Lafayette couple engrave weapons for Rugged Ironworx

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Larry and Andrea Mosher work together full-time to create and engrave handmade items to sell at their Lafayette store, but they call it a fluke.

The couple moved to Acadiana from Missouri in 1995 and made it their home. Larry Mosher worked at sea as a commercial diver for years, but they were looking for a business they could build together that would keep him home longer.

They considered being franchisees of a Subway restaurant, working in Amazon delivery, or spraying guns for law enforcement as GunBusters.

Nothing quite appropriate though, until Larry saw a video of someone engraving guns with lasers.

He spoke with a friend of his who runs a gun shop, and the Moshers bought their own laser and trained in San Antonio.

From there, Rugged Ironworx LLC was born, and Larry hasn’t been overseas since.

“I said, ‘We’re going to do all of this or not at all,'” Andrea Mosher said.

Today, they have three different machines: one for engraving wood, leather, glass and stone; another for firearms, metal and polymer; then a plasma cutter to cut metal shapes.

They started the work outside their house, but quickly realized they needed a separate space. The building they found and loved was bigger than they needed, so they turned the extra space into a store, where customers can find personalized travel mugs, tomahawks with patriotic engravings on the blade and crochet baby blankets.

“Having a store wasn’t in the plans, but we had the space,” Andrea said. “It just evolved.”

Much of their engraving work involves repairing or adding items purchased elsewhere, such as adding a birth date to an urn or customizing pet urns.

They’ve engraved large and small, from the inside of wedding rings to saw blades to a large brass bell for a man retiring from the Navy. This project was special for Larry, a veteran himself.

Some projects have come with a little more fame, such as the recent engraving of props for a film shot in the area and a gift from Congressman Clay Higgins to President Donald Trump.

These examples only reinforce the demand for personalized gifts, which drives the work of the Moshers.

“I was just tired of Wal-Mart freebies — things anyone can get,” Larry said. “People want tailor-made.”

That’s why they create wooden and slate cutting boards engraved with a family member’s handwritten recipe, as well as wooden cubes and leather photo frames showing weight, height and more. statistics of a baby at birth.

Married for 14 years, the Moshers bring various strengths to the company, including skills acquired in the past.

His time as a commercial diver is useful not only for the actual soldering, but also for solving problems, such as building a platform to hold the brass bell at a right angle to etch its rounded edges.

He does a lot of woodworking and welding, while Andrea helps with the designs, crochets and ties the fabric and thread into the decorations, Christmas ornaments and plant hangers.

“My mom taught me when I was about 10,” she said. “We used to do all that stuff.”

Her hands move, creating new products as she walks back and forth from work with Larry.

“We get along very well,” Andrea said. “I love working with him.”

“Not everyone can do it,” Larry said. “We see things differently. It works well.”

They enjoyed working together and meeting new people in the store, but helping customers find the perfect gift can be difficult, they admit.

And then there are the demands of running their own business. They work almost every day, even when the store is closed, even from home, and they haven’t taken a vacation in two years since they opened their store.