Stock Making index

Part 5 Shaping the Grip and Butt

To begin the shaping of the grip area, I use the pattern to layout the reference lines for the thumbhole. Because these stocks are ambis, I want to make sure the same layout is on both sides of the stock.

I make a simple card stock pattern for the bottom of the grip, and layout reference marks for the taper of the grip, and the width of the trigger guard on both blanks.

Using a simple homemade marking gauge, I mark the center of the blank inside the thumbhole area.

The tool used for the carving process is a Dremel with a flexible shaft and handgrip, and a 3/8 inch diameter carbide burr. I found a good use for a couple of my old microphone stands, which suspend the Dremel and shaft, and help me aim the dust collector.

When shaping a stock, the idea is to start with a blank, and remove anything that isn’t a stock. To help me “see” the stock within, I carve a few reference channels to the depth of the burr. Then using the adage “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line” I begin to carve. This is the “Zen” part of carving a stock.

Once the carving is close, I use a variety of Microplanes and 80 grit sandpaper to smooth the burr marks and refine the shaping.

Drawing a centerline on the butt cut, I hold the mounting plate for the Morgan Adjustable Butt Pad in place and mark for the holes. Then using a cordless drill, I drill 7/64 pilot holes and attach the plate with the provided screws. A little beeswax makes the job go smoothly.

I layout the rest of the thumbhole ridge and carve a reference channel to the depth of the burr.

Moving to the spindle sander, I shape the butt to the profile of the mounting plate.

I then layout the shape of the cheek. Since this is an ambi, the shape is symmetrical.

It is now time to move outdoors. To shape the rest of the butt, I use an angle grinder with a 60 grit flap wheel. This is one of the steps that I dread for a number of reasons. The angle grinder removes wood at an amazing rate, so a lapse in concentration can change this project into a piece of firewood in the blink of an eye. The grinder can also remove skin and knuckles just as quickly, so protective gloves are highly recommended.

Completing this step without a catastrophe is a cause for celebration, and I take a pause for the cause.

In the next installment, I will clean up the  grip and butt, and begin shaping the forearm.

Part 6 Shaping the forearm