The Custom Rifle Stock

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Von Gruff, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I wrote most of this some time back but have recently editied it a little and thought it might bear a posting here.

    The Custom Rifle Stock
    By Garry Keown

    7x57 Stalking Rifle. 02-02-09 012.JPG

    Rifle stocks. General.
    Selecting your blank. Walnut species and log cuts, grain flow and blank layout.
    Hunting - shooting style and design paremeters.
    Balance and handling.
    Stock Making. Inletting and shaping.
    Stock finishing.
    Rifle Stocks in general.

    Rifle stocks are the simple yet ergonomically complicated means by which we can hold onto the barrelled action and direct the bullet to a desired point of impact, and so the better the stock is suited to the particular hunter, the greater the degree of certainty there is that the bullet will get to the intended target impact point. While this may seem a simplistic statment, it is anything but, as there are almost an infinite number of variations of the rifle stock, from the purest hunting designs to the specialist target and benchrest items made from the traditional wood's through to laminates of wood or layers of spaceage carbon fibres with various resins plus fiberglass either solid or over hollow core or foam base, through aluminium and combinations of one or more of these materials.

    Leaving aside all the specialised rifle uses and stock materials, the hunting rifle in its more traditional form will be the focus of this piece.

    What distuingishes a good hunting stock from the myriad of poor to average factory stocks( and many so called custom stocks) is for the hunter to able to throw the rifle to his (or her) shoulder and imediatly have the butt tuck into the shoulder pocket with hands comfortably griping the wrist and forearm and the eye alligned with the sights. A properly balanced rifle will have a very large degree of influence in how the rifle comes to the shoulder and onto target with a correspondingly important part to play in how pointable it may be and how steady it sits in hand. The metal work as far as the barrel contour which effects weight and balance will be explored elsewhere but does contribute to the rifle's balance, pointability, and tracking virtues ( or otherwise) so cant be entirely dismissed when the traits of a good hunting rifle stock are being discussed. There should be no adjusting of posture or position and the finger should fall naturally, without stretching or cramping, to the triger as the target is comfirmed and the shot is ready to be released. Any adjustment of body or rifle will naturally effect the initial aim point and inevitably effect the accuracy of the shot. It is the hunters responsibility to identify the target, (LEAVING NO DOUBT) before the rifle is lifted and he should already be looking at the desired point of impact when the rifle is raised and be comfortably and strategically alligned with the sights allowing him to be imediatly ready to release the shot. Without getting into shooting technicalities, it is a given fact that the first few seconds of a rifles hold on target are the steadiest when shooting off hand (with no external support) so it is naturally best to have a rifle stock that gives the hunter the imediate and natural positioning of the body and the rifle so as to take advantage of this. The longer a hunter holds the rifle in the un-suported aiming position while trying to get comfortable with any aspect of the stock design, then his chances of a sucessfull shot diminish quite rapidly. A hunter who uses an external suport for the rifle, (and he would do this for a longer shot at an undisturbed animal especially if he can not stalk closer) whether it be a a sling aid or resting on a day pack, the side of a tree, a natural ground feature or a set of shooting sticks can often be well suited by a stock that is less than a perfect "fit" simply because he has time to adjust to the position. However, having said that, if a rifle stock is being made for a stalking hunter, and we all like to think of ourselves as stalking hunters, then the better the rifle stock is suited to the individual hunter then the probaility of a sucesfull hunt if a desirable animal is sudenly encountered is so much higher. This is the prime reason that hunters have had custom stocks made that fitted them properly, rather than taking one off the rack that is designed for everybody but rarely fits anyone other than with the wonderfull adaptability of our body.

    A rifle stock has not only to afford the hunter with a comfortable device to hold onto while aiming the barrelled action, but should also hold the barrelled action in a non movable and non stressed position so that there are no external factors that efect the point of impact for the bullet. This is another area that mass produced stocks can not always be relied on to do and so the need for a custom stock arises, or at the least customising of the factory stock to better acomplish the necessary primary function in a reliable manner.

    This can bring about a lengthy discussion on what a custom stock actually is but for the purposes of this exercise I will define a custom stock as one that is made with the particular hunters body shape and hunting style in mind, from a billet or blank of well dried and stable stock wood.

    6.5x57 Erfurt.png


    Walnut species.
    Log cuts.
    Selecting your blank.
    Walnut species.
    The walnut trees that have originated in Persia came to England via the early Romans because the nut was so highly prised.The thin shelled walnut, Juglans Regia is Persian or common walnut and is also known as English walnut because of the English sailors who then spread it round the world on thier travels and so it is also known as Royal, Circassian, French, Turkish and by the place names of many other areas it has been propogated with the soil types, climate and growing conditions of many places in the new world like New Zealand and Australia producing some exceptional stockwood blanks.

    American black walnut or claro is another major walnut species used for stockwood along with the English - American black walnut hybrid which is known as Bastogne from bastard walnut.

    English walnut is generally known to be hard and is often thought to be more easily worked but the growing conditions have an enormous effect of the grain structure and colour, from golds through to chocolates with mineral streaking of greens and blacks, marble cake, mottling, feathered crotch, fiddleback being some of the many grain types and colourings which influences desirability and therefore price. Black and Bastogne are generally said to have a shorter and more chip prone grain structure which can make the use of English walnut and its derivitives less problematic when checkering and other finisheing touches are being atended to.


    Log cuts.
    The cutting of a walnut tree to get the best from the available wood is a most thought provoking process for the sawyers. There is much study of the tree to asertain where to make the initial cuts as the difference between cutting it right and just citting it can be many thousands of dollars worth of gunstocks, either superb blanks bringing out the very best the log has to offer against getting more blanks that have much less appeal and subsequent value. Logs that produce the most spectacular blanks have large root structures and heavy branches and sometimes forked trunks where the grain can have the most spectacular patterns.

    Photo2452 Martini sporter in 303.jpg


    Selecting your blank.
    A big difference in value and cost is atributed to the various log cuts that become rifle blanks and the beauty of the blank is often very much in the buyers eye so is a very personal choice. A board or flat sawn blank is generally a stronger cut in that there is the longets grain structures and the colour and graining that may be less than spectacular in the full blank may come alive when the shaping is done and even those blanks that are on the verge of being rift cut can have some very good appeal as well. A little more care needs to be taken when selecting a rift cut blank though as the quartering grain may run out in the wrist area and the forearm can cause uneven stability. A quartersawn blank is more often taken from the straight grained part of the tree and while it can provide a very stable stock there is often much less in the way of grain patterns with the dark and light stripes of the anular rings more in evidence.

    There are a numbers of areas where grain flow is very important in the rifle stock especially where a heavier recoiling rifle may be concerned. This is ,where the board sawn blank really shines but the grain flow in the wrist and the forearm must be a high priority and the flow into the toe is where it really needs to be following the bottom line of the stock as a heavy blow on the toe of the butt plate can cause the stock to break away through this area in some cases.

    The cartridge the rifle will be chambered for, the style of hunting the shooter intends his or her intended rifle for, and of course, the monetry reserve will have the deciding influence in the choice of the grade of the blank, however it must be stated that in the heavier recoiling rifles that fancy grain must be of secondary importance to the grain flow to withstand the recoil stresses.

    400 Lee Speed.png


    Hunting - shooting style and design paremeters.

    It may be apropriate to briefly touch on the begining of the common aproach to custom rifle stocks and rifles in general before we delve into specifics. If we leave aside the muzzle loaders and black powder cartridge rifles and concentrate on the smokless powdered cartridge bolt rifles from the turn to the first quarter of the 20th century we can look at the transition of the rifle from a military use to a purely sporting or hunting aplication. The modern rifle stock has differed little from these early stocks except for the provision of comb line to suit the predominent sighting equipment that is destined to be used.

    When the first hunting rifles were produced, they were generally offshoots of military development that were initially used in the military configuration for use in the hunting fields in a protective or food gathering manner where thier somewhat heavy military style made them solidly dependable, reasonably afordable, widely available and well suited for the food gathering purposes rather than specifically a sporting use to which they were now being put, and with the sporting amunitiion being generally reliable although there were many instances then as now of amunition being used that is inapropriate to the species being hunted and inevitaby some failure occured with either a lost animal or in dangerous game hunts catastrophic resuts for the hunter. When the rifles began to be adapted for the less sever conditions of the sporting hunt by very skilled craftsmen they also began to take on a svelte form that feedback from the hunting fields was showing to be well suited to the particular hunting style of the majority of clients.

    It must be understood that here I am talking of the begining of the split in the English gunmaking industry that branched from the cuntomised military rifle into the custom gunmakers that has left us with the famous names of the "London Trade" that are held to be the epitome of the sporting or custom rifle makers. Some of the Military rifle manufacturers like BSA in England and Mauser in Germany also had sporting rifles made in house that were adapted from the strict military style but by and large many of the custom gunmakers would buy in the barrelled action from the makers and with little or minimal metalwork being done, simply stock said barrelled actions. The Lee Speed and the Plesier Mauser were two early examples of the factory sporting rifle adapted in the makers factory for the sporting elite. There have been other European and to a lessor extent an American streams of influence in gun stock design, but it was the English custom gunmakers who bought about the style of hunting rifle stock that has come down to todays exceptional makers who have retained many of the early findings while developing expanded design types as trends in shooting style have changed over the years.

    Where once it was a walking, stalking style of hunting that required a rifle to be dimensioned for rapid shouldering and offhand shooting, many of todays rifles are more inclined to be suited to suported shooting , from prone through to standing over a set of sticks, and so the designs have changed in minor ways to acomadate the shooters needs.
     
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  2. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Some terms and thier purpose in stock design are - - -

    Photo1569 Johns Howa.jpg

    Length of pull.
    Drop at comb and heel.
    Pitch.
    Cast and can't.
    In other aspects of design like the wrist circumference and curveture, the forearm length and fullness, we get into dimensions that have a profound effect on the weight, "feel" and handling” as well as the recoil mitigation of a rifle stock. Balance is very important as it effects the speed of mount, sight allignment and the swing the steadiess of the offhand hold and ultimately the recoil effects and impulses.

    There are not as many situations today where the walking, stalking hunter may jump shoot an animal as often hunts are guided and the hunt is quite controlled in that an animal is sighted and stalked with a rested deliberate shot being taken, but a well fitted rifle is a joy to use in any circumstances, and it must be said that the factory stocked rifles, while not perfect and in many cases not even very good, will alow a hunter a modicum of good usebility for many, whereas the custom stock is specific to the individual.

    BSA 303 Lee Speed.png


    Length of Pull.
    The length of pull or distance from the centre of the butt to the centre of the trigger can greatly effect the shooter comfort and ease of use of the rifle and the general 13 1/2 L O P of factory rifles to suit the average 5 ft 10 inch tall man is the first change that is often made by altering the recoil pad thickness with or without spacers to effect a more user friendly stock length. There are a couple of broad brushstroke generalisations that are often used to find a starting point for L O P for an individual shooter. One is to take a persons height and from the suposed average 5 ft 10 with 13 1/2 L O P starting point, subtract an 1/8 inch from the L O P for every inch under 5 ft 10 of the shooters height and add an 1/8 inch to the 13 1/2 inches for every inch over 5ft 10 of shooter height. The simple expedient of holding the rifle with the arm bent at 90 degrees and having the butt in the crook of the elbow really has minimal benefit as the tendency to compromise the hold either by stretching slightly or cramping can lead to eroneous information. Then there is body shape and a heavy set shooter will have a different need than a lightly bodied one. Usually though, by the time a custom stock is being contemplated, an ideal L O P has been established by having shot and altered previous stocks that has led to the intention of having a custom stock made. The L O P also has an effect on how easily the rifle action can be worked while still held in the shooting position where too long a LOP will result in the rifle needing to be removed from the shoulder to cycle the bolt witha L O P that is too short may have the shooters nose smacked by his own thumb as the rifle recoiles but in general use, a slightly shorter L O P is more user friendly than a slightly longer one.


    Drop at comb and heel.
    This measurment is taken from the centre of the bore in rifles which should also be the top line of the forend of the stock as the barrelled action should ideally be inletted to half the depth of the barrel for its entire length is, so it is quite a simple matter to plot it onto the stock blank at layout time. The sighting system being used on the rifle has an effect on the line of comb and consequently, the drop at nose and heel of the combline.

    Drop at comb nose is so the eye can be alligned with the sights and a simple way to start the calculation once the sighting arrangment has been decided is to find the centre of the sight height from the centre of the bore line or top of stock forearm line and note the measurment. Then take a short length of inch dowl and hold it hard under your cheekbone where a rifle stock would rest and measure from the top of the dowel up to the centre of your eye. Either you are measuring for someone else or doing it in front of a mirror so you can read the rule if doing it for yourself. This measurement is deducted from the line of sight height and that should be close to the point of comb for a straight combed rifle or about two inches back from the comb nose for a stock that has more drop at heel than the nose. For example, if a bridge mounted aperture sight is being used that has the aperture an 1 1/4 above the bore line and you have a 2 inch cheekbone to centre of eye measurment then taking 1 1/4 from 2 inches means the drop at comb nose for a straight combed rifle should be 3/4 inch which nicely clears the bolt cycling on a Mauser action. The bolt throw has to be taken into account but this is usually of no concern with open sights or a low mounted scope but when the larger objective belled scopes that seem to be proliferating now are going to be used, it is then that suplementary comb extensions are added or adjustable combs incorporated into the stock to get the eye high enough and still have firm contact between cheek and stock comb. Some of the early stocks that were designed for open sights and having a scope fitted would have the particularly tall scope mounts of the time and a shooter would have to hold his face quite a way above the comb to see through the scope and while this did not make for the best results some very fine hunting rifles were equiped like this with many animals bought to grass.

    The open sighted rifle will have a much different line of comb, or drop at nose and heel to a scope sighted rifle, and when a shooters neck length, shoulder configuration and shooting style are added to the different types of comb line then it is evident that there can be no formulaic answer to this design paremeter. A long necked shooter with sloping shoulders will need much more drop at heel which is why the montecarlo type of comb line came to be, although almost never with open sights, while a shortnecked shooter with square shoulders will need much less drop for the same sighting system. This is where experience will be needed to ascertain the correct drop at heel for the particular shooter -rifle and cartridge combination. The least drop at heel that can comfortably allow the shooter to allign the sights will greatly effect how the rifle recoils and again depending on what cartridge the rifle is chambered for will effect how quickly the rifle action may be worked to reload another cartridge while coming down out of recoil and have the sights re-alligned for a second shot. A rifle recoils along the bore line and if this is significantly higher than the heel of the rifle will result in muzzle rise which can mitigate some of the recoil impulse and many have found this descreases the felt recoil over the same recoil in a rifle with much less drop at heel which has more straight line recoil with no rise to take some of the energy friom the shoulder. The recoil period is when the bolt can be cycled so the rifle is back on target with a fresh cartridge chambered when recoil impulse has dissipated.

    LSA 577-450.jpg


    Pitch.
    Pitch is the angle of the butt compared to the bore line and again has quite an effect on the handling of a rifle and in particular the recoil against the shoulder.

    Neutral pitch is when the heel to toe line of the butt plate is square to the bore line. Negative pitch is when the heel to toe line of the butt plate is less than square to the bore line, and positive pitch is where the heel to toe line is greater than square to the bore line.

    The reason for pitch on the butt plate is so that the greatest amount of the butt is against the shoulder pocket to spread the recoil over the greatest area and make it feel less than it would if only the toe or heel of the stock was contacting the shoulder and the full recoil impulse was directed through the one point of contact. Again this is where body shape is the deciding factor as is shooting style because a heavy chested man who stands upright will want some negative pitch although too much can have the butt rise up the slope of the shoulder during recoil, while the same heavy chested shooter who habitually leans forward when shooting would need slight positive pitch. A lightly built shooter who stands upright to shoot may benifit from neutral pitch while the same shooter who leans forward to shoot may need more positive pitch than the heavy chested counterpart.


    Cast.
    Cast is not as often incorporated into stocks now as shooting styles have changed. Broadly speaking, when the early 20th century custom stockmakers were perfecting thier craft (in England in particular) they were greatly influenced by the needs of the English sport shooter who did the majority of his shooting for small game and birds with the shotgun and while there was often rough upland shooting there was many more estate shoots that had the shooter on a stand with the birds driven toward him. This called for a certain style of shooting where he would generally be stood square to the line of drive so he could swivel left or right as needs be to take the bird on the wing or a rabbit or hare on the move. Standing square to the shot and usually quite upright for overhead shots, meant that certain design aspects were bought to the stock to ensure the quickly mounted gun was alligned with the intended target to ensure accurate tracking and cast off was an important aspect of the well fitted gun for instant kills of a single bird, or a follow through onto a second bird for a brace. A very well fitted stock is required for this type of shooting and the stock makers understanding and expertise was carried over into the rifle stock fitting as the shooter would generally expect his rifle to handle with the same point and shoot capability when it came to larger game animal hunting.

    Cast can be either on or off and simply means the stock is shaped so that the butt centerline is to one side or the other ot the centre line of the bore.

    Cast (positive) for a right handed shooter would have the butt of the stock to the right of the centre line of the bore when looking down the stock as it is held in hand, with negative cast being the opposite and having the heel to the left although this would be highly unusual.

    A right handed shooter standing square to the line of shot would have positive cast so that the barrel lined up straight ahead while the butt angled out toward the shoulder and allowed the sight aquisition that this type of shooting dictated. Today rifle shooters are more likely to stand angled toward the line of shot so the need for cast has diminished somewhat and with the addition of cheekpieces to some stocks has resulted in almost a negative cast situation so the angled shooting position has changed the design needs for most shooters.


    Cant.
    Cant is when the toe of the butt for a rght handed shooter is further to the right of the butt centerline than the heel and is often a beneficial design feature for the hevier chested shooter as it more comfortably alligns the butt with the shouder pocket rather than having the toe of the butt dig into the chest muscle. Very often cast and cant are included in the design data that makes for a personalised custom stock that fits an individual shooter.


    Balance and handling.
    A balanced rifle is one that regardless of the weight, (having the greater felt portion between the hands) and the stockmaker, in conjunction with the barrel length and profile choice, will make the stock to achieve this end with judicious shaping of the various portions of the stock , working toward having a rifle that is an apropriate weight to mitigate the recoil of the cartridge the rifle is chambered for, while endevouring to have the rifle feel well balanced so that it has good handling and pointing capabilities regardless of the finished weight. For most shooters a little muzzle heaviness will help in hoding steady for an offhand shot, the rifle will swing nicely and will slow a little of the muzzle rise that has an effect on the resuting recoil impulse. It will also hellp in bringing the rfiel back down into shooting osition for a posible second shot if required. Of course the barrel profile and any action work with intended sighting devices included will all have been selected at planning time with a final goal in mind so the weight of the stockwood can have a dramatic effect on the expected total. Many have found a well figured piece of dense walnut may add a lb or more to a stock so the choice of the blank is probably one of the more time consuming decisions that needs to be made. The weight and the balance are two of the factors that go toward the handling characteristics of a rifle.

    As noted above, the focus of this piece is a well balanced, quick handling hunting rifle so after the initial dimensions of the LOP, comb line, pitch, cast and cant are decided on there are other important dimension to be taken into account that effect the balance , the weight and ultimately, the handling of the rifle.


    The grip curve and the relationship of the trigger finger to the trigger.
    The circumference of the grip.
    The length and circumference of the forend.
    Thickness of the stock through the butt area.
    For anyone contemplating having a stock made or making one for themselves there is no "formula" that will get a good fitting stock as there are so many variables in shooting stance, body conformity and comfort ideals and so there is an experience quotent needed in the setting out of the stock.

    The first line to be drawn on the stock blank is the bore line and as this is also the top edge of the forearm and is the datum from which all other lines and measurments are taken. I like to plan the pattern of the intended stock on sections of 1/8 in ply or similar and place the pattern on the blank to make the best use of the grain flow and any fancy grain or colour that might be present in the blank.
     
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  3. Von Gruff

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    Stock inletting and shaping.
    Stock inletting.
    Wether by hand or machine, the barrelled action needs to be fitted down into the stock blank. Here we concentrate on hand work and so a colletion of very sharp chisels and scrapers are required. The larger volume of wood removal needed for the magazine well can be augmented by carefull drilling, preferably with a drill press or mill to keep things square to the top line and from where the stock is rested as is the drilling for the action screws with the finishing of the interior wood removal being finished with chisel and scraper. Anyone contemplating doing this work should have a clear understanding of wood working methods as this is not the place to learn care and controll of these tools and how the grain of the wood can have varying degrees of cutting ability with the potential for spliting, chiping and other possible stock destroying results of careless work. Slow and carefull is the only advise that can be offered with the liberal use of a smoker inetting black or other action marking method so the marked areas can be attended to. Care needs to be taken to check for draft on the vertical areas of the action, with draft being a minor widening of the metal as it seats into the wood to ensure a tight wood to metal fit on assembly. The barrel channel can be opened up with special barrel channel rasps or it can be carefully rough cut by chisel and then scrapers or coarse sand or emery paper wrapped around various sized dowels can be used till it is close then finer grades of paper untill there is a tightly fitted barrel which can then be relieved for a floated barrel which will negate any minor stockwood changes due to temperature, humidity or even the ingress of dust etc in the hunting field which might effect or cause pressure on one part of the barrel and consequently effect the rifles accuracy.

    The inletting is a particularly important part of the building process, simply because the accuracy of the finished rifle will depend to a large extent on how well the barrelled action nestles into its stock. There is tradition that says it should look as if the metal has grown out of the wood and while this is a laudable intent, there are places where there needs to be clearance to ensure the prolonged integrity of the rifle.

    For a heavy recoiling rifle there needs to be clearance around the rear of the tang, and any pillar between the tang and the bottom metal needs an oversized hole for the action screw so that the pillar is not driven rearwards (potentially causing spliting into the wrist) due to the wood sourounding the mag well flexing as the action, locked into the stock by the recoil lug tries to drive back to the rear.

    The recoil lug needs clearance at the sides and to the front to facilitate the easy removal of the action from the stock.

    There needs to be clearance around the barrel from the chamber forward with everything else fitted tight and true. If a forend tip is required the forarm is cut to the desired length and the block of buffalo horn, ebony or other exotic wood is doweled and glued into position before the final barrel channel work is done.

    Shaping is the next most important part of the process. Obviously the understanding of the previously discussed design paremeters in the form of the length of pull, comb and heel drop, pitch cast and cant , have been drawn into the outline. The grip cap and recoil pad is marked into position and fitted so that their outline can determine the shape of these areas and with plane, rasps, files, chisels and various grades of sand paper the desired finished shape is bought into the light of day. This is where the knoweledgable stockmaker may make subtle adjustments to the various areas of the stock to get the balance spoken of above that will bring the handling characteristics that are so desirable in a stalking rifle.

    There are many different aproaches to the butt plate-recoil pad and from full steel plates to toe and heel caps, leather coverd rubber pads to buffalo horn, the variety is only limited by the purpose the rifle will be put to and the level of recoil that needs mitigating.

    When everything is as it should be, the finishing can be contemplated and it needs to be on a surface that has been sanded down with a wet and dry paper graded at least in the 400 and preferably in the 600 grit range.

    The stock is then wetted with a cloth dipped into a bowl of hot water and left to dry for the whickering process to lift any fiber ends that are then sanded off again with the 600 grit paper. The wetting and whiskering needs done at least twice more with finer and finer grades of paper and depending on the density of the particular wood being worked on, may need doing 3 or 4 times until the wetting raises no more whiskers.

    There are many different ways of putting a finish into the wood surface to ensure that there is no water soakage possible and any atmospheric humidity flucuations are not going to be able to migrate into the wood causing swelling, warping and accuracy issues.

    All surfaces must be treated and the grip cap if screwd rather than being glued on, and butt plate or recoil pad need to be removed for this to be accomplished.

    The various commercial finishes will come with their own instructions but I prefer the time tested pure tung oil. The oil is cut 50/50 with vegetabe turps and the stock is swamped with this mix every 5 minutes or so until the uptake slows down and then after another 15 minutes I wipe the stock down hard with a lint free cloth. Left for 24 hours the same 50/50 mix is then rubed into the stock using 600 grit W&D paper and it goes without saying that following the grain with the paper is how this is done. This creates a light slurry on the surface of the stock and this is rubed in, in a circular motion with the bare hands and again after 15 min to a half hour the cloth is used to lightly wipe off the excess.

    This precess is repeated daily untill the pores are all filled and then the stock is rubed back down to the surface with the fine W&D.

    Now the actual finish can be applied and whether using the undiluted pure tung oil, done by putting a few drops into the hand and rubbing it into the wood, where the less is more certainly applies. Rubbing briskly to create warmth leaves the surface with just the faintest wet look and is left asside for at least 24 hours before repeating again and again as this needs doing daily but the purpose is the have the oil in the wood rather than on the surface.

    There is a tradition that says you need a coat a day for a week, and coat a week for a month, a coat a month for a year and a coat a year for life. I have found on the few good quality walnut stocks I have been priveledged to build I have done the first 7 or 8 coats on a daily basis and then every two days after that for up to 20 coats with the lasy coat rubbed with a corase cloth so that there is a low sheen or eggshell lustre to the wood with a depth of colour that is a treat for the senses. Paitence is required and amply rewarded.

    404 Jeffery.jpg


    There are other finishing recipies that have been perfected with equal mixtures of tung oil, vegetablle turps, alkali refined linseed oill and spar varnish being one of the better ones where this mixture is brushed on left for 10 minutes and rubbed off repeated four times the first day, three times the second day,twice the third day and once the fourth day.

    Whichever finish is put on the stock, whether traditional or modern, the main purpose apart from securing the underlying wood from the effects of moisture or humidity, is to bring out the natural colour and grain structure of the wood with the resulting enjoyment of the beauty inherent in this personally designed and crafted rifle stock that will not only increase the hunting success but will bring with it the satisfaction and imense pride of such a perfectly fitted, beautifully presented custom rifle stock.
     
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    Location:
    stewart island
    Hunted:
    New Zealand . Namibia .
    He is on this side of the world Charlie .
    Must be the right side as we see the sun first .
    :A Tease::A Tease::A Tease:
    LOL .
     
    Von Gruff likes this.

  7. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
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    Member of:
    Courtney Hunting Club, NRA Life Member, SCI Kansas City Chapter
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Kalahari, Northwest, Limpopo, Gauteng, APNR Kruger Area. USA Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas
    Oh well it’s all in one’s perspective!
     

  8. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
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    how do you know when the pores are fillled?
     

  9. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    It is a visual thing. When the pores are filled there is a different look to the stock wood than when it still has opened pores.
     

  10. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
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    Garry, this is another well written informative article. I first saw it on my I- Phone while visiting my son. I tried, but could not respond. Without a doubt there is a lot more to masking a custom stock than "what meets the eye." Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight.
     

  11. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Enthusiast

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    This is a great article, I have been working on the stock from an old Cooey .22 just to try my hand at it. I started with Tru-oil but could never get the final coat to be smooth, so I sanded it down and have started the process again with the Tung Oil.
     

  12. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    There is something eminently satisfying about making (or remaking) something with our hands and when it entails our guns n knives it seems to be even more so. I dont think that there is a more personal posession than the gun and knife as it represents our way of life. Going back to the warriors of old and even further back to the hunter gatherer, the tools used to provide or defend have always had a great deal of personal care and attention taken of the design, finish and the embellishment of them.
    Being able to provide some of that personalisation is a very initmate process and regardless of whether it is for you or someone else, there is a part of yourself goes into each and every one that is made to suit specific needs and or wants. The rewards can be in the process as well the result and for myself, I am always excited to get a new commision in either rifle stock or knife.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    Powdermaker and Shootist43 like this.

  13. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
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    Hunted:
    Michigan, Texas, Missouri, Limpopo Province South Africa
    Speaking of the "hunter / gatherer" aspect, when are you and Foster heading up to the high country? I thought you were planning a trip for sometime in February.
     

  14. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    We are away next week on the 21st for a couple of days then in April have a deer hunt lined up
     

  15. geoff rath

    geoff rath AH Enthusiast

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    A great piece of writing, well explained. Thank you.
     
    Von Gruff likes this.

  16. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Great article. Thank you for sharing
     

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