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This is my latest experiment in carving gunstocks. This stock has way too many tight curves to sand around… The finger groves and all the intricate curves around the cheek rest and thumbhole require hand sanding after I'm finished carving on my stock duplicator. To get out all the cutter marks and gouges took several times longer than usual. If I can find a way to speed up sanding, I'll be making lots more of this design. If not, I may not carve very many like it.

The cherry crotch figure in the butt had two large cracks that were filled with sanding dust and super glue. They are solid now, but they still show. One is on the right side of the butt stock and the other is on the left side of the hand grip. Darn it but, pretty wood has more defects than straight grain boring wood! An old gunsmith once told me that an expert isn't someone who can make a perfect gunstock. He said: "An expert stockmaker is someone who can fix the defects…" I need more time working out the defects. When the cherry darkens, this stock is going to be beautiful and functional. The wood in the butt has beautiful feathering and the swirling grain is stabilized by the thin center laminations. The forend grain is straight and parallel with the barrel channel. The beaver tail forend has a flat bottom to ride the bags at the shooting bench and fills the hand for offhand shooting. It was inletted to fit an old Remington 600 in .308.

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Stockmaker,

I'm done… Now it's up to the customer to personalize their stock. Most of my customers are gunsmiths. The rest are amateur gunsmiths who with a few evenings of work can have a 'one of a kind' custom rifle. Last Christmas I made 3 rifles for one gunsmith who built 3 custom varmint rifles for a customer to give his three sons. I delivered 3 unfinished stocks that were the same design, but different wood on each. The customer sanded and finished all three stocks then took them back to the gunsmith to be glass bedded. I've e-mailed the link to a couple of customers and one has replied. He want's one just like this one, only with tiger maple on the outside.
 

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What kind of duplicator did you use? The though of building a gun stock has been in my mind since I started woodworking, but never took on this task because it seemed too hard to do by hand. A duplicator changes the game completely.
 

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That is a fantastic looking stock. What kind of finish did you use. The way the dark lines run through it llooks so natural. Also, even on close inspection I really do not see the defects.
 

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Beautiful stock. I don't hunt anymore, when I did it was just for squirrel and rabbit, nothing big. My cousin up the street would love it.
 

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jaedwards575,

Where in Tennessee is Possom Town? I'm located in Kingsport. You are welcome to come visit and see how I carve stocks anytime.
Several years ago, I wanted to start carving my own stocks because the ones on the market that I could afford were just dyed birch. The walnut, maple and cherry laminated stocks were way to expensive to buy more than one, so… I first explored how to laminate the stock blanks, then I started searching the Internet for information on duplicating gunstocks. I found a bunch of cheep duplicators on the market. Most of which were too light and flimsy to make accurate reproductions. I bought a used duplicator that was built by Dakota Arms. It weighs about 800 lbs and it took 4 men to set the head on the I-beam frame. Here's a link to one of the first projects I did that shows how to carve a stock with a 2 1/2 hp router. When the cutter moves vertically, it doesn't swing in an arc, so I can drill accurate holes and square openings for the inlet. And here's a blog post I made to show how I set up a pattern stock and a blank for carving.
 

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Very nice.. Something darker would look great on my 870 :D
 

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The cherry will get almost as dark as the walnut. When first cut cherry is almost as light as maple. I love watching the change as the color matures. When I'm finished rough sanding, I put a couple of coats of tung oil on the stock and it gets darker, then I put it in the sun for a day or so, turning it every time I think about it. But, the full color doesn't come out for years. Every stock I carve from cherry is made from the same log, or even the same board to keep the color match between laminates as close as possible.

Here's a project made from cherry with photos I posted in the comments section showing what it looked like after several months of seasoning. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/33699
 

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Possom Town is northern Lebanon, about 30mi east of Nashville. A bit away. I would love to come see this process. Between work and my 8 month old, time is scarce. If I do find my way up your way, Ill be sure to give you a shout. back to the work, how does oak do with stocks, What moisture content does the wood need to be?
 

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Aaron,

Oak isn't a traditional rifle stock wood. Some Mauser 98's were stocked with oak and elm toward the end of WWII when walnut stock blanks were in short supply. It's also brittle. Walnut, maple and cherry are much better stock making woods. I dry my blanks to between 6 and 12%.
 

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Sweet laminated stock.
Thanks for sharing.
Scott
 

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Truly amazing work man, just unreal! I'm sure the duplicator made things a lot easier, and probably more consistant, but were you turning out that quality of work pre-duplicator? I mean, of course there was a lot more blood, sweat, and tears, probably splinters as well! But something like that can be made purely by hand? I'd love to see some pics! Gonna have to check out your sites! Jim
 

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I like to see one in Birdseye maple with either a cherry or walnut center laminate. Really like that stock design and wouldn't care if it was a bit rough around the finger grips when I got it. Time and sand paper will take care of that. But till then I need to work on the mesquite and the Bubinga one and send you photos of both.
 

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Nice to see you at it Hal! Lovely piece. :)
 

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Rivergirl,

Too bad you don't live closer. Every log I cut has some wood that's not suitable for stocks that you'd love. I don't have enough time to make benches and tables out of all of it. If you ever pass through East Tennessee, let me know and I'll load you up with all you can carry.
 

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That would be so fun Hal! B ut with gas at 4$ a gallon, I can't imagine driving back home with a pickup full of wood and logs. LOL
 

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I found making stocks to be pretty time consuming. I didn't have a duplicator which I'm sure helps cut a lot of the time, but even then, inletting takes a great deal of time. I don't care for shooting the thumb hole stocks, but this is a sweet looking piece. I'd like to see it complete.
 

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Whoa… that is gorgeous. I'd love to see the finished rifle.
 
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