CGM Gunstock Checkering > Collections

The projects in this collection represent those that did not require any sort of major repair(s) to the wood before starting refinishing and recutting the checkering. In all cases, the wood is first stripped of it's original finish, which is done by soaking in a deep tank of lacquer thinner. This can take from 30 minutes to a couple of days, depending on the finish. Not all finishes can be softened and removed by this method, so those that don't (most notably newer Remington and Browning epoxy/urethane finishes) have to be manually scraped off with a blade. An industrial heat gun is used to blister and soften the finish, a small area at a time, after which it can be removed.

Often times, old stocks (especially shotguns) are badly oil soaked and need to be treated for that before they can be refinished. If this is not addressed before refinishing is started, often the new oil finish won't dry in the oil-soaked areas. I treat the wood for this by soaking it in denatured alcohol for a day or two, then lacquer thinner again, alternating back and forth between the two for up to a week or two. This still doesn't always get all of the oil out, but provides a better platform to start with than if I hadn't done it at all.

The next step is to steam raise any and all dents that can be rasied, and filling those with sheared grain fibers that won't come up at all. I do minimal sanding around areas where wood to metal fit is critical, and may sand out some dents and dings where to do such does not significantly change the original surface contours of the stock. There is no such thing as making an old stpock look brand new again, some features of it's past hard use just may have to stay. If you want a brand new looking stock, buy a new piece of wood and go from there.

Sanding and rasing or fuzzing the grain (yes, I still do this between each and every grade of sandpaper from 120x to 220x) comes next. Depending on the stocks condition, I may start sanding with paper as coarse as 80x grit, or as fine as 180x or 220x. Each sanding can take from 30 minutes on a stock with simple lines and features, to 1-1/2 hours on a more complicated one. This is just one area of any project that demonstrates why no two projects take the same amount of time to complete and why I charge for the time spent working on each one individually.

The method of finishing I use from there varies depending on whether or not a stain or dye is desired to darken light wood. Usually an epoxy sealer is applied, and then several coats of oil finish are applied and either wet-sanded or wet-burnished until the grain is filled for the most part. This is usually accomplished in 3 to 5 or 6 wet-sanding/burnishing sessions. If the filling of ALL of the grain is desired by the client, this can take one to three more sessions, so please advise, it is your money.

Once most of the finish has been applied, it is time to recut the checkering. Usually the original factory pattern is recut, however changes can be made to the original checkering pattern at this point, if desired, usually by way or adding more to what was originally there. Once the checkering is recut, and I know that the original finish is compatable, I usually apply a water-thin epoxy resin to it which soaks in well and makes those little diamonds much more wear resistant than any oil I know off possibly could. I often add a little aniline dye to the epoxy to darken up the checkering just a little bit too.

Once the checkering is completed and sealed, I apply the final coats of oil finish. Most of my finishes are of the soft luster type with most of the finish in-the-wood, rather than sitting on top of it.

All times listed include the specifics of what was done on each project, as well as it's unpacking, log-in paperwork, repacking and log-out paperwork.

Please note: Since having carpal tunnel surgeries in both wrists in 2003, I am no longer able to cut Fleur-de-lis borders, or some other types of borders with tight little curves.