Well guys, I realize I am new here and probably don't carry much weight, but I will say this:
I have known Gary for almost 2 years now and have become pretty good friends with him. I have had him do 2 AK builds for me, and you will not find a better smith anywhere when it comes to AKs - haven't yet had him do any other work (but will) on non-AKs, but if he spends as much attention to detail as he does on AKs, I know I will be happy with the work.
That said, I will be the first to admit (sorry, Gary!) that Gary is the most overly optimistic person in the world when it comes to turn-around time. If I've told him once, I've told him a hundred times that he should adopt my mantra - "Underpromise, overdeliver." Gary does such great work that he gets VERY busy. Plus his family had some serious medical problems last year that caused him to have a serious backlog in his work.
I could have just as easily gone through the same problems and done the same things that dad did, but I was patient and understanding of the many things going on with Gary last year, and bit my tongue and figured that sometimes **** happens - I was in no absolute hurry to get my rifle back so I waited. The anticipation killed me, but the final product was well worth it, and now I have a good friend who I can talk to any time I have a question and he doesn't even charge me
Dad, I'm sorry you had so many problems with this issue. And I don't want to sound snooty or come off as a know-it-all, but perhaps a little more patience would have paid big dividends. I know it is tough having to wait for things like this, but I'm glad I did.
P.S. - Hey, Gary! Get off your ass and get my Krinkov done! (just kidding, dude!