He has orders from gun collectors who purchase old firearms with faded engravings.
“I increase the value of old guns by re-engraving them,” he said. “As long as I follow the pattern already on the firearm, I can sometimes triple the value. I do a lot of engraving for sheriff departments.”
The blacksmith picked up a tiny chisel that fit in the palm of his hand for use on small guns and weapons. He’ll sit on a stool in front of a microscope for fine detail work. For rifles and shotguns with longer barrels, he’ll use a hammer and chisel to do engravings. It saves time and stress on his arms and neck, Miller added.
In the first room of his workshop, he has a display of Bowie knives with a variety of decorative handles and guards.
“The shape of the guard tells what country it is from,” he said, and picked up a sheath hanging by a knife. “The sheaths are custom-made to fit the knife. I have an Amish gentleman who does customized leather work for me.”
What question do most people ask him the most — how long does it take to make a knife?
“No less than 10 hours and as much as 60 hours for a piece,” he said.
Why does he spend so much time doing the work by hand?
“It’s quality work and I didn’t want to lose the art of hand-forging. I have no one to pass the art on to so I want as many people to enjoy my work as they can,” Miller said, smiling.
Just the Facts Name: Terry L. Miller Sr. Age: 52 Current town: Howe Married: Debra Miller Hobbies and interests: "My wife and I participate in SASS, a cowboy action society. We do cowboy action shooting and compete for shooting times. Safety is the number one goal and we learn the proper handling of guns. We dress up in cowboy and cowgirl costumes. We go by aliases, so my wife is Buckshot Lily and I am Indiana Carver."