Granting the designation of Master Engraver is something the Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA) does not grant lightly. And, earning this status does not come easily to most firearms engravers who generally must submit their work for examination by master engravers at the annual FEGA convention at least two or three times before being designated as a master engraver. And, most engravers perfect their work more than 10 or 15 years before feeling confident enough to be judged.
Not so for Dayton’s Ethan Thomas Galloway, who earned the coveted designation — the youngest to do so in the history of FEGA — the first time he submitted his handiwork on a rifle and gun for consideration at the recent FEGA convention held in Las Vegas on Jan. 19-21. Plus, it did not take this talented 24-year-old a decade to learn this art form where all work is done by hand using a hammer and chisels.
“I started engraving belt buckles about 3.5 years ago as a hobby to give as gifts,” he said. “I found I liked this art form and decided to do some engraving on guns. It was then my hobby soon turned serious, and I decided to turn to gun engraving professionally.”
The past 3.5 years, Galloway has been diligently working to perfect his art.
“I was aiming for the highest level and to be recognized by the Guild for the highest title in engraving is truly an honor and gives me the opportunity to attract higher end clients who want custom hand-crafted designs on their guns.”
A talented artist in many forms, Galloway began working with his hands when living at home in Dayton. He enjoyed woodworking, learning the skills from an uncle and his father who is a contractor. Most of his work resulted in carved items to present as gifts. He is a self-taught musician and enjoys piano, guitar and percussion. He has dabbled in metal sculpting crafting metal reliefs on guns and knives. He loves working on anything mechanical and is at home in the kitchen having learned culinary skills attending the Dayton High School culinary arts program, though he was home schooled and received his diploma from the state in 2012.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Brandi Gontang, on Jan. 2, 2016. A 2014 Dayton High graduate, Brandi is on the track to becoming a clinical psychologist focusing on forensics and criminal law. She will be graduating from Castleton University in Castleton, Vt., this May and is submitting applications to the University of Alabama and University of Phoenix to earn her master’s and PhD. Her career goal is to work for law enforcement or a court system.
The couple lives in Vermont until Brandi graduates and when she has finished attaining her various higher degrees, they hope to return to Northern Nevada where they both feel at home. Galloway is currently working on his website Gallowayengaving.com.