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Gunstock wood - question

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by ghrit, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Any stockmakers here?

    The recent storms up thisaway left me with a down cherry tree. I've cut it up in firewood lengths except for a roughly 5 foot log, about 18 inches in diameter which just might yield a suitable slab or two for a stock. This is one of the straightest grain woods I've ever seen, coming as it did from a 60 foot tree. I've been told that cherry is plenty strong enough for stocking, and based on some furniture I've had (and have) over the years (including a 200 year old tall case clock) it's pretty stable when properly dryed/cured. The question is, "How does one prepare the log/sawn wood for cure?"

    Yes, I know proper aging is apt to be a couple years. Storage will be in the basement, which is well vented and kept above freezing in the winter. (Unless someone tells me otherwise and it winds up in the shed without any kind of climate controls.)
  2. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    My dad makes guitar bodies, and I think the process would be the same.

    You'd have it cut into slabs, in your case, maybe 5' long and 3.5" thick and 7" wide (or thereabouts). The final moisture content of the wood should be < 10% (I think around 6-8%). The last few percents might have to be done in a kiln.

    Air Drying Cherry Slabs
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Good scoop, thanx. [bow] Now to find a mill to slab it.
  4. gejoat

    gejoat Monkey+

    Hi ghrit
    1st What kind of stock design; Monti Carlo, straight, shotgun, ect..
    2nd what sized, good idea look at other guns same kind and get rough dimensions from them
    3rd add extra all the way around; at least three inches on each end for possible checking
    4th now splint your log inn half through the pith (center of the tree) assuming no bandmill then "A" chainsaw (be careful most chainsaw bars and chains are designed to crosscut not rip cutting) or "B" use series of splitting wedges but you may not get a straight even split (be careful of steel wedges wanting to pop out and ding you in the shin or other places)5th put the flat side down and slice off / wedge off side pieces
    6th turn on edge and slice off / wedge off outside of tree (this should leave you with almost no sap wood)
    7th allow at least one year per inch thickness for air drying
    8th this will take longer but reduce possible checking at the ends of your blanks; coat them with glue, or paint, or initially you can put them in paper grocery bags to help slow down drying and prevent checking
    9th now stack them flat on sticker boards (always place sticker boards directly above the one below) (sticker boards are about 1"x1' x longer than stack is wide) out of the way, out of sunlight, out of air movement (no air blowing over them) and not in damp spots.
    10 check occasionally:
    11 in due time have fun making your stocks
    12 Woodcraft Supply, Brownells and others sell books and special tools to help and guide along the way

    Good luck feel free to contact me directly if you like on private messages
  5. gejoat

    gejoat Monkey+

    For fine woodworking Instruments I would agree
    However for the intended purpose I would be comfortably in 12 to 14 % range depending on area of country
    Florida 14 to 20% Arizona 4 to 6 %
  6. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    it will warp and bow
    get it quarter sawn so each plank has part of the heartwood
    this will give you the best and strongest wood
    then there are 2 ways to season it properly
    the best is standing on end where there is free airflow
    the second best is piled with spacers
    kiln drying is a rush job and may well f*ck up your wood
    controlled climate im not too fond of either, it changes the way your wood seasons
    ive been in woodworking for over 40 years, old style wood working
    like the amish and our ancestors
    and yes any fruit wood is quite strong and usually very hard
    Cephus and NVBeav like this.
  7. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    The way I dry wood is to leave it as a log with the bark on, then paint or wax the ends. This will not allow the wood to dry fast on the ends. then put I put it in the barn, this will take several years (were talking 4-5 maybe more depending on size) but you will have very little if any cracking. Then have it cut.

    Cephus and oth47 like this.
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