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How do you go about making a custom stock?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Rusty Luck, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Rusty Luck

    Rusty Luck Well-Known Member

    I searched for something on this topic but couldn't find anything because so much "custom" stuff came up and I'm not sure if I put this in the right spot, if not Moderators please help me out.

    Now my question is: I'm wanting to make my own stock, what kind of wood would be best? I have the skills and (I think) the tools to accomplish the job just looking for tips and insight. Thanks.
  2. jason41987

    jason41987 member

    walnuts pretty popular for a stock... could probably glue pine together into a blank to practice on first.. but any hardwood you like would be suitable for a stock

    as for tools, if you have the skills to go with it, you could do it with a set of chisels.. but obviously.. modern tools make it easier... a bandsaws good to have, a router of course, various rasps and files for fine tuning the edges and shape, couple bench vices to hold it steady while you work
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    You can buy fully inletted or partially inletted stocks that will allow a good amount of exterior area for custom work without the headaches of doing the inletting. But if you want some wayout shape or size you might have to start with a big blank and cut away everything that doesn't look like what you want.

  4. 25cschaefer

    25cschaefer Well-Known Member

    You could wait until Thanksgiving time when TSJC puts out the schedule and sign up for summer classes and take the two week stock making course. It is a very good class and you will get pretty close to completing a stock. There are a few folks down here that sell walnut as well.

    I made this, this summer, from a blank. This was my first stock ever.


  5. bamajoey

    bamajoey Well-Known Member

    The two that I have made were bench rest stocks for 22 lr. The first was made from walnut which is easy to work with using hand tools or power tools. The second one I made was padauk which is much harder so I used mostly power tools. Table saw, band saw, router, drill press, and high speed grinder with sanding drums. Of course there is some work to be done with chisels on the inletting. Then many hours of hand sanding.:)
  6. Rusty Luck

    Rusty Luck Well-Known Member

    Nice stock! Thanks for the ideas! Where can I find a blank?
  7. mookiie

    mookiie Well-Known Member

    Ask lbjmosinfreak he is working on a custom stock, so some of his experiences will likely be relevant.
  8. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Well-Known Member

    Personally I think that some formal training is needed.
    As a matter of fact, A LOT of formal training is needed UNLESS you have a
    friend/neighbor who knows his stuff AND is willing to help you.
    We are talking of course full length RIFLE stocks where Inletting AND bedding are of utmost importance.
    In reality, the custom stock thing has met it's demise for MOST shooters.
    The Milsurp thing has dried up, so the "custom rifle" on a Mauser action is now in Limbo.
    Good luck however in your endevour,first finding a "stock blank" then figuering out how to go from there.
  9. One_Jackal

    One_Jackal member

    I go to a gunsmith. Tell the gunsmith what I want and why I want it. Then I stack $100 bills on the counter until the gunsmith says stop.
  10. dagger dog

    dagger dog Well-Known Member

    1. Plant a black walnut.
    2. Wait.
    3. "
    4. "
  11. bamajoey

    bamajoey Well-Known Member

    I don't think you have to have formal training at all. I have many years of woodworking experience but no training at all in making rifle stocks,and still made these two. Maybe not the prettiest in the world, but still functional. Both were made from a block of wood, inletting came first, then the outside was shaped. Anyone can do it with the right tools.:)


  12. desidog

    desidog Well-Known Member

    Yeah, don't let these negative comments derail you. If you do it, and it doesn't work....throw it in the corner, take the knowledge gained, and do it again, but right.

    You'll learn from mistakes, but hey, it's fun. What you need is patience, a drill press, a table-mounted router, and a palm sander.

    Start with a piece of wood; doesn't much matter, say poplar because it's cheap. Do your experimentation on that; tolerances etc. and then once you've got it 95%, and know the ins and outs, get a nice peice of wood with a lot of character and grain etc, and do it again...taking it to 110%.

    If at any time you fail, step back, have a beer, think about it, and try again. Most importantly, Enjoy it!
  13. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Desidog, I hope the OP reads your third paragraph before the first one. A corner full of ruined walnut stock blanks will represent a lot of money.

  14. KC&97TA

    KC&97TA Well-Known Member

    OP: 2) 8' 1x6 pine boards for a cost of $7 from Lowes, create a practice laminate stock. Apparently that's were you're supposed to start w/o formal training, cheap / soft wood and take it slow.

    This doesn't work with all gunsmiths... my latest activity proves that.

    bamajoey, those are some beautiful stocks.
  15. RCWFL

    RCWFL Member

    I have to agree with the folks who have said to create practice stocks with scrap wood.

    I glued together two lengths of 2x4 that were the same in length. I'm using them to practice making a stock for my Savage Mark II. The goal isn't to build an exhibition piece or become a master gunsmith over night.

    Its cheap and effective to use scrap wood you have around. The next biggest thing is to find quality tools and learn how to keep them at their peak sharpness.
  16. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2012
  17. KC&97TA

    KC&97TA Well-Known Member

  18. dirtyjim

    dirtyjim Well-Known Member

    a few things i'll recomend is learning how to sharpen your chisels and gouges, how to make and use scapers and instead of starting out with a cheap blank start out with a very expensive blank.
    there is a world of difference in how a very sharp chisel , scraper or gouge cuts and a dull one cuts.
    i make my own scrapers from old saw blades, .030"thick 3" jewlers saws cut into strips with a cutoff wheel on a dremel the shaped with a belt sander make great scrapers.

    some people wont agree with starting off with a high end blank but starting off with a $700-1000 blank will force you to double and triple check every cut and you will not do that with a cheap $40 blank.
  19. jjm5

    jjm5 New Member

    I am doing the same.

    First, YouTube. Subscribe to Hand making gunstock

    Chris Knerr. Starts with Introduction, Wood 1&2, Tools 1-4 and now up to Inletting the stock 1-7. Handtools (he does use a band saw and a drill press).

    I also went up on Internet and got some old gunsmith books (when they really made them by hand). Like Chris, these include cast-off and cast-on.
    Gunstock Finishing and Care by A. Donald Newell. 1949. I got 1975 printing.
    Gunsmithing by Roy F. Dunlap. 1959 This is proabably the best.
    The Modern Gunsmith by James V. Howe. Originally two volumes, I got a combined single volume with updates.

    Watching Chris, you will see that even seasoned wood has some surprises that machine tools would probably miss.

    This will be a year long venture with handtools. I have been getting old (pre-WWII) handtools. I think these have the best steel.

    I think his stocks sell for four or more digits.

    I am going to cut a walnut plank in half and laminate it for a mannlicher stock. This will actually enable me to have the twist/warp work in opposite directions. From one of the books, "A few sportsmen like mannlicher stocks. No stockmakers do." But I want one.

    Functionally, most of these folks agreed that Walnut was best, but others are prettier.

    And, according to Roy Dunlap, for Walnut checkering the answer is 18.
  20. Sol

    Sol Well-Known Member

    Circassian/European walnut, black walnut and orange Osage. Lampblack lots of lampblack.

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