View Full Version : Wood Carving on Stocks etc

December 21, 2002, 10:45 AM
Just bought a kit from CVA. Was considering having my son do some carving on the stock etc. He's done some nice work in wood. Are there any tricks that I can pass along to him when working with guns. Any thoughts on finishing stocks.

December 21, 2002, 11:27 AM
Son probably knows but....
Practice on same kind of wood.
Different woods respond differently to the chisel and knife.
Even checkering should be tested on a sacrificial piece.


December 21, 2002, 12:19 PM
Nothing beats a good mud rub. Labor intensive, but worth the effort. Velvit oil works about as good as anything I know of and is fairly simple to use.

For an old-fashioned red gunmakers finish Harvey Donaldson gave a really good recipe and process in "Yours Truly"--I would post the recipe etc., but my copy of this book seems to have liberated itself.

Mud rub ( from memory, I use synthetics only) :
1- Sand to final grit i.e. 600 etc.
2- Soak in Varathane over night
3- Hang and allow to dry for a couple of weeks, or as long as you can stand it.
4-With the same grit paper as used for final grit, sand surface smooth.
5-Dip your thumb or finger into Velvit oil (400 Walnut IIRC), and using your hands, a drop at a time, rub it into the wood. Rub it until it feels warm from the friction of rubbing.
6- Hang and allow to dry for a week or so.

Now you are ready to begin the mud-rubbing process, which will fill the pores of the wood and give a lustrous finish.

7- Using the same grit sandpaper that you used for the final grit, dip a small piece of the paper into Velvit oil and begin rubbing the stock with the grain of the wood. This will soon create a "mud". When the mud is fairly well built up, wipe it off with your bare hand against the grain of the wood. Repeat until the whole stock has been gone over in this fashion. Hang and allow to dry for as long as you can stand it- minimun of a week.

Repeat steps 6&7 until all the pores of the wood are filled. You will be able to tell when they are filled just by looking, because some spots will fill faster than others, and you will be able to see the difference from when you first started the process.

Once the pores are all filled, you are ready for the final step.

8- Sand very gently to the final grit.
9- Now the hand rubbing begins. Dip your thumb in the Velvit oil, just a wee slickit drop at a time, and begin rubbing it into the wood. Rub until the wood gets warm from the friction of rubbing. Use a smooth rubbing motion with the palm of your hand. Make sure you are rubbing it in evenly, we want a uniform finish here, we are starting down the home stretch.
10- Hang and allow to dry for at least a week, or as long as you can stand it.

Repeat steps 9 & 10 until the stock is finished.

You will know when it is finished by looking upon it and saying to yourself " It ain't going to get any prettier than that. "

I hope I did not forget anything or leave anything out, if I did, I hope someone will correct me.

Finishing should, of course, be completed before checkering.

As for carving, I know nothing of it.

Good Luck.

PS: Don't forget to whisker the wood between grits during sanding up to final grit.

December 21, 2002, 01:12 PM


4V50 Gary
December 21, 2002, 01:38 PM
Old time gunsmiths didn't have sandpaper. Not that they wouldn't use it, but it didn't exist back then (1700-1830s?). They used scrapers and scraped everything. This was more labor intensive but produced superior results.

For relief carving, allow for 1/8" surplus wood which is carved away leaving the relief molding standing out from the surface. It's labor entensive and requires a good light, steady hands and of course, your son has good eyesight. A varitety of chisels are required and it's good to have some very large slightly arched fishtails. (Still don't have them myself).

December 21, 2002, 11:36 PM
Thank you all for the advice. The page http://riflestocks.tripod.com/bstock.html has a step by step tutorial on building a BP. Good info. Merry Christmas