How to Make a Wood Gunstock

By Wade Shaddy

Wood gunstocks can be ornate or common. They can be basic and functional, or works of art with checkering, fancy carvings or exotic woods. They can easily be made by hand with tools that you may already have in your garage or shop. You can order pre-sized gunstock wood blanks from a local gunsmith or online. Use your imagination to carve your own custom gunstock using your own two hands. Start out with a plain design.

List of Items Needed

  • Gun stock template (optional)
  • Table saw with dado blade
  • Rotary tool with sanding and boring accessories
  • Bench vise
  • Wood rasps
  • Sanding block
  • Sandpaper
  • Heavy and light grit abrasives
  • Linseed oil (optional)
  1. Draw the gun stock out on the wood blank using templates or freehand. Mark the locations for triggers, barrels, magazines and any other hardware that your model has.

  2. Cut the groove for the barrel mechanism with a table saw and dado blade. Use a rotary tool with a boring accessory to bore straight down through the neck for the magazine and trigger assembly. Always cut the stock for hardware before carving.

  3. Clamp the wood blank upside down in a bench vise.

  4. Hold the heavy-tooth rasp by the handle. Grab the tip of the rasp with your other hand. Place the rasp's teeth on the top of the wood blank. The rasp should be resting on the edge of the wood blank, pointing down at a 30-degree angle.

  5. Push the rasp forward in one long stroke to remove as much wood as possible. Pull it back up and rasp forward again, digging and removing wood fibers with authority. Move the rasp along the wood blank, rasping with downward thrusts until the profile of the shape of the stock begins to emerge.

  6. Flip the stock right-side up. Rasp the curvature around the back of the stock. Blend the stock on top to meet the dados for the barrel.

  7. Switch to a finer-tooth file and begin to shape the stock. Take it out of the vise. Redraw your original drawing on the stock to help you see the detail. clamp it back into the vise and continue shaping until you have obtained the desired shape.

  8. Switch to power sanding tools to refine the stock. Start out with heavy-grit abrasives to work the stock down until the shape matches what you had in mind. Use a power sander for the wide, flat areas, and a rotary tool with sanding accessories for the edges and detailed sections. Work your way down from rough to fine papers and accessories to finish the stock.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't be alarmed if your stock isn't perfect. Sometimes carvings have a tendency to follow grain patterns in wood. If this happens, just incorporate the stock design into the wood grain. It will result in a custom carved, one-of-a-kind look.
  • Finish by hand rubbing the stock with linseed oil.
  • Always wear safety glasses when carving wood.

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