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Old August 12, 2021, 06:22 AM   #1
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Stock Wood

Walnut is traditional, and I've used maple on flintlocks and one Mauser. What else makes a good stock? Richards sells myrtle. Any experience with that? Any others?
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Old August 12, 2021, 06:28 AM   #2
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Walnut became the traditional wood because it was the cheapest option available back in the day. Not necessarily for it's looks. 100 years ago walnut was plentiful, inexpensive, light weight, and was just soft enough to be easily machined, yet tough enough to hold up.

If someone wanted a nice looking stock cherry and maple were common options. Today decent walnut is getting hard to find and is now somewhat expensive.
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Old August 12, 2021, 07:16 AM   #3
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The parsonage of our church in southern Ohio, built late in the 18th century, has walnut floor joists. I am looking for something different but not completely impractical
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Old August 12, 2021, 10:42 AM   #4
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Some US military stocks used Birch, you can still find some M-14 milsurp stocks for sale.

A quick search shows some folks are making laminated Birch stocks today.
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Old August 12, 2021, 10:57 AM   #5
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Wish I could tame Osage-Orange and Hickory

What else makes a good stock?
Depends on the cut and domestically, American Black Walnut is good. Basically. hard-woods and Secondary hardwoods are also good. In the European hardwoods, I prefer Turkish Walnut and another one that I can't spell. Again, the cut is important. One domestic wood that I would not recommend, is Red-Oak. White Oak and maple are also used. ..

You need to differentiate between domestic and foreign hard and secondary hardwoods. .....

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Old August 12, 2021, 11:13 AM   #6
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Makes a good stock, pretty and durable.
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Old August 12, 2021, 03:27 PM   #7
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My first rifle stock is AA myrtle. It is easy to carve and inlet, sands easily, and has been relatively stable over time. It does check faily easily, but it looks beautiful when the light hits it right. Use a light-colored stain to bring out any figure or grain. Black myrtle has dark steaks through it but otherwise is the same blond wood.

Walnut is commercially grown, so it is one of the few sustainable harvest woods, the main reason it was used for so many things. It also has cross-linked grain, which makes it a bit stronger and harder to split. There are numerous varieties of walnut, each with their own properties. Here in the States we use a lot of Black walnut for gunstocks, but European walnut gives us several varieties as well (Bastogne, English, French, Circassian, Turkish), and there are Asian, African and South American walnut woods (not sure if they are all true walnuts, though). Claro walnut (California black walnut) is not very dense, but it is pretty when you get a nice piece.

Most commercially available maple is commercially grown (sugar maple), but there is enough wild maple on the market to make it hard to say one way or the other. Maple is pretty, easy to work and sand, and about the same density as walnut, but is not cross-linked. Most maple blanks I see are sugar maple (eastern maple, hard rock maple, fiddleback maple, etc), but you will find Western maple as well (big-leaf maple, silver maple).

Various fruit woods and nut woods are suitable for gunstocks, thy're just hard to find in a big enough piece to use for a gunstock due to horticultural practices (nobody wants to pick fruit 30 feet off the ground). Apple wood is beautiful, but most commercial orchards do not let their trees get past 20 years old, not big enough to yield a slab large enough to carve a gunstock out of. Mulberry wood is pretty, but there is not a lot of it grown any more. Pear wood is nice but rather bland. Hazel wood is very nice and beautifully grained, but you will have trouble finding a piece big enough to make a rifle stock. Cherry wood is beautiful, plum wood is pretty, olive wood is kinda bland. There are a lot of woods you can use.

Tropical woods are interesting but expensive. Years ago I had a customer ask if I could make him a stock out of purple heart. When I checked the price for a slab that thick, it was pricey. But it would have been beautiful.

Legume woods can be really pretty, but a re generally hard to work. Koa is a type of locust tree from Hawaii, it can be bland or beautiful. Mesquite and desert ironwood are pretty, but finding a piece big enough for a stock can be like finding a four-leaf clover. Paulonia has purple-ish grain if you're into that type of stuff. Madrona fiddleback is pretty but brittle. Manzanita is pretty. There are so many, but walnut is cheapest.
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Old August 12, 2021, 04:15 PM   #8
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Thanks folks. I'm going with myrtle from Richards. Just need to confirm if I bought a short or a long action. Should be a nice gun. And I'll be sure to bed it properly.
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Old August 12, 2021, 06:06 PM   #9
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Laminate rough blocks an option?

Was just toying around on Boyd's website for small parts for a stock I purchased from them.

They sell pre cut hardwood laminate blanks.

I have a carbine length flintlock musket that is my go to for chasing those dang elusive deer around. Tiger Maple, or some call it striped maple. Sometimes I even forget there are deer to chase after some days... Just drool-worthy!!
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