“I’ve actually done more pistols than long guns,” says Jeff Loehr, engraver and jeweler. “It’s a smaller format, less space to fill. I can fit the whole gun in my vise and in some cases it may take only 12 hours total to finish the piece.”
“The most popular seems to be the M1911 because that’s a gun nobody wants to get rid of — and you engrave guns you plan on keeping!”
Jeff’s pistol engravings have included Ruger Blackhawks, Vaqueros, Smith & Wessons, Colts, and even a set of High Standard derringers. “Those derringers were for a lady who was a huge High Standard collector,” explains Jeff. She commissioned me to engrave and gold-inlay both pieces. She has passed away but her sons put the set together as a memoriam presentation.”
The derringers are regularly displayed across the nation.
Jeff’s gold inlay creates a truly beautiful, finished look to any piece. “I use 24 karat gold wire,” he furthers, “and carve a line and then go in with a chisel-tipped engraving tool and hammer and undercut the lines so a cut goes in at an angle, both sides. Then I take the 24 karat gold wire and hammer the wire down into the lines. It pushes into the v-cut and holds in the channel.
“That takes longer to do than the engraving!” he laughs.