A few years ago I read a newspaper interview with a shotgun manufacturer – high status, expensive, bespoke sporting guns – and their apprentices.
For the first year (at this particular manufacturer), the apprentice learns to carve the stock of a shotgun from a block of burr walnut.
No metalwork, no ballistics, no mechanics.
Just carving a block of wood.
It weeds out those apprentices who just want to make guns. They leave.
The ones who stay are those who have the patience to spend years making a matched pair of bespoke sporting guns that sell for upwards of £50,000.
“A bespoke gun is unique in that it is fitted to the customer, like a tailor makes a suit to be fitted onto his client. A shotgun or sporting rifle made for a specific owner will be unique, have durability, and suit the individual need of the customer in terms of weight and feel. It is also a thing of beauty and elegance. The hand-made gun is a very personal thing and there will always be a demand for them.” – John Hogan (Sporting Gun)
The reason this comes to mind right now is partly due to the post over on Dean Wesley Smith’s site, “Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing: #2… Self Publishing is Easy” and partly from my ongoing thoughts about writing, self-publishing and endurance.
Many of the people I follow online have been in the writing business, and the publishing industry, much longer than I have. Envy of their position is not sensible. Some of those folk have been published writers since before I could write.
The most wonderful part of this, however, is that so many people are willing to share their experience and knowledge for free, on their blogs and websites, like having a master in that craft to teach those of us who are still at the early stages of our apprenticeship.
I have a lot more burr walnut to carve.