How Many of You Do Your Own Hand Checkering? And, Is It Fun or More Like Pulling Teeth?  

 

ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 131
June 12, 2018 16:53  

I've done a limited amount of stippling with pretty good success on occasion, but the hand checkering process looks to me like it's outside of my skill set.  I've touched-up some worn or damaged checkering on stocks I had here for a tune of the working parts of the associated rifles, and it's pretty-easy to mess it up in my experience--I barely got away with no carnage in the wake is what I'm trying to say.

I remember discussing this topic with someone years ago, and he told me of a woman--an unpretentious-looking Asian woman of small stature if my memory serves correctly--who was sitting at a table at a gun show and who was turning out specimen after specimen of high-quality checkering so fast it would make your head swim.  My hat is off to her and any who are like her. 

I do have some skill with hand tools, so maybe I need to plunge-in on some scrap wood and see what I can do (??).

If you have some panels of checkering you've done, I'd love to see some pictures.  Also, do you have a favorite set of checkering tools you can recommend?  For that matter, do you have ANY tips you can recommend?  As it stands right now I wouldn't even know where to start, although I seem to remember that maybe you get started by laying down an outline, or perhaps stencil of what you hope to accomplish with the use of some sort of tool or tools before you start the actual cutting process.

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun Tune-Meister


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marflow
(@marflow)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 213
June 12, 2018 17:49  

I think the key would be how much time do you want to waste training yourself to do it, I would think it will be a very frustrating  adventure at first and only time will tell if you have the skill set to stay inside the lines

I have always thought it would be a great skill to learn and also know that I would never get to the point i could do it well, i don't have the patience

but buy the tools and give it a go but perfection is the goal, bad checkering is just that

mike


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sonnysan
(@sonnysan)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 72
June 12, 2018 18:31  

I'd first go to youtube and search for, "how to hand checker a stock".  You'll then find out if this venture is right for you.

I wouldn't worry about "skill sets".  You can always acquire them at any age if you are determined to succeed.  Start out by purchasing a dem-bart or gunline checkering set if you'd like to pursue it.


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JohnL57
(@johnl57)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 14
June 12, 2018 19:48  

Hi, Ed,

I have a son who went through a gunsmithing program at The Colorado School of Trades. One of the student projects was a checkered panel on a scrap block. I turns out he has the knack-his instructors thought he'd done it before. The project proved to be rather challenging for most students and there wasn't that much interest, so the checkering assignment has been dropped from future classes. Here's a pic of his first attempt. He did find  it a challenge!

image1 (1)


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Knobs
(@knobs)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 13
June 12, 2018 20:36  

I did some checkering about 10 years ago. I recommend you start at 18 LPI. I had both Gunline & Dembart checkering tools. I'd but both as they have their pros & cons.

Cheap wood will cost you in additional checkering labor.

 

Knobs


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 131
June 12, 2018 21:17  

That does look really nice.  The border is very-clean looking too, which must have taken some time.

I'm not sure how a gun smithing class can justify omitting checkering as a part of it, but maybe that's because laser checkering (or pressed checkering?) has gotten to be so common on production guns.  That doesn't seem to address what to do if you're a DIY guy and have a stock in front of you that wasn't checkered at the factory and you'd like to have it done, like the stock I have on a Chinese springer right now.  After the tuning work I did on it, the rifle shoots quite well.  But, the stock remains smooth in the hands and thus a little slippery.  It may have some stippling in its future unless I decide to invest the energy to learn how to do checkering.  Well, of course I guess I could go with a spray-on bed liner product, but I sort of like the natural wood color and grain.

 

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun Tune-Meister


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JiminPGH
(@jiminpgh)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 60
June 13, 2018 07:59  

I have never started from scratch, but I have "re-cut" checkering using very fine riffler files from harbor freight.  You have to run each groove in both directions, and be very careful at the borders.  I've had good results rejuvenating worn checkering on vintage guns, and even sharpened up the factory pressed checkering on a Gamo 440.  Get yourself a pair of 2X reading glasses, and go slowly.  A single pistol grip panel can take a couple hours.  Also, walnut is softer than beech, and requires a lighter touch, or you'll over-cut.


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Gratewhitehuntr
(@gratewhitehuntr)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 115
June 13, 2018 08:06  

I'm scared, and too cheap to buy the tools.

Maybe someday, but as Marflow said "... perfection is the goal..." and I'd rather live with ugly factory stuff  than engaging on a personal quest to ruin stocks.

 

Recutting some ugly stuff is a good idea, but tools still cost.

Maybe when I'm reaaaaaally old?

x


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Doug Phillips
(@jdphill)
Member of Trade
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 15
June 13, 2018 14:37  

Fun or Pulling Teeth ???????-----------------That's a tough call.

I would have to go with somewhere in between because I have done both and also some hand checkering by necessity Only.

I never actively sought checkering jobs, but eventually I had to perform some 'Repairs' that were Destroyed by accidents.

At first I consulted  with some well Established Experts in the Firearms field. Their prices were very steep and probably well deserved.

I was advised by one very talented and expensive Wood worker that it is a field where you don't do it for relaxation or Hobby.

He said one does it only because they Actually Like to do it,  and if you don't enjoy it,   you will not be good at it,  or last very long.

Truer words are seldom spoken my Friends!

Another problem was finding the tools "in Stock" at Brownells  or elsewhere. One can find some, but never All,  no matter how many months/years apart you search.

My  Learned Advice. Get an old Chinese B-3 beater stock and about $30 worth of cutters from the interweb along with a beginners book on "How to Checker your Grand Dads ole Winchester (pre 1960) Model 70 Walnut Collectors piece" (over the weekend).  LOL !!

NOT !           Stick with the B-3 and you got nothing to lose to see if you have what it takes to Hand Checker Wood Stocks. It's a gift not every one possess.

HTH------- doug,P.

 

History IS The Preview of The Future !
doug,P.


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marflow
(@marflow)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 213
June 13, 2018 15:03  

and perfection is all about practice and knowledge, is there someone near you that could get you started

we all have some sort of skill that others would never try or have the ability to do but all might be done with practice, hell all you can do is screw up some wood and spend some money

I looked on Ebay and there are some sets there and one is up for bid in 4 days, use it and try and if your good your are good to go and if not resell the tools get your money back and then I can teach you to do Banquets, old Chef here LOL

mike


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Pellettron2240
(@pellettron2240)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 37
June 13, 2018 15:38  

I was lucky enough to have been given a checkering set, and let me tell you it is not easy. But i like it...takes allot of patience..


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 131
June 13, 2018 23:21  

I wouldn't mind using some patience and investing some time if I thought I could get somewhere.  Working on the moving parts of springers takes some patience, too.  I just don't want to hack-up a nice piece of wood if I can help it.  I may just buy a random piece of pine at Home Depot and start there.

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun Tune-Meister


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JohnL57
(@johnl57)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 14
June 13, 2018 23:31  

"I wouldn't mind using some patience and investing some time if I thought I could get somewhere.  Working on the moving parts of springers takes some patience, too.  I just don't want to hack-up a nice piece of wood if I can help it.  I may just buy a random piece of pine at Home Depot and start there."

A word of advice-try to get hold of a piece of hardwood, Walnut, Cherry, Beech or Honduran Mahogany, or even Poplar or Alder. Trying to learn checkering with pine will make anybody crazy!


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
Joined:6 months  ago
Posts: 131
June 14, 2018 11:31  
Posted by: JohnL57

A word of advice-try to get hold of a piece of hardwood, Walnut, Cherry, Beech or Honduran Mahogany, or even Poplar or Alder. Trying to learn checkering with pine will make anybody crazy!

Point taken.  I can do that.  I've seen pieces of walnut listed for sale Online.  Thanks.

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun Tune-Meister


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marflow
(@marflow)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 213
June 14, 2018 15:00  

one thing about a chunk of wood you get lots of tries, just remove the first attempt by sanding or planing and try again

you can find some pieces on Ebay but there used to be a seller that had great prices but he has been missing for some time now but I was able to get some nice walnut and other there, haven't looked in awhile

mike


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DavidEnoch
(@davidenoch)
Joined:7 months  ago
Posts: 105
June 14, 2018 15:40  

I have not tried it myself.  My dad did some years ago.  It looked pretty nice but not as good as the example above.  Dad started off with his wood mallet handles, then a knife handle, and then some less valuable guns.

David Enoch


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