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Old September 7, 2012, 08:37 PM   #1
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Odd idea

So I have to take down a large twisted maple. Im thinking maybe make a stock out of a section? I could cut, file and shape the wood... But how hard would it truly be to do this? And what rifle should I make a stock for? I was thinking of buying an old enfield or a mosin. I dont know where to srat and would appreciate any but of help. Thanks for reading.
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Old September 7, 2012, 08:57 PM   #2
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First, maple makes fine stocks, hard and durable, but this sounds a bit like buying a cow to get a glass of milk; it will work, but it is not the easy way.

Stock wood has to be dried and seasoned. Using fresh-cut wood would not be feasible since it would warp as it dries, not to mention being nearly impossible to work with.

Depending on the rifle and type of stock, you would want to start with a plank about 3-4 feet long, 12" or so wide, and around 3" thick. If you have a stock you want to copy, it is easy to lay it on the rough plank, draw an outline of it on the plank, then cut away the unwanted part with a band saw.

Then using various wood-working tools, and a lot of patience, you shape the wood to the general shape of the stock, inlet it for the action and barrel, and finish off the outside to the final shape. Sanding and staining complete the job.

It is not easy to make a stock from scratch, and it is very hard with maple because, well, maple is very hard. Worse, it is a grainy wood that tends to split easily.

For some info, try googling "wood for gun stocks". There are a couple of sites that have a lot of information; you will also get an idea of prices.

All I can say is that if you choose to have a go at it, good luck.

Jim K
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Old September 7, 2012, 09:27 PM   #3
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I gotta agree with James, this is a more difficult project then you would think. Seasoning the wood in and of itself could drive you crazy. It occurs to me that maybe the answer here is to call somebody who does this for a living and either send them the wood and have them give you back a rough blank for a fee or trade them your wood for a blank, good, interestingly grained maple is expensive and hard to get.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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Without a wood-drying kiln, you would have to store the slab of wood to dry in a barn for several years.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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Im working on the kiln part. I got this idea because my father wants to make a dinner table out of a large section of the tree so it would have to go to the saw mill anyways, so why not throw in a small section to make a stock aswell. I figure even if I fail that it would be a fun thing to try. I am thinking about a mosin for the project but adding a pistol grip to the stock. I know that it will be a lot of cutting, filing, and sanding. I also was thinking that worst case scenario I fail and bolt the original stock back on.
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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If you are going to kiln dry the wood for the table I'd try to get as many slabs in there to use for gun stocks in the future also. You might make a mistake on the first attempt and it would be nice to have one or two more blanks as backups for that oops moment.
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:55 AM   #7
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Is the trunk really twisted ? If so it can be dangerous to cut as when cutting the stresses released can twist around the whole tree !!
Drying is another problem .It's not just a matter of finding a kiln but the proper 'drying schedule' has to be used for that wood and size. If not done properly you'll have serious warping as you make the stock !
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old September 8, 2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Mete, its called a twisted maple.its the kind of tree. Rem 74, the multiple stock slab idea is a good one that I didnt even consider... Glad to be in such a helpful forum.
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Old September 8, 2012, 05:22 PM   #9
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It's an import , no wonder I never heard of it !
Japanese Twisted Red Maple
One of the trees popular for bonsai because of it's interesting shapes.
And Watson , bring your revolver !
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Do dry several potential stock chunks. And make sure the chunks are a good big larger than the stock has to be. Just yesterday my wood router slipped and I butchered a good looking slab of wood beyond salvage. I had worked on it for days and now I have to start over. As for drying time, the rule of thumb for air drying is one year per inch of thickness, to get it to the normal moisture content for where you are drying it. And seal the ends of the wood with paint to keep the ends from drying much faster and splitting.

And since this is a gun forum and not a woodworking forum, let me say that the moment I'm finished with this jewelry cabinet (in Cherry), the ammo reloading stuff gets set up and I load for my late Father's 270 and 223, so that the rifles will be ready for opening day in Louisiana. His greatgrandsons will use the rifles.
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Old September 9, 2012, 03:44 AM   #11
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There's two parts to doing a stock from a blank:

1. Inletting the action and bottom metal into the stock blank.

2. Shaping the outside of the stock.

#2 is the easier part. NB I said "easier." I did not say "easy."

Part #1 comes in varying degrees of difficulty. First, there's two issues in inletting. The one issue that everyone sees is where the wood meets the metal of the action and the barrel.

The second part of inletting that most people never see is the contact between the bottom of the action and the wood. On high-end guns, having a wood/metal inletting on the bottom of the action is more "pure," but if you're not a purist, you could get the top line of the inletting tight, then make a clean, but non-contacting job of inletting below the top line and glass bed the action with Acraglas or something similar.

Now, if you want to go for the purist route, there are actions that are more difficult than others:

The early bolt actions like the Mauser and Springfield '03 are more difficult in a "purist" inletting job because they have smaller recoil lug surfaces and they have "lungs" in the rear of the action where wood humps up off the bottom of the receiver channel to catch the rear of the action.

The Winchester M70 has a cleaner bottom line and is easier to inlet along the sides. A pre-64 M70 is a little trickier for the rear tang.

A Remington M700 is pud-easy, because it had a pretty featureless bottom and the recoil lug is removable so you could inlet that apart from the rest of the action.

I have no idea what inletting a Mosin is like. Personally, given the effort to inlet a stock & barrel into a nice piece of wood, I wouldn't ever bother putting a Mosin into a custom stock. It would be like putting leather seats, a fine English walnut dashboard and a racing motor into a Trabant. Sure, you've shown everyone that you're an excellent craftsman... but in the end, you still have a Trabant.

On all of the above, you'll want all your metalwork done before you start inletting. If you're going to put a new barrel on the receiver, or you want to use custom bottom metal, or you want to polish up the bottom metal or action, you need to have all of that done before you start inletting.

You'll need some inletting black:

The gold is typically used where the wood is too dark to see the black - places like dark woods used for foreend tips. You coat the bottom of the receiver with a thin coat of the inletting black and you put the receiver and barrel into the wood. You cut away the mark as you sink it in. You should cut a channel through the wood from foreend to the rear of the receiver with a ball nose end mill that is small enough to miss all the features on the bottom of the receiver, then inlet a) down then b) outward. Don't inlet outward first, you want to get the receiver and barrel down to the centerline of the bore.

Maple can have some really nice figure to it, but as others have said, it's hard. It tends to chip out unless your tools are very, very sharp. You need to consider the grain flow under your cutting tools very carefully. And when you're laying out the stock pattern on the blank, try to get good, smooth grain flow through the grip area up around the magazine on the rifle, and make the grain flow "rise" as it goes forward to the foreend. Don't position the stock so there's lots of figure in the grip area, or you might have to reinforce the grip by putting a steel rod down through it.

If you're really interested in going this route, there's a book which details the steps a professional stockmaker does a stock from a blank:

I have this book and it is a good starting point. I'll warn you tho, it is a long way from looking at the pictures to getting a usable stock under your rifle.

Tools: You'll need a set of chisels and gouges for your inletting. You'll need to make or buy a narrow (like 1/8") "dogleg chisel" to inlet the recoil lug on most any bolt action.

On the outside - a good, steady bandsaw is a nice way to hog off pieces you know you won't need once you get the outline drawn on the blank. Lacking that, I'd suggest a good coping saw. A planer to get the sides parallel and the top line perpendicular to the sides is a really nice thing to have. When you start cutting in a stock from a blank, having a flat top on the blank that you know is 90 degrees to the sides is a huge time saver when you start laying out the action and barrel on the blank.

You'll need to make or buy a set of inletting screws to keep the receiver upright as you're sinking the barreled action into the wood. These screws are usually made from simple cold rolled steel rod, with threads turned on the receiver end with a lathe. When you drill the holes for the receiver screws, don't go too far oversize, because this is how errors start to creep into the inletting.

Once you have the barrel and receiver inlet, you'll need to start inletting the bottom metal, trigger bow, etc. You want to mark the bottom of the receiver and lay out where the magazine has to come up from the bottom. Don't drill straight through from top to bottom, especially on maple. You'll want to drill halfway down from the top, halfway up from the bottom, so any break-out will be contained in the middle of the magazine height where you won't break out the receiver inlet channel, nor the bottom of the stock.

When you're inletting the bottom metal, don't pound the snot out of the bottom metal to get a reading with the inletting black. As you sink the magazine into the wood, if you drive the magazine or bottom metal in too hard, you could split the stock.

On one-piece bottom metals, you will want the top of the magazine to NOT make contact with the bottom of the receiver. If it does, then what will happen is that there is no way to tighten the action and bottom metal together against the wood - ie, the action and/or bottom metal will rattle around in the stock. To prevent this, keep the top of the magazine from touching the bottom of the receiver by, oh, 1/32nd to 1/16th of an inch.

Shaping the outside:

Oh, let's see - you should get a Nicholson #49 and #50 cabinetmaker rasps. I've been told by some that their quality has dropped since Nicholson has outsourced production to Brazil, I think. But if you get a chance in a woodworking shop or dealer to see them, you'll get an idea of what you're looking for and you can find equivalents.

You should look around for a farrier's rasp. When you need to make wood come off a stock quickly, a farrier's rasp does the trick.

Then you'll need a bunch of smaller files and such to work on details.

That's about all I can get off the top of my head just now...
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Old September 9, 2012, 05:20 PM   #12
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I'm a woodworker, as I mentioned above, and I have most all of the tools one would need to make a gunstock. But...I'm not going to make a gunstock. I really don't think I could make just one. I'd have to botch a couple of them before I learned enough about what NOT to do before I could actually get it right. Just like what I'm working on right now, which is (in theory) relatively simple, I did mess up some wood before I finally figured out a way to do a certain thing in a better way. So I'd make the first gunstock out of cheap white pine to make sure I was comfortable with the whole detailed process, and then and only then would I take a good looking chunk of wood and start turning it into a gunstock. Good luck to the OP. And buy the absolutely best chisels you can find. You'll need them and they'll need to be super sharp.
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Old September 10, 2012, 12:58 AM   #13
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Cut down the tree in such a way that you don't shatter it when it hits the ground.
Let it sit 6 months or so to start curing.
Slab the wood 5"-6" thick.
Air dry (preferable) or kiln dry the wood.
Cut into 16" wide x 48" long pieces.
Seal the wood, let it sit a year or so to stabilize.
Cut into 2.5"-3" thick pieces.
Cut into a 3" X 8" X 48" stock blank.
Now here's the critical part:
Find a stock carver who can rough carve the stock blank and rough inlet it for the action you intend to use.
Inlet the stock, shape and finish the outside of the stock.
Total time from tree to rifle= 3+ years.
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
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