Building your own laminated stock

PartsJr.

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Jan 7, 2015
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59
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Minnesota
I’m wondering if anyone out there has dabbled in building their own laminated stock from scratch and if so what you have used for wood and glue?
Looking for suggestions in how to ensure a solid stable stock.
I am considering re-sawing some walnut (3/32” strips) and possibly another wood species and gluing up a blank for a heavy build I’m gearing up for. I might consider machining an aluminum chassis to insert into the stock. If not, I will pillar and glass bed.
 

corsair4360

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Feb 2, 2013
Messages
342
Location
Northern Utah
I’m wondering if anyone out there has dabbled in building their own laminated stock from scratch and if so what you have used for wood and glue?
Looking for suggestions in how to ensure a solid stable stock.
I am considering re-sawing some walnut (3/32” strips) and possibly another wood species and gluing up a blank for a heavy build I’m gearing up for. I might consider machining an aluminum chassis to insert into the stock. If not, I will pillar and glass bed.
I have never built a laminated stock, but I am a furniture maker (wood). The challenge with thin strips of wood is holding them while spreading glue, layup and clamping. My suggestion is to use a jig for holding the strips in position during glue up. They will tend to move all over if not held in place.

I would use a water resistant glue that has "normal" not fast cure. You need time to align all the strips before the glue sets up. I would use a small trim roller with a short to medium "nap" (the length of the "hair" on the roller).

A jig made of two platforms (1) the buttstock portion and (2) the fore-end will permit you to place the glued layers in position before clamping pressure is applied. A stop at the end of the fore-end would be nice to help position the laminate strips. I envision a jig with the fore-end tip on the work surface and some part of the butt stock or pistol grip touching the work surface.
 
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PartsJr.

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Jan 7, 2015
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59
Location
Minnesota
Corsair4360,
Thank you for your input and suggestions. A good jig and a dry run (clamp up without glue) will be critical. I am looking to sandwich the pieces between some heavy steel tube or angle and using lots of clamps to try get a uniform squeeze and consistency. I might glue up in small sections (say 6 - 10 strips) to minimize the number of pieces I have to deal with at one time and I’ll have a helper. I plan to make it longer and wider than needed so I have a little extra to work with. I was thinking about drilling a 1/2” hole on each end and putting a dowel rod in as a way to minimize the piece from sliding up or down on the other. Any suggestions on glue?
 

corsair4360

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Feb 2, 2013
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342
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Northern Utah
I would use titebond ultimate, it has a relatively long working time, is water resistant after cure. I have used titebond wood glues for many years with great success
 

corsair4360

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Feb 2, 2013
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342
Location
Northern Utah
Don't they use epoxy for laminate stocks?
You could use epoxy, all depends upon how much and how is it to work with in laminating. The challenge using epoxy will be obtaining it in sufficient quantity with adequate working time to get it laid up. Those who sell laminated wood do not describe the glue used. Epoxy in the quantity you will need might be a bit of challenge to find.

We have a laminated cherry dining room table I made in in 1981, still looks great, survived many moves, children, grand children, making bread on it...... That table was assembled with titebond. Yes I remember building it in our basement in Beulah, ND. It has moved with us to California, (two places) and now to Utah and still works great IMG_0272.JPG
 
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cohunt

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Jan 21, 2016
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Colorado Springs, CO
I bought some laminated material from a gun guy to make knife scales out of, it was definitely epoxy as when I was done I was able to put a high gloss sheen on it just by buffing it-- pretty sure that Boyd's uses epoxy also. You can buy "blanks" from Boyd's iirc.
 

J E Custom

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Jul 29, 2004
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10,723
Location
Texas
Making your own Laminate is a labor intensive project but well worth the effort if done right.
I have done it for gun stocks and knife handles and have never had a failure so I know it can be done.

In my opinion, the important things to get right are the types of wood used (Low oil content), clean fresh planing (As little handling as possible after it is plained), I also prefer a good slow cure high strength Epoxy with a well thought out clamping system. (The better the clamping, the better the end product). I prefer using steel strong backs for clamping to distribute the pressure more evenly.

Don't know anything about installing steel tubes or bars in the laminates as they are being made, because they are not needed in my opinion and could cause failures because of the differences in materials. If you notice, laminates have the grain running in different directions. This adds strength and rigidity.

Planning the grain lay out and proper clamping is very important for strength and dampening
harmonics. Mixing different types and colors of wood is not only very beautiful , but also very strong. Good luck on your project. 👍

Maybe Joel Russo will chime in and offer some advice. I know he also has done some laminating and is the Guru in this area as far as I am concerned.:)

J E CUSTOM
 

DSheetz

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Aug 22, 2015
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1,580
I have never laminated any but have found that walnut becomes brittle if it isn't stored correctly and a few other woods will do the same .
 

Magnus777

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Jan 7, 2012
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Location
Umpire, AR
Excellent topic! Following! BTW, epoxy is available in quantity from certain aircraft material suppliers. It's used by homebuilders for composite construction.
 

ntsqd

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Nov 16, 2015
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Upper SoKA
Look at West System epoxies. They have a downloadable document on wooden boat building that has any common topics well covered.

For clamping I would look at vacuum bagging with a robust fixture to maintain laminate alignment.

I would consider using one of the fillers with the same epoxy for the bedding agent.
 

tobnpr

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May 30, 2013
Messages
248
West System 105 with the 206 slow hardener would be perfect for this application. Plenty of working time and the thin coating needed to laminate won't exotherm excessively.

You can also add pigment to the epoxy to make the layers "pop" if you choose to do so.

Commercial laminated blanks are formed under extremely high pressures. This ensures full bonding and zero voids in the layup. Even though I cuss at the wear on the router bits (due to the epoxy) when cutting laminated hardwood blanks they're extremely solid and there's no possibility of a "chunk" of wood flying off and trashing the blank when cutting it. I would be hesitant to use anything but epoxy, vacuum bagged for this process- or absent that under a lot of pressure in a shop press. I think traditional wood glues would take many days to cure fully in the inner part of the blank. More room for error I think if the blank is cut/shaped with common hand/power tools instead of a high speed router on a duplicator.

Good luck with it.
 

65WSM

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Nov 24, 2007
Messages
509
Location
Near Mt Rainier
I like to build laminated stocks stiffened with graphite layers. These are stiffer than steel barrels.

Shown is my .224 Nisqually, which was an early small rifle primer case powered with 40 grains of powder. 6.5-47 Lapua case necked down to .224 and with a shoulder blown out to 40 degrees. A small rifle primer .22-250 Ackley or now replaced by .22 Creedmore.

This stock was walnut plank, two layers of graphite fabric, Purplehart wood, two more layers of graphite, with a second walnut plank on the outside. If you look closely, you can see the black graphite layer.

Purpleheart was not a good choice for a urethane outer finish. It is an oily wood and the urethane did not stick to it. 100% solids epoxy and graphite from Tap Plastics mail order. The same 100% epoxy was used to bed the action, with added fiberglass and graphite fibers.
 

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