Walnut is beautiful, but laminate is.............

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by hemiford, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. hemiford

    hemiford Well-Known Member

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    better ? more resistant to swelling when wet? less prone to dimensional change
    (unless the barrel is floated ....?) Less effect if the barrel is floated, that is....

    OR, does the wood treatment make more difference, i.e., oil vs. plastic clearcoat....?
     
  2. carl1775

    carl1775 Well-Known Member

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    Each has it's place and purpose, both aesthetically and functionally. A good stock is a good stock, natural grain, or laminated. A bad stock, is just a bad stock...
     
  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, Laminates have very few short comings. weight being one of them. A good laminate is very dimensionelly stable and improves recoil and harmonics. It is still not as nice looking as some exotic woods. But has the feel and warmth of wood.

    The fact that they are pressure bonded, they also do well in wet climates. It is my preference for stock materials over everything else
    because of their balance also.

    Just my opinion

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  4. Aoudad shooter1975

    Aoudad shooter1975 Well-Known Member

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    I love wood...I mean love wood...I think I have 5 sticks of some of the finest Turkish walnut available just setting here waiting on the right project--that will probably never happen. I have a custom 416 that has a stick on it that will make your tongue hang out. A Luxus model 11 with a marble cake stock that magazines took pictures of..but when it comes down to using...well my synthetics get the nod..I have exactly 3 laminates in my cabinet. A 10/22, a ruger 77 in a 338 RCM, and TC encore...they work..have the feel of wood--but fit and finish are just not there...if I want the feel of wood--I want the marble cake to go along with it!
     
  5. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    While I agree fully that the laminates are much more resistant to warpage and provide a stronger, and more consistent shooting platform then full walnut/wood stocks, having cut my teeth on the early classics, for me, they can never achieve the sheer beauty and character of even the plainest of walnut stocks.
     
  6. tim_w

    tim_w Well-Known Member

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    Agreed!!!

    There is just something about it.

    One of the nicest and my guess most expensive stocks I ever saw was on a 375 H&H African Safari and was done is a unbelievable piece of Snakewood that was perfectly hand finished and rubbed out. This was many years ago but I still bet it cost close to $2K for the blank. I had no idea what the would was at the time. But WOW

    I guess growing up on them I have always liked the feel of a well made and finished Walnut or other high end wood to that of the syth and laminates.
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Well-Known Member

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    The biggest drawback to laminates is they are so unfriendly to the chisel, gouge and scraper. Most of that glue that's used just doesn't cut worth a darned, and will dull your inletting tools in a heart beat! Good hardwood for rifle stocks doesn't come on the cheap, and I guess that's the 'rub' in all of this. A good 'stick', properly fitted to metal and shaped for proper handling and sealed (there's the key, proper finishing and sealing) is down right expensive. I guess that's why laminates and synthetics 'rule' these days.
     
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  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Stocks are one of the most personal components in a rifle build so there are going to be many different preferences.

    Each type has its merits. What looks good to some, doesn't look good to others. What works well in some environments, doesn't in others.

    I have all three types of stocks for different purposes. If I want to use a rifle in the worst environment, (Weather, rough handling, carting around for long distances, riding around on 4 wheeler handlebars, I would use the composite stock.

    If I want to build a show piece rifle, with the best actions and components, to look the best and afford me some bragging rights. I would chose fine hardwood stocks.

    If I wanted a stock that could have the attributes of both with little compromises, I would chose a laminate.

    I like all three types and use them for the benefits each offer.

    When building a rifle for a friend, I spend more time trying to find out what type of stock that he wants than the other aspects of the build.
    (Maybe because of the technical aspects of the metal work compared to the personal aspects of the stock).

    J E CUSTOM
     
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  9. Dosh

    Dosh Well-Known Member

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    ..............but laminate is so damn strong and very reasonably priced along with a lot of styles available for most rifle makes. Many do need bedding due to generic inletting though. I have a couple high end factory Weatherby walnut stocks I'm keeping for some nice actions. IMO JE Custom's exotic woods stocks are pure works of art, they belong on display somewhere to be viewed by all.
     
  10. hemiford

    hemiford Well-Known Member

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    I am NOT a woodworker/artist AT ALL.

    So, when I attempt any kind of bedding, it's on a stock
    that I know (and don't mind) that it probably will end
    up looking like a bondo-wagon street rod. Ugly, but
    it works. No resale value though, in that shape.

    I think there one rifle project of mine that I wanted
    to keep the walnut stock. That one I'll likely have to
    find someone with talent to do the bedding !
     
  11. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    Having build all 3 from scratch, hardwood, laminate, and fiberglass I have formed opinions. Fiberglass wins in every way. Second is laminate, 3rd is hardwood. While beautiful and certainly can be done right, it has issues that need to be watched. If not properly dried they can warp on you. Usually the more figure and burl the less structural the wood becomes. Some burl is down right brittle. I inlet, bed, and finish multiple stocks every week, and you wont find anything but glass in my personal safe.
     
  12. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    now I like laminate stocks over just about anything, BUT! I have two or three rifles with some seriously pretty walnut (one is four or five colors). All are 30-06, and all are close to forty years old. The point of impact has not changed on any of them from day one. The only thing I can think of is that the walnut blank was very well aged on each one. I first thought about the wood grain, but one has the wood grain going all over the place, but all of them pretty flow from front to rear.

    My first laminate stock was on a Savage varmint rifle. That poor rifle went thru snow storm, sleet, rain, and even some mud. Yet never an issue. Too bad somebody can't find away to dip them and make them look like fine walnut!
    gary
     
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  13. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Believe it or not, there are laminate stocks that do have fine hardwood on the outside of the laminate. Most are 5 to 7 layers of contrasting woods in the core that are somewhere around 1/4 " thick with an outside layer of fine wood. Years ago I had a stock like this with carbon fiber in the center/core . then maple on each side of that and finally a fine walnut on the outside, It was beautiful and very ridged.

    I cant find the stock maker that built the blank, but here is an example of this process.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=cus...A#imgdii=IJ27qPgCymKoVM:&imgrc=kLV8C8gTpuSDSM:

    J E CUSTOM
     
  14. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    A decent laminate is pretty well impervious to weather conditions because it is pressure treated at high heat to impregnate the epoxy through all the layers of wood.

    "Real Wood" is beautiful but I prefer laminates for practicality. I'm especially partial to the grey laminates.
     
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