Thirty years of Experience.
In his shop near Tyler, Texas, one can still find an engraver totally
immersed in his craft using hand made tools to enhance a hand gun or rifle with
famous cattle brands. David Wade Harris born July 11, 1963 in Oak Cliff, a Dallas
suburb, is a master engraver who was taught hand engraving by the late, renowned,
Ft. Worth engraver, Weldon Bledsoe who in turn learned from famous Cole Agee.
David’s wife was instrumental in him having the opportunity to meet Weldon
Bledsoe in the 1980’s. She was working for the plating company where Mr.
Bledsoe took his guns and had Mr. Bledsoe engrave a firearm for David for
Christmas. David immediately became interested in learning to engrave firearms.
However, before Weldon would take him on as his student Mr. Harris had to
convince him that he was seriously interested in keeping the legendary engraving
style alive . Bledsoe stated that he would not teach anyone else to engrave because
prior apprentices would not carry on the tradition as he had taught them.
Weldon Bledsoe taught David Harris that an engraver does not pick
up a hammer and chisel and start right in any more than a painter picks up a brush
and starts putting strokes on a canvas.
David says, “After looking an area over for a little while a pattern just comes
to mind or is visualized. Once I see the pattern in my mind..... I really just trace the
image that I see there. Also, I can duplicate patterns and pictures from seeing other
The technique is as follows:
First: Rub or dab beeswax onto the area to be drawn on.
Second: Dust talc or baby powder on it so as to give a white area to draw in.
Third: Draw in the powder.
Fourth: Use hammer and chisel to work in the design.
“I use many different types, sizes, and shapes of chisels. But about 90% of
my work is done with the chisel that Weldon taught me to make, the same as Cole
taught him to make. It is the key to this craft or way of engraving.”
Just as he was taught to do, David Wade Harris works in solitude using the
same style tools that have been in use for over 300 years. He is an artist. His canvas
is a firearm. With hand made tools instead of paints and brushes Mr. Harris
transforms an ordinary rifle or hand gun into a work of fine art. His work is sought
after world wide.
Mr. Harris has engraved firearms for Texas Rangers and law enforcement
individuals as well as many wealthy and famous people. He was commissioned in
1992 by "America Remembers” to engrave a signed and numbered series of 200
Winchester 94s with famous cattle brands (The American Cowboy Tribute).
David Wade Harris
320 CR 1405 Jacksonville, Texas 75766