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The last time I even saw one, none the least had one in my hand they were crap, now I'm talking at least 20 years ago, could be totally different by now. Huck Spaulding was the originator of the cheap china import. From the stories I remember, and maybe some of the older tattoo artist remember better than I do, Huck was the original send it to china to be duplicated and sold to anyone with money. Back thru my time which started in 1970, Huck Spaulding was not a very well liked person in the tattoo community. I personaly as a tattoo artist try my best not to support any supply co. that will sell to anyone artist or not. Sorry to bore you with the history lesson:cool:

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No not a problem, if anything it helped! thanks a lot, I'm just starting out, I work at a shop in Indiana. I'm just looking for a decent machine to start out with thats not going to break me too much. Mind you I'm still trying to get through college too. But, I've always been great at juggling two things at once. It's especially challenging to do two things at once though when either of these two are hard enough doing by themselves. But, I'll make it happen! Like I said just looking for good quality and a realistic price for a 20 year old college kid.

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People that have been tattooing for a long while know how hard of a craft tattooing is. I remember how crazy my 1+ years of college was. There was no way I could do both at the same time. I would definately be failing at one if not be a D+ student at both. D+ tattooer is not what I'm trying to be. Maybe you are different though. Maybe you CAN excel at both, together.

Also, if you are serving an apprenticeship at a shop, you should be having machine recommendation conversations with your mentor. He or she should have enough experience to point you in the right direction instead of you asking strangers online.

Another thing, if you really wanna sign up for the big race, do you really wanna be wearing pro wings? There are plenty of good machine builders out there. (hint*one partly RUNS THIS FORUM!!!!), but again, your mentor should be advising you. My machines are an investment to my trade not a chore in my craft.

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i average about 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night trying to do both, because theyre both something i love, i wouldnt put down one to do another. its hard to believe but i actually love both the classroom environment and the tattooing environment. i havent been doing it long and i already know the determination and dedication that this craft takes. It doesnt fall into your lap. i can see clearly what stress a tattooer has gone through to make him who he is today. He has already told me that the machines i mentioned were shit, before i even posted this, maybe i didnt do my homework enough to know that the company chose quantity over quality with building their machines. But i try to be open minded and being that this is a forum with hundreds of experienced artists i thought maybe i could get different opinions. since im still wet behind the ears to this profession, im sure every respectable tattooer out there has been in the same position as me right now, id like to be as big as a sponge i could be. i'd rather be getting different opinions and views from everybody than just limiting myself to one spot (<- not saying that that's bad).

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I wish i couldve grown up and learned during the times you guys had the opportunity of. Unfortunately, being born in 1990 i was born into the age where there are tv shows about "rockstar wannabe tattooers", facebook, and all that other shit. I respect the hard work you guys pulled off to be able to be in the presence of some the best tattooers to pick up a machine.

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You are right, there is no harm. You have some sort of agreement with somebody in a shop to teach you how to tattoo. You should respect/trust their opinion regarding equipment. Getting their opinion and then asking others just doesn't sound right.

I hope it all works out for you. And you wouldn't want to learn from the folks some of us "older" people have learned from. It sucked! I believe there is a topic regarding apprenticeship stories

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I like that the advice given has been positive and constructive rather than bashing so thanks guys this is what we are going for.

HW., have you seen this thread about what some of these guys went through:

Apprenticeship horror stories

Also you have seen our Tattoo Marketplace right? The guys selling their stuff here are doing it at their own discretion and decide who they will sell to as they are not random mass produced supply companies selling tattoo machines to just make money. I am not a tattooer but do know these guys get praise for their machines and tattoos so maybe save some money and try to get one as was suggested. Or another quality machine.

Hope this helps and thanks for joining our forum.

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You are right, there is no harm. You have some sort of agreement with somebody in a shop to teach you how to tattoo. You should respect/trust their opinion regarding equipment. Getting their opinion and then asking others just doesn't sound right.

I hope it all works out for you. And you wouldn't want to learn from the folks some of us "older" people have learned from. It sucked! I believe there is a topic regarding apprenticeship stories

we must have been writing at the same time Julio, haha.

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thank you guys, like i said, im learning. even julios reply helped me understand i should acknowledge my mentors experience. i'm not trying to tarnish the integrity of the business.

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Hey Rick, yer history lesson sucks with the "Huck Spaulding was the originator of the cheap china import" comment, the only thing they ever imported has been the pre-made needles on the bar just like everybody has been selling except Spaulding has an exclusive that makes theirs. S&R has never had their stuff sent out for and their newest line is entirely made in house.

As to Huck selling to "anybody", Stan and Walter Moskowitz of S&W Tattoo Supply sold from their adds for 29.95 back in the day. Charlie Wagner, Percy Waters, Owen Jensen, Frisco Bill of the Chicago tattoo Supply Co., Coastal, Bicknee and many others sold through Popular Mechanics and other publications in their time to anybody with the funds. Mail order supply for tattoo supplies dates back to 1902!

Bill Moyer and Jeff Lawyer are second and third generation machine builders and deserve a little more respect than this. Mike Malone built off of Huck's machines, Paul Rogers ordered up over 250 frames to build off of.

As to Huck not being popular with the few who went against him in the business of selling tattoo supplies, yes there are hard feelings. S&R didn't get so big by selling inconsistent cheap anything without standing behind what they produced and they set the example and the stage for the competition they have now in catalog form and factory in the US.

I guess I do mean to rant when somebody kicks an American Company when we are seeing 50 dollar kits sold on EBay and the location/source sez on the side bar "Beijing China" and the scratchers are stocking up, hell the swashdrives are into a 4th generation of the design, Eikon power supplies are coming from China but so is allot of crap in my livingroom, kitchen and car. But just to reiterate, Spaulding machines are entirely cast and built in the USA.

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Spaulding did what all the other supply businesses wanted to do only couldn't. Spaulding got it together and made his bisiness extemely successful and profitable. Spaulding supplied starter kits to some of the best and most respected tattooers working today.

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Ok, so lets set this straight "it's the indian not the arrow" stands pretty true in tattooing to a certain point. Some great tattooers tattoo with pretty crappy machines. i use a kaplan pretty regularly. i did rebuild it but the thing is so crappy they should just be disposable. secondly, spaulding and Rogers sucks.....really they do. all the previous defense is half true, paul Rogers designed the frame and ordered 250 to re-drill the geometry and only used the frame. old spaulding coils were great, the ones with fiber washers were good, the ones now would work great for a fishing weight. my first machines were a cut back supreme, which was the second machine aaron cain made, and my shader was a puma frame, both of which are the thicker older castings. i have every casting and they get cheaper and cheaper. as for the part where they sell to everyone this was true about waters, moskowitz, jenson and so on. The difference is that unlike today, where every dude that can ride a fix gear or grow a beard is a tattooer, back then the market was much smaller. they also sold veterinarian set ups. i haven't seen the work horse iron vet set yet but if there was a market they would be leading it. ha ha. In reality, there is no way i could go to college and apprentice at the same for the simple fact that when i should've been studying i would've been drawing...all night. but with todays line drawing books and the current folk revival technique, artistic fortitude can be waved as the bar is now easier to jump. sounds bitter but its true. in reality if your gonna be a tattooer your degree wont mean shit when your whip shading a jenson design. You're lucky if you've found a decent tattooer to apprentice with, and the longer you've been putting the effort, the more the tattoo community will open up to you. To me, that's always been one of the most important things about tattooing, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it.

Oh, and Nick, if you've got so much free time, shouldn't you be doing some laundry or changing a diaper or something? At least go get your poor wife a cup of coffee.

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oh that was my wife spell checking by the way. when there are caps and proper spelling she's at hand. i type this as she corrects my letters. thank you for your dedication im gonna go tattoo with my cast on. ill take a picture of the amazing frankenstien glove thing i came up with.

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Hwroman, I learned some stuff so happy you posted. Everyone has stayed respectful and added to the conversation so it's all good in my book.

If you enjoyed this unexpected lesson and discussion on tattoo machines here are some relevant threads LSTers have written:

Was Tattooing as popular 100 years ago?

Swinggates and The Pike

Dan Higgs

Tattoo books

Old Tattoo Pictures

Chicago Tattooing History

222 Tattoo

Scottish Tattoo History

Tattoos Today and Research

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