Gunsmithing = Art?


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Yohan
January 8, 2003, 07:50 PM
Who else here believes that certain guns are pieces of art? I find certain guns just pleasing to look at, especially Custom 1911's and BHPs. If there is a gun that's anything BUT art, it would have to be Glocks *gag*. Would anyone like to share their pieces of "Art"? :D Here's mine

http://home.attbi.com/~gdr2004/front.jpg

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MMcCall
January 8, 2003, 07:55 PM
No offense to your PPK, but I don't consider stock, mass-production guns art. They're a product.

But when you've had someone build you a 1911 for instance, from the ground up, exactly the way you wanted it, with love and care, then hell yeah that's art, no different than sculpture. They're just sculpting away anything that isn't your 1911 ;)

Yohan
January 8, 2003, 07:57 PM
I'm glad you feel that way- But we all have a different of what exactly art is, and I'm sure someone will come along and claim that Glocks are good looking :rolleyes:

MMcCall
January 8, 2003, 08:06 PM
I'd reference you to the "Modern Art" movement.

It's still art, I guess, but to me it looks like a piece of diamond plate that someone took a dump on :D

Yohan
January 8, 2003, 08:24 PM
And to some people that is art- haha

Here is a 1911 which I think looks very snazzy. I'm not too hot about the weird holes in the trigger though- what is the function of the holes? To make it lighter?
http://www.kimberamerica.com/_images/09.1-Custom.jpg

cratz2
January 8, 2003, 08:35 PM
Yohan, if you think a stock Kimber Classic qualifies as art, you need to click on a few thumbnails on these pages:

Ned Christiansen (http://m-guns.com/gallery.php)

Dane Burns Page 1 (http://www.burnscustom.com/bestgrade.php)

Dane Burns Page 2 (http://www.burnscustom.com/showgallery.php3?galType=1911)

4v50 Gary
January 8, 2003, 08:45 PM
(With snob hat and nasal tone) Excuse me gentlemen, but what you've mistakenly call guns is sculpted art. You can clearly discern two distinctive schools with one being the German Walther school and the other the American Browning School. In the German Walther school, the artists seeks to convey the futility of evil against good. The good is emphasized by its white metal which shines as an example that mankind should aspire to. The artists also deliberately minimized it so as to illustrate that while good will prevail, evil is all around it. Hence, the struggle is great and never ceases. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Browning School. Here we immediately notice that it is substantially larger and much darker. The darkness illustrates the "wilderness" that mankind finds itself in. However, purity is attainable as illustrated by the diagonal cuts on the slide. These represent air flow, as if being lifted to the heavens. The rear sight is symbolic of an Angel's Wings and the front sight, towards man's heavenly goal. (snob hat off).

You guys didn't realize you were patrons of the arts and art collectors, did you. :o BTW, sometime this year the Minneapolis Museum of Art is suppose to have a Guns as Art display with fancy engraved guns from flintlocks to modern bolts, pumps, shotguns, etc.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2003, 08:48 PM
Leaving out such custom features as engraving or vari-colored coatings, some guns have proportions and shapes which certainly are artistic. Others are more purely functional, with less attention paid to aesthetics.

I'm partial to blued guns over stainless, but so what? I'm partial to longer-barrelled rifles, but so what? And so it goes.

Messrs. Colt and Browning seemed to have had a bit more artistic talent and a feel for ergonomics than many of their successors. The original 1873 SAAs and the original 1911 "just seem right" to me, and have for many decades. I still like the proportions and appearance of my Wby Mark V with its 26" barrel, after 30 years. And the proportions of my Ruger 77 Mk II in .223 also seem "just right" as I look at it.

But that's just me...

:), Art

Yohan
January 8, 2003, 08:51 PM
cratz2, I guess we learn something new everyday! :-D

How much do those pistols go for? I'm guessing it's more than 600... :uhoh:

Redlg155
January 8, 2003, 09:00 PM
Art?

I don't really consider the gold inlaid scroll worked weapons art, although they are very pleasing to look at. I've seen some very nice engravings on shotguns and doublt guns. The flat surfaces lend themselves well to scroll work.

What I consider as art is when someone can get an old Mauser 98 action, rebarrel it, perfect the metal work/ mechanical workings, and place it in a custom handmade stock of beautiful figured wood. Of course the rifle must be a functional shooter. That's what I consider "Art". All that other stuff just makes it prettier, but the art lies beneath. Much like the frame goes around the portrait.

The same goes for bows. There is nothing better than a handmade bow made of beautiful wood.

Good Shooting
RED

Mastrogiacomo
January 8, 2003, 09:12 PM
I can understand where Yohan is coming from, I think my Berettas are a work of art. :D However, what I REALLY think of as a masterpiece is the 92FS Special Deluxe. Now THAT'S a work of art...and out of my reach.

cratz2
January 8, 2003, 09:15 PM
I'm guessing it's more than 600...

The tactful way of answering would be, 'Yes. The may fetch well into the upper $600 range...' ;)

Still Learning
January 8, 2003, 09:15 PM
(Wearing snob tuxedo and with Charles Winchester III accent) Thank you, thank you to our esteemed speaker, Dr. 4v50 Gary. I for one found his wisdom and insights equally eloquent and enlightening. I'm sure many of you, like me, have found your passions even further stirred by his stunning, if brief, lecture on the merits of two of the finest venues of art presented this evening.

Dr. Gary has graciously consented to a brief question and answer forum to be followed by generous proportions of Port and Stilton afterwards.:D

Sven
January 8, 2003, 09:36 PM
The Valtro by John Jardine is art in my book.

http://www.imageseek.com/valtro/sven/hammer.jpg

Official Valtro Website (http://www.ValtroUSA.com)

Sven's Valtro Gallery (http://www.imageseek.com/valtro)

Okiecruffler
January 8, 2003, 09:39 PM
Pistols as art?!? never.

But an old english double, it doesn't get any better than that.

Monkeyleg
January 8, 2003, 11:15 PM
Sven, I don't know about the pistol itself, but the photography there is art.

Sure wish I could work on shooting that account.

Sven
January 8, 2003, 11:31 PM
Thanks for the compliments. New digital camera arrives tomorrow (Canon S230) and I look forward to sharing more photos with y'all.

Funny stuff about how I take gun pictures:

You like that background? That's my old sweater.

The various light sources? A desk lamp with two bulbs, an indirect light shining onto the ceiling, and last but not least my 6 D-Cell maglight in my left hand.

-sven

'Work with what is available'

Yohan
January 8, 2003, 11:47 PM
Woah, Sven- I thought that was a professionally done picture! :D Didn't realize it was your home page. What is the reason for the holes in the trigger? :uhoh:

Will Fennell
January 9, 2003, 12:18 AM
Certainly some guns jump up into the "art" range.....I wish my pitiful digital camera skills were up to the level of the subject, but My Beretta DT10 just came back from .....

www.bobscustomgunshop.com

.....where it got totally refinished, and restocked in Turkish Walnut, and some very artful checkering:D I'll try to get better pics later...its more "artful" than my pics show.

Porter Rockwell
January 9, 2003, 12:30 AM
Well then, it certainly must be true that the American school system has dumbed down the populace!
How in the world can one person be called an artist when all they've done is assemble a menagerie of other peoples parts and then have yet another person finish said pile of parts??
Ladies and gentlemen let's get a grip on reality shall we?
ART as defined by me and some of my coffee table books
Michelangelo
Leonardo da Vinci
The Art of Olivia (big grin!)
and what I consider a stretch but still..The Art of the Rifle
Korth builds a gun from a block of steel that far exceeds the quality of any American gun I can think of yet comparing a machinist to a Leonardo is beyond my comprehension.
In the cold hard light of day one has to admit that many of the name gunsmiths are not so much as machinists much less a tool and die maker and damned sure not Artists.
Fact, an apprentice machinist can easily make a simple screw quickly and easily with a lathe.
Care to guess how many smithys I've visited that couldn't run a screw without much complication?
Thanks for the topic sir!

charlie d
January 9, 2003, 12:46 AM
Sven said:
"The various light sources? A desk lamp with two bulbs, an indirect light shining onto the ceiling, and last but not least my 6 D-Cell maglight in my left hand. "

That's art.
Great shot Sven!

Pendragon
January 9, 2003, 04:07 AM
Hmm, was it "in the eye of the beholder"? or was it "I may not know it, but I know what I like"?

Have not heard a single good word about Korths.

cratz2
January 9, 2003, 08:08 AM
I think the holes (or slots) in the triggers is to lighten the triggers in an effort to make the trigger pull as light as possible. From way back in the day... Now many 1911s with 2lb pulls and the ones with 7lb pulls both have holes in the triggers.

Many folks still prefer the solid trigger.

cordex
January 9, 2003, 09:18 AM
Well then, it certainly must be true that the American school system has dumbed down the populace!
How in the world can one person be called an artist when all they've done is assemble a menagerie of other peoples parts and then have yet another person finish said pile of parts??
Ladies and gentlemen let's get a grip on reality shall we?
Tell, me ... are the photographs of paintings printed in your coffee-table magazines art? How can you call someone who merely compiles a bunch of pictures that other people took of someone else's design and then sent it to a publishing house to be printed an artist?
Or maybe you aren't calling the person who actually compiled or printed the book artists, but the originators of the pictured designs themselves. In much the same spirit, I don't think that others in this thread are referring to Gun Assembly Worker #5 (Joe Smith) as the artist. They're talking about the designers, and even some of the better 'smiths who can turn a hunk of steel (or wood, or plastic, or ivory or whatever the medium) into something pleasing to the eye and functional at the same time. They're not talking about the 'smiths that buy a bunch of "Drop in" parts and replace the internals on someone's 10/22 for a few hundred bucks.
Believe it or not, there are good gunsmiths.
Korth builds a gun from a block of steel that far exceeds the quality of any American gun I can think of yet comparing a machinist to a Leonardo is beyond my comprehension.
In the cold hard light of day one has to admit that many of the name gunsmiths are not so much as machinists much less a tool and die maker and damned sure not Artists.
Fact, an apprentice machinist can easily make a simple screw quickly and easily with a lathe.
Care to guess how many smithys I've visited that couldn't run a screw without much complication?
Da Vinci was a machinist, after a fashion. An inventor of not only beauty, but of weaponry and tools. Surely you are familiar with his mechanical inclination as well.
But I'm confused by your reasoning here.
1. Comparing Leonardo da Vinci to a machinist is ignorant.
2. Gunsmiths aren't always trained as machinists.
3. Therefore, gunsmiths deserve less artistic appreciation than a machinist.

Don't follow.

Can an architect be an artist? Certainly! Whether or not he could actually wire a breaker-box, no?

"Art" is not only the pretty pictures of paintings in expensive, glossy magazines to impress visitors. "Art" is not merely a shaped lump of clay, nor a meaningless jumble of colors or welded scrap metal with an obscure title. "Art" need not be misunderstood, exclusively owned or rarely seen, nor need it be enjoyed with fine wine or $10 coffee.

Yes, a gun can be art. Even a gun that is reproduced a hundred thousand times. Reproduction does not diminish the creation, it merely allows more people to appreciate it first-hand.

So I grok.

Sean Smith
January 9, 2003, 09:25 AM
How in the world can one person be called an artist when all they've done is assemble a menagerie of other peoples parts and then have yet another person finish said pile of parts??
Ladies and gentlemen let's get a grip on reality shall we?

Here is a "grip on reality" for you: what you described isn't how a good pistolsmith makes a custom gun. :rolleyes:

Yohan
January 9, 2003, 04:22 PM
comparing a machinist to a Leonardo is beyond my comprehension

http://www.saburchill.com/history/chapters/IR/images/0085.jpg
http://images.webshots.com/ProThumbs/71/8071_wallpaper110.jpg
Somehow, that doesn't surprise me that this would be "beyond" your comprehension.
all they've done is assemble a menagerie of other peoples parts and then have yet another person finish said pile of parts

Oh yeah, how easy is this?
http://homepage.floodcity.net/users/nj3t/parts.jpg

It's your opinions :rolleyes:

cordex
January 9, 2003, 04:28 PM
Oh yeah, how easy is this?
Very.
But that's beside the point.
(If you're interested in learning, PM me)

Sean Smith
January 9, 2003, 05:51 PM
:rolleyes:

Bostonterrier97
January 9, 2003, 05:51 PM
I consider Engraved Single Action Revolvers to be Art, such as this sidearm worn by General Patton

http://www.bobtuley.com/images/patton_colt640comp.jpg

Ed Brunner
January 9, 2003, 07:23 PM
If so, a few thoughts.
Is Patton's SA considered art or is it art upon art ?
If form follows function, then JMB's 1911 is hard to beat.
And what about the elegant beauty of the M1 Rifle?

Alright. So I'm old.

Yohan
January 9, 2003, 07:25 PM
I love the old M1's- Call me old fashioned, but I think wooden rifles look much better than the all black ones.

4v50 Gary
January 9, 2003, 07:57 PM
Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Performing Arts... It's all in the eye of the beholder. Wait until that Minneapolis exhibit open guys. I'll take time off just to see that exhibit. Guns, guns, guns... Richly engraved and relief carved wood. Fit for a king.

My standards? If I can make it, then it can't be art.

Penman
January 9, 2003, 08:11 PM
"Skill without imagination is craftsmanship. Imagination without skill is modern art." - Tom Stoppard

kcrowder
January 9, 2003, 09:04 PM
A couple of those guns from Dane were/are mine. I sold one of them because I felt stupid not shooting it and just pulling it out of my safe to look at, I now feel really stupid for having sold it.

Some might not find it all that hard to build a gun, Dane has told me it isn't, but to make it look like some of the pictures you've seen, best of luck.:)

Art Eatman
January 9, 2003, 10:11 PM
Porter, it seems to me you're imposing limits on "gunsmith" and "machinist" which might not be apropos.

I'd agree that one who merely assembles parts is no artist--but I don't think folks are talking about that sort of gunsmith.

A gunsmith could well be a Samuel Colt, who not only did the mechanical design but considered the shape and proportions and came up with something which not only functioned but was pleasing to the eye. Not only that, he did it more than once!

:), Art

Porter Rockwell
January 9, 2003, 10:15 PM
Hello, fantastic cut and paste work!
I wasn't intending a "flame" post but was attempting to post a personal opinion.
My children learned detail stripping 1911s when they were pre-teen ladies. No, not difficult at all. Brownings design is genius, it's very simple once shown how it works.
The word artist is thrown around often and IMO very loosely, even the people on the boob tube that are adept at reading teleprompters are called stars and artists. That's quite a change from when they were merely traveling minstrels.
The engraving these days may well be done by an artist or someone who's good at operating a duplication engraver.

Porter Rockwell
January 9, 2003, 10:42 PM
Thanks for the comments Mr Eatman, the times and titles have certainly changed in my short sixty years and thusly am a product of my own experiences.
dare I compare a handgun to a hammer or a highly polished and finished Snap On ratchet? A firearm is simply a tool after all, many may be customized to suit an individuals tastes or unique environments. I wonder why we don't see more engraved and plated golf clubs? Sorry, I was visualizing how we as Americans try so hard to be different by customizing everthing from cars and Harleys to stereos and computers.
I guess I just don't recall all the adjectives and detailed exclaimations when Clark/Pachmeyer/Swenson etc were quietly building match winning 1911s. Nowdays it seems most anyone can hang the gunsmith shingle out and subcontract the lions share of the work and get the credit?
Should I ask how many of the 1911 smiths can turn out their own handmade rifle recievers like Ed Brown or build the entire barrel action like Hart?
I apologise for pontificating at length.

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