HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - There are a lot of gun owners in the Tennessee Valley. And sometimes, they want their weapon to blend in or stand out. That's when they turn to Cole Baker.
Baker Hydrographics on Huntsville's South Memorial Parkway looks like any other business on the outside, but inside, there’s a lot of camo. Cole was show us a beaver, bobcat, coyote and deer skull he had done for customers. He then picked up a shotgun stock with a camo pattern and remarked, “This is very effective in our area.”
Cold is an artist. He dips and paints a lot of different items, but specializes in firearms. He does a lot of guns. “I think last year, we did around 15 hundred total,” he said. It’s 98 percent of his business.
The hydrographics process is pretty cool. “You have to completely disassemble the gun and I don’t mean just field strip,” he said. “You have to take the trigger packs out and you have to take all the firing mechanisms out and pretty much just leave the shell.”
It’s like putting one of those temporary tattoos on your body, but without the pain. There are thousands of patterns when it comes to camo. It’s a film that is a byproduct of cow fat. Without giving away too many trade secrets, there’s ink on the film that sticks to whatever is dipped. And it doesn’t take long to do.
“Simple to do as far as the process but technique is everything.” Cole said. And he has mastered that. After whatever he is dipping comes out of the tank, it’s covered with slime. “We’ll take the slime off. It’s going to leave ink only,” Cole said holding the gunstock he’d just dipped. “It’s ready for clear. We’ll give it 24 hours. We’ll put it together. It’s ready for the field.”
Cole has found his spot in the world of small business. “We found our niche’” he said. “And it just happened to be in the gun side of things.” The business is growing. “We’ll probably do some more car parts,” he said with a smile. “But we’re going to need a bigger facility to do all that.”