Lee’s note: I’ve seen a lot of painted guns, but few as impressive as Dave Rickel’s of Jacksonville’s Florida Custom Weapon Finishing.
Here’s his story and some examples of his firearms art:
Dave grew up hunting rabbit, squirrels and deer in the woods of central Ohio.
After the military brought him to North Florida, he became increasingly frustrated to return from a day in the field to find rust forming on his firearms prior being able to properly clean them. The sudden unexpected Florida rains, humidity and perspiration were all contributing factors.
Dave began to research an alternative firearm finish that would help with the rusting problem. Bluing did not seem to be working that well and while a parkerized finish did okay, it required a coat of oil to be effective.
As a hunter, he was uncomfortable wiping down his firearms prior to the hunt with oil. Whether real or perceived, he felt like he was introducing unnatural scents and unnatural colors into the Florida wild which would make him more detectable to the game he was pursuing.
There is not anything in nature that smells like gun oil and the only animal in the Florida woods that is a black as a gun is a bear, a predator that the other animals stay away from. At that time, camo tape was available that some hunters were using to mask their gun, but then you would be left with residue all over and it could trap moisture.
He learned Lauer Custom Weaponry had developed a firearm finish called DuraCoat, which did not need a coat of oil to prevent rust and you could create a custom camouflage design. He was impressed with the good reviews for DuraCoat and decided to visit the factory for training on how to apply it. He had the opportunity to get instruction from the inventor of the product, Steve Lauer.
At that time, there were only a few DuraCoat businesses in Florida and none in the Jacksonville area.
Dave and his wife Sandy formed Florida Custom Weapon Finishing in 2011. There, Dave DuraCoats and parkerizes firearms.
At FCWF, Dave uses the manufacturer recommended process for applying DuraCoat: disassemble, degrease, parkerize metal (if applicable), apply DuraCoat, clear coat and reassemble.
FCWF sells and transfers firearms including Class 3 NFA items and provides concealed carry instruction. Whether your tastes range from “tacticool” or hunter camouflage, DuraCoat allows you to personalize your favorite firearm while preserving it and protecting it from rust.
Best of all for hunters, it allows you to have a little extra confidence that you have minimized the use of smelly oils, are better able to disappear in the woods when hunting and your gun is well protected from the elements.
You can see examples of Dave’s work on Florida Custom Weapon Finishing’s facebook page as well as on Jim Hill’s “HrntFixr” YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/HrntFixr.
Contact Dave or Sandy at email@example.com for all your firearm needs.