Calling All Inletting Experts


March 14, 2016, 10:51 AM
Morning folks,
Working on a semi-inletted stock for a Mauser 98 sporter and I'm trying to wrap my head around when to remove and, more importantly, when not to remove the black marks left by inletting black (or in my case, dry erase marker on the action and denatured alcohol brushed on the stock).

There are some great youtube videos by Chris Knerr that detail stock inletting, and he briefly delves into this issue but I'm still having trouble fully understanding when you don't want to remove black marks. I can already see a couple spots where there are black marks but a noticeable gap between the stock and the action.

Mr. Knerr uses actual inletting black. He discusses how it looks flat when rubbed against the stock from fitting and shiny or burnished when bumped against the wood by you wiggling the action as you place or remove it. Perhaps this is a phenomenon that only occurs with inletting black and won't happen with my dry erase/denatured alcohol method. I do notice that the ink will soak into the wood a little bit if the wood is very wet with alcohol, and I imagine this doesn't happen with actual inletting black.

Any tips from the experts on this?


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boom boom
March 14, 2016, 01:32 PM
Is your receiver bed and barrel channel dry? I've found that sealed barrel channels clean up easier than dry ones--you can seal it with boiled linseed oil or tung oil before using scrapers on the barrel channel. Use light coats btw. I suppose that you could use a wax blend in a similar fashion.

Sealing the interior of the stock helps the stock resist gun solvents and oils, humidity variations in the field, and stiffens the wood. Dry wood is more likely to crack and warp in humidity changes. I usually use BLO or Tung all over on old dry stocks as part of the milsurp stock rehab process after fixing cracks, gouges, dents, etc. I repeat applications of stock oil until I am ready to mount the action to the stock. I use a beeswax blend with natural oils as the top dressing for the channel. Seems to work and prevent subsequent cracks and warping of the stock. Sealing the stock also means that it will give some protection to the barrel and action because a sealed stock won't keep moisture present next to the metal.

March 14, 2016, 01:56 PM
I have not seen the dry erase marker used so can't comment on it. Inletting black is the way to go. Put it on the metal and remove wood where it transfers to to the stock. Then re-apply to the metal before proceeding. I have seen some people use their wife's old lipstick. It works but the real inletting black cleans up easier.

March 14, 2016, 03:14 PM
So you go ahead and remove the wood ANYWHERE it gets black on it? How do you keep from getting gaps around the edges?

March 14, 2016, 04:17 PM
Remove a very small amount at a time while checking the fit.

Jim K
March 14, 2016, 09:32 PM
I don't claim to be a wood worker and don't even play one on TV, but the best wood guy I ever knew used lipstick for inletting. He claimed the black or blue stuff soaked in and was hard to remove if you didn't remove the wood.


March 15, 2016, 02:47 PM
I wish that you lived closer!

boom boom
March 15, 2016, 04:44 PM
I use the cheap lipstick trick particularly on old dark stocks and quick and dirty trimming. Brownells does sell a gold colored inletting fluid for these as well as black.

March 15, 2016, 05:51 PM
Tried some lipstick today. FYI I do think it works better than the dry erase/denatured alcohol method. It isn't quite as easy to apply to the action but it doesn't soak into the stock at all so the marks are much sharper.

I'm still not quite certain on the answer to my original question of how to tell when black marks should NOT be removed versus when they should. I think a lot of the black marks around the very edges of the top of the inletting are from me wiggling the action slightly as I insert and remove it. So I've been leaving the black marks around the edges and so far that hypothesis is true--they are from wiggling and don't need to be removed. I keep getting marks down beneath the edges and I'm making progress, so until that stops the marks at the edges are staying. And once the action is at the halfway point in the inletting, AKA the largest diameter is fitting, then there should be no reason to remove anything at all from the edges.

March 15, 2016, 06:28 PM
Are you also using inletting screws?

March 15, 2016, 08:56 PM
I have guide screws but not the ones that you can actually crank down on. It's a bit tough to know exactly where they oughtta be, though, because the front threads are not dead square. But so far the guide screws have been close enough that if they're not pointing where they should be, I can't tell.

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