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making a stock

 
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  #1  
Old 03-11-2013, 11:00 PM
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making a stock

Has anyone on here tried making a stock out of a raw piece of wood? I cut a piece of ewe wood that has been dead for a while and am going to try to make it into a thumb hole stock. the piece I cut has a knot in it but I don't think that is going to pose to much of a problem. I have been drying the piece out for a while and it has stopped cracking but as I hew it will it continue to split if I apply oil?
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:11 AM
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Re: making a stock

You cannot determine what the moisture content is in that piece of wood just by monitoring the end checking. You need a moisture meter to accurately measure the content. If the content is above the allowable limit, and you apply a finish of any sort, you will prevent any further drying of the piece.
If you are serious about this project, I suggest you invest in a good moisture meter, or find someone close to you that has one that will check it for you.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:26 AM
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Re: making a stock

Listen to Joel; he is an expert in wood stocks. In fact, you might want him to do the work.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:03 PM
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Re: making a stock

I don't have the experience that Joel has but I have built a few stocks from a board or piece of a tree
and found that the best way to dry it is to cut it into a rough shape and seal the end grain.

This lets it dry without cracking (With the end grain exposed it will usually dry to fast and split.

It will dry through the sides but much slower.

I did not have access's to a moisture meter which is the right way to test one so I weighed the raw
blank while is was green and periodically weighed it to see how much weight/moisture it lost and
and when I could start on it.

It was not very scientific but so far None of the hand made stocks have given me problems.

As Terry Bradshaw said "I would rather be lucky than good"

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Old 03-12-2013, 05:05 PM
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Re: making a stock

Aging is important, also. Gives the blank the time to relieve the natural stresses within it. It's not unusual for a blank to be in my shop for 5+ years (after reaching 9/8% +- moisture content by my meter) before even considering it. As for your choice of wood,,, well, there's a reason why gunstocks are traditionally made of Walnut and , sometimes, maple or cherry. To each his own. Some lessons are best learned the hard way.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:34 AM
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Re: making a stock

As for your choice of wood,,, well, there's a reason why gunstocks are traditionally made of Walnut and , sometimes, maple or cherry. To each his own. Some lessons are best learned the hard way.

Could you elaborate on this a little more please. Am I just wasting my time or is it because the wood is hard and thus making it harder to work with.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:12 AM
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Re: making a stock

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFishBox View Post
Could you elaborate on this a little more please. Am I just wasting my time or is it because the wood is hard and thus making it harder to work with.
I wouldn't say you are wasting your time, but Yew wood is not commonly used in making gunstocks. It has been a favorite among bow makers over the years.

With regard to the moisture/drying of your piece of wood, it is important to keep in mind that green wood contains moisture in different forms. "Free water" and "absorbed water" are the two most common terms. The "free water" is found in the cell cavaties, and the "absorbed water" is found in the capillaries of the cell walls. When the green wood starts to lose water, the cell walls remain saturated until the free water has evaporated. The point at which evaporation of free water is complete, and all the cell walls begin to lose their moisture, is called the "fiber saturation point". This is generally about 20-30% for most wood species. As your piece of wood dries below the "fiber saturation point", and begins to lose moisture from the cell walls, it will actually shrink. This is where you see the end checking and cracking. As the wood shrinks, it actually becomes stronger.
A piece of wood should be looked at as though it were a sponge... It will give off or take on moisture relavent to the surrounding atmosphere until the moisture in the wood corresponds to the atmosphere..
If I pull a blank off the pile and check it for moisture content, and it pings the meter at 10%, it takes a two week vacation in the kiln to pull the "absorbed water" an knock it down a few %. If it comes out of the kiln at 6%, I let in acclimate for a bit, which invariabily will bring the content up a % or so.

It may sound like a bunch of scientific ju ju, but when you are working with high end gunstock blanks, it helps to have an understanding of what is going on inside that piece of wood so you don't end up with a pile of high end firewood...

My kids have toasted marshmallows over the fire pit fueled with pieces of Turkish and English walnut... Like shortgrass said, some lessons are learned the hard way...
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