Cerakote Magic – HillBilly223

I recently had the opportunity to have a candid conversation with Cerakote master finisher Boyd Lemons of HillBilly223. Boyd has been applying finishes to firearms since 2009, which is right around the time it started to gain ground. 

Boyd is truly a pioneer and innovator of creating truly unique one-of-a-kind masterpiece firearms. In talking with him, he is a humble guy who really has accomplished a lot to boast about. For the past 5-years, he has been the custom Cerakoter for Nighthawk Custom as well as doing custom projects for Battle Arms Development, Midwest Industries and many more.

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 1

Here is a quick excerpt from my conversation with Boyd where I asked him a few questions that I often hear. 

JL: Boyd, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. First, which do you prefer better, Cerakote or Duracoat?

BL: You are very welcome Jody! I have spent considerable time with both, and I like them both for different reasons. Cerakote has a much more diverse availability of colors than Duracoat, so I use it primarily. In addition, I can spray Cerakote using certain spray techniques to create different tolerances in areas that need more or less tolerance like on the Nighthawk pistols.

JL: Which finish is stronger and longer lasting?

BL: When Cerakote is applied correctly, it’s much stronger but Duracoat. Although Duracoat is touted as a no-bake application, it helps to be baked and prepped in the same way as Cerakote. When those steps are followed, Duracoat holds up well and is a good product.

JL: Why has Cerakote taken over the market?

BL: Cerakote came on strong with training in the beginning and their mass marketing has aided in success. In addition, their availability of colors has been far superior. Cerakote offers a 3-day certification program for those that need training, however it is my experience that certification does not make you a good finisher, years of experience and consistency do. 

JL: How do you create such works of art?

BL: I often pick a theme from a movie or something that motivates me. I approach it like a blank canvas and let the theme guide me. 

JLDo you remove anodizing before spraying or spray over.

BL: We never remove all the finish only as much as needed to get the finish to stick. We remove all oils using a multi-step process of blasting, degreasing and baking before we spray anything. 

JLWhat are some of your favorite designs?

BL: The series we did for Battle Arms Development in the Star Wars theme comes to mind. That was a fun project we did in collaboration with Battle Arms, they make some killer stuff. 

JLWhat is the average turn-around time for your work and do have any upcoming sales for Father’s Day?

BL: Depending on the scope of the project, we average anywhere between 10 days to 2 weeks. We are running a 10%-off sale through the end of July and our prices are very fair to begin with. 

JLAwesome! I truly love what you did to my Kimber 1911, as it needed facelift bad. You took it from ugly to wild.

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 6

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about Cerakote. What is the best way for people to see more of your work and get in touch with you?

BL: That is what we do brother… you are very welcome. We are pretty active on Instagram under the name @hillbilly223urban and our website is hillbilly223.com

JL: Thanks again Boyd, we will post some photos here for people to see some of your work. Have a great summer and best wishes to you in 2015. Cheers!

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 2

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 3

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 3

Hillbilly223 Urban Finish Cerakote 3



About the Author:  Jody Lewis is a professional photographer based in the PNW who has articles published on many of the popular websites including RECOIL-WEB and Guns & Tactics Magazine. He is also the Director of Operations and Business Development for Defense Marketing Group. You can follow him on his page XFIREPIX on Facebook.