DOLL UP YOUR FAVORITE GUN
By WALTER W. SMITH
The photograph shows my favorite shot gun, the model 1912 16 gauge Winchester weighing 6J pounds with a 75 per cent choke barrel that is fitted with a matted rib;
It is the regular standard grade but, liking guns that have a nice finish and somewhat special, I decided to fix it up to suit myself and do the work too, for I would find a lot of pleasure in the doing as well as the having after it was done the way I wanted it. In the first place I decided that to do it well I would not hurry it so took my time and planned everything well before I started.
I wanted to make up a nice stock and fore-end that not only had a nice grain in them but wanted the stock to fit and the fore-end to extend back farther than usual so that I could read it easily since I am a little short in the reach. From an old and well seasoned walnut stump that I dynamited on the farm I secured the wood. I got it out from about where the roots met the stump.
The next problem was to get the hole lengthwise through the stock for the long bolt that attaches the frame to the stock. I knew it would take accurate shooting to get this hole just in the right place but finally decided that I could be sure of a more accurate shot if I started it right from each end and met in the middle. This made it easy and the two holes did get together in the middle or at least close enough together to get the bolt through.
"Getting the drop" so to speak, on it is easy when you hit it just right. The drop of the stock is determined by the angle at which the stock joins the frame and a very little change here makes a lot of difference at the other end of the stock. I just about hit it right the first time so had no trouble at all. Of course if it had not been right I would have filled it in little by little at either the top or bottom until I did get it right.
With the stock attached to the frame I rasped and shaved and cut until I got it right This had to be done slowlv and with a little and trunk joined as it seemed to have a better grain here and was curly and therefore would not split easily.
Th« wood was wet of course 'and I resorted to a unique method of drying rt as I did not want to wait a year nor did I have an opportunity to dry it in any kind of a kiln. I hung it over a gas stove where hot air soon took out the moisture. This took about two weeks as it was in pieces not more than two inches thick. It dried fast but did not seem to check much which I suppose was due to the curly grain.
I cut the wood down to the proper thickness which was just a little more than the regular stock and then would take this last bit off in the final finishing process. I marked the outline of the stock but left the ends plenty long and the end attached to the frame was left plenty large to be worked down after it was attached. This was done mostly by shaving with a sharp knife and rasping with a coarse rasp taken off at a time and frequent fitting trials of putting it to my shoulder and also comparing it to the old stock. I got the drop at comb and heel where I wanted it and at the same time worked the comb to the proper thickness and this must be done at about the same time, as one influences the other.
The fore end is a more difficult job than one would think but it can be done. I wanted it about 2} inches longer than the regular end. I selected a rather curlev piece of wood so it would not split and bored it out to the correct size before working it down. It was rasped down to near the size wanted and finished in the same way as the stock. I used coarse sandpaper and rubbed both pieces down smooth and continued to use finer grade of sandpaper until I had it shaped up what I thought was correct. This simply means a lot of rubbing and comparing with the other stock: I then wet the wood to bring out the grain and when dry rubbed it down with steel wool. I repeated this until the grain did not come up after wetting which was about 5 or 6 times — once each day.
I used a checking tool such as sold by sporting goods stores, and a three-cornered tile to do the checking. I cut paper to the size desired for the checked outline and put it on to get the size correct and then marked it on the stock. Checking is easy if you go slow and use a little care. The style I put on was all diamond pattern as this goes on easily and looks good.
After the checking was done I gave the wood several coats of linseed oil, allowing each to dry in well which required a day between applications. I followed this with ordinary filler used by painters and then more oil and a lot of rubbing. By this method of sanding, wetting, oiling and applying filler with sanding, if needed, with very fine paper and more oil and rubbing, one has a good finish that is durable, easily put on and one that can be touched up any time it is damaged.
I inserted a small white diamond in the bottom of the fore end and made the pistol grip cap of the same material. I just happened to pick it up at a jeweler's shop. Other material would do, such as black rubber or possibly none at all.
After it was all done I had a nicely finished stock and fore end that was just to my liking and I had the pleasure of making it for my favorite gun. This is great work for winter evenings, doing a little at a time. All tools are easy to get and any painter or wood finisher can tell you a lot of things to help. Pick up a good piece of walnut next time you get a chance and put it away to work on at your leisure.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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