Stock Making index

Part 3 Decorative Cap and Spacer

I intended to begin the inletting in this installment, but have decided to install a decorative cap and spacer first. I used a Sharpie and retraced the profile of the stock to better show the outline of the pattern. The first operation is to make the butt cut. I cut this to 10 degrees.

Next I cut the end of the forearm to 31.62 degrees. This is an angle used for cutting crown molding and is repeatable on most miter saws. This is helpful when installing decorative end caps and spacers.

My pattern for the Marauder doesn’t quite fit on the Claro Walnut blanks, so I will make a cut on the grip using as much of the wood as I can. I start with the straight cut, turn the band saw off, back out of the cut, then turn the blank and complete the cut on the bottom of the butt. I save the off cut for later.

Using the belt sander, I remove the saw marks from the bottom of the grip. Then using 80 grit paper and a flat sanding block, I make sure that the bottom of the grip is completely flat.

I am going to use Wenge for the cap and Figured Maple for the spacer. The Maple has been cut to a thickness if 1/8 inch in the thickness planer. I clean up one side of the Wenge on the jointer.

Then moving to the band saw, I resaw the Wenge to a thickness of 5/8 inch. I then trim both the cap and the spacer on the band saw to slightly more than the thickness of the blank, about 2 3/8 inches. I can then cut the pieces I need to a length of 4 inches.

Because the cap is at an angle to the top of the stock, the off cut comes in handy during the glue up. It helps to wet the off cut to keep it from creeping during the clamping. I use Yellow Carpenters Glue for the cap and spacer. Spread the glue from the center towards the edges so that you don’t pick up any wood chips that would spoil your glue joint.

Place the off cut so that the hump is approximately centered on the grip cap. I like to use my Bessey K Body clamps for this procedure. The Besseys keep the jaws parallel and unlike pipe clamps, the design makes it difficult to over tighten. I want a nice thin film of glue between the pieces, and pipe clamps can actually squeeze out too much glue, weakening the joint.

I allow a minimum of 45 minutes for the glue to set. There is no stress on this joint, so the minimum works fine. For joints that will be stressed, I allow the glue to dry overnight.

In the next installment, I will finish shaping the outline of the stock, and begin the inletting for the action.

Part 4 Inletting