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Revealing Sunday Afternoon Updated Final Pictures

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Mr.M, Jun 6, 2010.

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  1. Mr.M

    Mr.M Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    I've had numerous requests over the past year for a picture documentary of the process of creating a wood gunstock with detail at every step of the process. I'm working on the project as I work on the actual business of converting idea to tree to harvest to transport to slab to layout to mill to plane to number to photograph to catalog to dry, etc. This afternoon I was working on 100 Franquette English Walnut blanks in the planer stage and took a few pictures to illustrate the joy that happens when a single blank turns out to be much more striking after planing than it appeared it might be after the layout and milling process. Only four pictures so this will be quick.


    IMG_2770.jpg?


    Right side of a blank that we purposefully laid out taller than regular because something might have been going on at the top of the thin end of the blank. You can tell that the layout was done well, but through the roughness of the saw marks, small imperfections can easily be hidden. We don't want to invest time and further resources in any blank with checks, voids, bugs or any other "defect", so we choose to finish plane every blank before it continues through its journey of numbering, photographing and living a few years in the drying racks before going to market.


    IMG_2775.jpg?


    Right side after planing. Layout is proven and we now see a little feather or "sunburst" that was not visible through the saw marks. Even this small patch of feather adds value to the finished product (the blank)and will be more pronounced in the stock after proper shaping, sanding, sealing and finishing.


    IMG_2772.jpg?


    Left side as the blank came off the end coating station. As soon as the ends of the blank are trimmed to final dimensions, they are immediately sealed to prevent the moisture from escaping from the ends faster than the other four sides of the blank. Some folks use a combination of bees wax and paraffin, some use a wax emulsion commonly used in all phases of the wood industry called Anchor Seal, some use an oil based paint. As long as the ends aren't checking (cracking), the job has been done effectively. The drips that show on this face of the blank are Anchor Seal. Again, it looks like the layout was done well, but there is still a surprise waiting that we can't prove until the finish planing is done.


    IMG_2776.jpg?


    Left side after planing. Several things are revealed. First, the remnants of the feather do show on this side. That's good news as it indicates good symmetry from side to side in the blank and this symmetry will flow through to the finished stock. Second, the reason the blank was cut extra tall is now revealed. The cute little circle about four inches back from the left top of the blank is a "core". This small hollow runs out the top of the blank immediately but is seen as a defect and will lower the value. This blank will go back to the Bandsaw mill and the top 3/4 inch will be removed to produce a finished blank with correct dimensions, great layout, fantastic sharp mold lines, a splash of feather in the biggest part of the blank and no "defect" to detract from the functionality and beauty of the blank and the resulting stock.

    After the resaw, it'll be numbered, measured, cataloged, photographed and introduced to its berth in the drying rack. I'll add the pictures of the blank after it's trimmed to complete this short expose'.



    IMG_2867.jpg?


    Right side of now trimmed and numbered blank English 254. Misted with water to show final coloring of background as well as modest fiddle/feather and dramatic Franquette English mold lines.


    IMG_2866.jpg?


    Left side of English 254. Final dimensions are 18 1/4 inches long, 8 inches tall at the butt, 4 1/2 inches tall at the receiver and a full 2 7/8 inches thick. This meets all the criteria for "Exhibition" grading and will be priced between $750.00 and $900.00 when dry. If you'd like to add this documented blank with a matching forend to your drying rack, please contact me at the email address above to inquire about early release pricing.

    Thanks for looking. Again, this is just one of the many steps in the long journey from tree to final gunstock.

    Mike Mann WHITE CREEK GUNSTOCK BLANKS LLC Your Myrtlewood Source
     
  2. JACK

    JACK Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    Nice shot Mike. I spent 35 years in the hardwood bus, but form the industirla side. Lotta work goes into your finished product. What happens to the blank if you put it thru a kiln?

    Jack
     
  3. Mr.M

    Mr.M Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    Jack,

    I'm told that the colors are negatively affected by kilning even though I know a lot (most?) of the commercial producers do kiln gunstock wood right along with their flooring, veneers and instrument cuts. Some producers will air dry for months, then kiln. The stockmakers seem about equally divided on the subject of "to kiln or not to kiln". Some say it doesn't make a darn, others won't duplicate if it hasn't been in their shop air drying only for at least ten years. I air dry everything I cut so there is no conversation. I will, however, occasionally sell wet blanks to folks who want a break on the price and have the time and resource (kiln?, attic?, garage?) to do whatever drying process they see fit.

    I don't have a kiln and won't as long as I'm in the business. Must be the traditionalist in me. When I buy dry wood, I'm assured by the seller that it's been air dried only. This can usually be verified by the depth of the cobwebs and dust on the wood. Haven't been fooled yet.

    Thanks for asking. Maybe some of our stockmakers can give their perspective on the subject.

    Mike Mann
     
  4. JACK

    JACK Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    Mike. One of the most little known facts about the "cure/dry process" is how you coat the ends of the wood to insure that the moisture evaporates in all directions. Adn if you do not do that the moisture would more readily seep out the ends and that invites a cracking or spliting of the wood, often rendering it unusable.
     
  5. 320090T

    320090T Well-Known Member

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    Mike, can wood be air dried too quickly? Like in the attic of a home or workshop? Gets pretty warm up there.
     
  6. Mr.M

    Mr.M Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    320090T,

    Yes, wood can be "baked" by being stored in too hot conditions. Likewise in conditions too cold (below freezing) for too long wood can be affected like anything that contains moisture. A general rule of thumb is to air dry in a place where the air is exchanged regularly and the temperatures are not extreme. In modern structures almost all of the interior space is protected from temp extremes. In some older places like I lived in as a kid, the attic was above, not below, the insulation and would not have been a good place to dry wood therefore. We never went up there in the summer or the dead of winter and the air was never moved because of that.

    Always damp basements are also a bad bet because the wood will "cure" to only the moisture content in the air around it. When you move a blank from one area to another with a different climate, it is always a good idea to let it acclimate to its new surroundings for several months before working it.

    Hope this helps,

    Mike Mann
     
  7. bluedsteel

    bluedsteel Member

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    Fascinating. I had no idea there was this much involved in creating a fine gun stock...and this is just the beginning...

    bluedsteel
     
  8. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

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    Thank you for the post and pics. Fascinating how different the wood was before/after planing. It took a practiced eye to spot that core and know how to deal with it.
     
  9. Mr.M

    Mr.M Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    As promised the final product pictures have been added at the end of the original post. Now trimmed to final dimensions and dampened to show colors and figure close to the finished stock, this blank has now been numbered and placed on the racks to dry, unless rescued at an earlier date by someone who wants to do the drying and wants to enjoy a great Franquette English blank at a significantly reduced price.

    Thanks to all the lookers.

    Mike Mann
     
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