... and if I have to ask how much, should I not even ask?
... and if I have to ask how much, should I not even ask?
Larry Dalrymple and Robin McDougall in Fairbanks. No one is going to be "cheap".
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."
Thanks gunbugs. I'll look into those names if I can't find someone a little closer to home.
I have a book that describes how to do that... maybe I should experiment a little. I have been carving most of my life but that rigid geometry just looks scary to me.
I looked into this a couple years ago here in Anchorage, and found what you are hearing and likely finding. There aren't many folks who have developed/maintained that skill, and it's prohibitively expensive. I have to guess current mass-produced stocks are checkered by computer-controlled machinery.
I thought about trying to learn it myself, realized I didn't have enough time to do all the things I already wanted to do, so I forgot about it and moved on.
I have heard of this lady. She does great work, done expeditiously. She lists $230 for a basic job:
With a set of basic tools from Brownells or Midway, you can buy a checkering set and do it yourself for about $100.00. It just takes time and patience. It really isn't that difficult to do a job as good as those on most mass produced gunstocks.
So there is your price range!
Sayak, I have an old Savage 99 birch stock set that you can grab if you'd like to try your self. Midwayusa has checkering tools for $40, and a DVD. I'm going to practice on an older stock and do checkering myself on two rifles. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to trace out a fairly attractive and useful pattern.....and work it into checkering.
The site GD Yankee posted has some information from her main page about doing it yourself- good read.
I pulled out one of our Kimber of Oregon 82s to check on the checkering as the gal in question states she was the head checker for Kimber. Very nice. Not perfect, but mine is a "field" or regular production (LH) rifle. I remember some of the rifles at their final auction and the checkering on those were quality art.
Thanks for all the replies folks! I have some old walnut trophy plaques laying around and I think I might give it a try to see just how hard it really is. The DVD sounds like a good idea Mainer.
It's that potential "Oops!" moment that has me scared!
I did my first practice job on an old Sears/JC Higgins single shot 22. The stock was birch I think. I sanded it down, put a Tru Oil finish on it, then tried the checkering job. The wood actually was the toughest part - its grain didn't take checkering well. You'll learn a lot on your first try. If you choose a basic pattern the mistakes you'll make aren't all that bad. Over runs past to borders generally aren't too tough to fix. Your first lines are really just layout lines and once you've put them down, you are only deepening the lines to point up the diamonds.
You should give it a try!
Hope my pictures post correctly. This is my second try on a cherry-stocked 10/22. Came out pretty well.
If you are going to checker a gunstock it will be worth your time to build a checkering cradle from some 2x4s or buy one from Brownells. This holding device allows you to rotate the stock smoothly as you cut, so you always apply pressure on the cutter at the same angle. I would also suggest a 3X optivisor magnifier, if you can round one up. The extra magnification gives you a better feel for how the wood is cutting, cutter sharpness, and makes it easier to follow your master lines.
I personally prefer the Len Brownell cutters, the teeth are further apart so they clear chips much better. The DemBart tools are good, but you have to make certain the cutters aren't clogged up or you'll be all over the place.
I would start out with a 16 or 18 LPI setup as anything much finer requires alot more skill and patience. Get a single line cutter, double line cutter, and a jointer to start with before you invest in a bunch of tools. With those three tools you can do most any pattern, as long as you're not in a hurry. And you should never get in a hurry when checkering, it won't end well. Also get a layout diamond set, these will keep your diamonds in the pattern synetrical when used for layout.
Also remember for your practice pieces that the densest hardest walnut you can find will generally checker the best. As your skill develops you can learn how to work softer woods, they are harder to work with as they don't hold diamonds well, and before you know it you'll have a sunken checkering panel.
Have fun and let us know how it turns out.
From TheKid: "I would also suggest a 3X optivisor magnifier, if you can round one up. The extra magnification gives you a better feel for how the wood is cutting, cutter sharpness, and makes it easier to follow your master lines."
What he said! For anyone over 40, and probably everyone else, the optivisor is crucial to keep your lines going. Same thing with the cradle. You can build one yourself easily. My 10/22 was done with an 18 LPI Gunline "Camp Perry" kit. 18 lines per inch feels a little rough, but was a good starting point.
I practiced on some scrap walnut and like he says, get some good hard walnut to practice on - it cuts like a dream compared to anything else.
P.S. Wow, seems everyone has given you the advice I did. Great minds think alike. Get your Optivisor off eBay. A selection of lenses will work well for you too.
Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein
Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)
You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...