Is repair work misleading? Not if it’s done properly, says Tim Greenwood.
The pictures on this page may give you a touch of Déjà vu – yes, they are the same two that appeared in last month’s article, which was about a repair we did on a Browning Heritage Sideplate stock. By now I am sure you are asking “Has Greenwood finally lost his mind repeating last month’s article?” The answer is no, not yet.
So why am I showing these pictures again? Well when we put them up on our Facebook page, they provoked a comment from one of our followers that I feel warrants further discussion with you all as shooters and gun owners.
I will not reproduce the comment in full, for fear of embarrassing the gentleman in question, but the gist of it was that repairing a stock to this standard could be seen as dishonest because a potential future purchaser would not be able to tell that it had been broken. The hypothetical buyer would therefore pay more for the gun than they would believe it was worth were they advised of the break or able to see that the gun had been broken.
I have to say, this is the first time it has been suggested that we are dishonest because we are good at our profession. Firstly, let me reiterate what I said last month: this gun was bought by a gentleman who intends to keep it forever and pass it down through his family; secondly, we do not buy and sell guns so no there is no dishonesty there.
The real crux of this argument, I believe, is whether the repair is undertaken with the intent to deceive. A shoddy repair just to get rid of a gun is a different matter to a professional job. The availability and cost of a new stock compared to a gun’s overall value must also be taken into consideration.
Have a look at the picture to the right; this is of two old and not particularly valuable side-by-sides that we repaired at the end of last year. Given their price tags of around £800-1500 each, neither gun warranted re-stocking, yet repaired properly the guns could both serve their owners and their owners’ descendants for many years to come.
A proper repair starts with joining the stocks back together, then drilling down through the heads and inserting a hardwood dowel secured in place with flexible two-part resin. The actions are then re-headed around the dowels, the chequering re-cut and the stock locally re-finished.
When we were finished with the guns there was no sign that the stock had been repaired. So the question arises again: is this dishonest because we are good at what we do and give our customers a first class job? The repair is very strong – probably stronger than the original stock. We have only had one such repair come back in the last 15 years, and that had been trodden on (although the owner swore it was a fat Labrador).
Let’s think about barrels. Most of us get a dent in our barrels every now and then; is having the barrel repaired then re-blacked by a competent gunsmith dishonest? Should we declare upon selling the gun that this has happened? If you have neglected your barrels and they have to be honed to remove light pitting or the ribs have come lose at some time but have been properly relayed by a competent gunsmith, should you have to declare this upon selling the gun to avoid the accusation of dishonesty?
You may remember last month (yes, a touch of Déjà vu again) we showed you how we make and replace badly mauled screws, and gave the example of one that we recently turned out for a Beretta SO4. After the engraving around the new screw had been re-run to match the crispness of its design, it looked like it had always belonged. Is this dishonest?
The owner just wanted to possess a beautiful, unblemished gun, he wasn’t trying to fool anyone. If he wishes to sell the gun at some point, should he have to declare that the screw has been replaced, or should it be up to potential purchasers to be aware that second hand guns are just that: second hand, not brand new out of the box?
Do repairs matter if they have been carried out competently? I don’t think so – and fortunately neither do the many customers we work for each year.
And here’s the real kicker regarding this gentleman’s comment: upon further investigation we found out that he was a second hand car dealer!
Enough said, I think.