Stock Making index

Part 2 Installing the Adjustable Comb Hardware.

Most rifle blanks come surfaced two sides and shaped like a long triangle/polygon.

I straighten one edge on the jointer and lay my pattern on the blank aligned with the edge I just straightened.

I trace the pattern on the blank including all the reference marks for the inletting. Once I see where the stock sits in the blank, I remove a wedge shaped piece from below the forearm. I glue this piece to the bottom of the blank, and once dry, I rip the blank on the table saw so that I have a parallel edge to help when making the mortise for the comb hardware. More on that later.

Using a pattern that gives me a 2 inch cheek with 45 degree angles and 1 inch radii , I mark the blank for the cutout.

Using the band saw, I carefully make the cutout. The better this cut is, the easier it is to match the two pieces.

On the belt sander I remove the saw marks from the cheek. Using the oscillating spindle sander with a fence I do the same on the blank. Using the fence keeps the bottom of the cutout parallel to the edges of the blank. Once the saw marks are sanded clean, I fit the two pieces together as tight as I can. You can chase your tail doing this, so once I get it close, I leave it alone. After the stock is shaped, I will fine tune this match.

The next step is to layout the mortise for the Adjustable Comb Hardware that I make in Part 1. I scribe a perpendicular reference line on the blank and cheek. Then using this reference as a centerline, I mark the rest of the mortise.

I set up a fence on the drill press and using a inch Forstner bit, I begin making the mortise. I want it to be a little over inch deep so the hardware sits just below the surface of the wood. I start in the middle, checking the depth, then drill the ends. I keep drilling between the previous holes until the mortise is roughed out.

While I still have the fence set up, I switch to a inch Forstner bit and drill the clearance holes for the rods, using the centers already made from the previous operation. I want these holes to be 1 inch below the bottom of the mortise. This will give me 1 inch of adjustment on the cheek piece.

Using a sharp chisel (you can’t go wrong with Marples Chisels) and 80 grit sand paper, I clean the mortise until the hardware fits without forcing it. I work slowly and check the fit  as I go. Remember, you can’t put the wood back on.

Once the mortise is correct, I use a transfer punch to locate the holes for the wood screws. Then moving back to the drill press, I drill 3/32 inch pilot holes.

To allow access to the 10-32 set screw, I locate and drill a 3/16 hole in the blank. The set screw locks the cheek in place at the desired height.

Borrowing a technique used by cabinet makers (before plate jointers) I turned a pair of dowel points for locating the matching holes in the cheek. Dowel points were used to locate matching holes when joining boards together edge to edge to make wide stock for table tops.

Using my reference line, I align the cheek with the blank and press the two together. That gives me the location of the holes for the rods.

With a 3/8 inch Forstner bit, I drill the holes in the cheek at inch depth.

A perfect fit every time. A little epoxy holds the rods in the wood.

In the next installment, I’ll show you how to inlet the blank for the Marauder action.

Part 3 Decorative Cap and Spacer