one for you: A kid at work (19 years old or so) asked me if I thought he could last 30 seconds in the ring against a semi-pro boxer. I told him I'd give him 10 seconds at most. He didn't think I was giving him enough credit, but I told him he didn't know just how good a boxer is. I think most people don't realize how incompetent they are at something until they get really good at it, and then can reflect on just how bad they were in the beginning.
 

allan621

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Michael... Reminds me of this. Young fit guy in the ring with a much older experienced boxer. Only 12 seconds total

_HJiOc-qNik
 

tdelewis

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Most people look at the engravings; and ask how long did it take you? They don't understand that there is much time put in before you even touch the metal. I sometimes will put as much time in drawing and design as engraving. I am currently working on a new custom 1885 Winchester action. I have done many drawings on paper. I haven't got one that I think will do but I think I am getting close. It is almost like an author writing a story. You draw. You edit. You draw some more and edit again, etc. Some people are much better at drawing and go to the metal. I can't I need to see it on paper before I do anything. Preparing the metal and drawing can be very time consuming.
 
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