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Why Walnut and not Oak for stocks

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Bruce Specht, May 18, 2009.

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  1. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering why Oak is not used for stocks and why Walnut is? What makes Walnut the wood of choice is it that much denser or stronger ?
     
  2. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

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    I think it could be that oak is heavier on a same size basis and is harder making it more difficult to work with. I'm sure there are other valid reasons that others will add.

    Eric
     
  3. DTrykow

    DTrykow Active Member

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    Oak is more of a plain wood. It doesn't have the figuring, feathering, curl, and color depth that walnut can produce. Dave T.
     
  4. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

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    Oak is an open grain wood. That makes it harder to put a smooth finish onto and it also means that the wood is more reactive to changes in humidity; that's not the kind of thing you would want in a wood that surrounds metal parts. Walnut is a more stable wood and less effected by moisture and temperature.

    Carol Lister
     
  5. over the hill

    over the hill Active Member

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    Oak can split easily.

    If you buy Oak furniture especially chairs much of it is Ash. Ash is tougher and looks about the same.

    Quarted Oak is beautiful but not for stocks. JMO


    Regards....Gerald
     
  6. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Quartered white oak is used for new barrels in which bourbon whiskey is aged. The insides are charred first and no iron is allowed to touch the whiskey.

    The hull of the USS Constitution was made from green live oak, one of the hardest woods known to man. The hull was about 24 inches thick. 24 pound cannon balls bounced off of the hull hence her knickname "Old Ironsides."

    Ed Ward
     
  7. KENENT1

    KENENT1 Active Member

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    I think walnut just plain looks better.



    tony
     
  8. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

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    Walnut became the main wood of choice for gunstocks several centuries ago due to several factors. The primary reasons were (and are) that it is a relatively stable wood (resists warping, temp, damp changes, etc), it is reasonably light for its strength and stability, is relatively easy to work, and of course, can be beautiful in grain, etc. Oak on the other hand, is not that stable, is relatively heavy, is hard to work, and does not generally exhibit any of the nicer grain features of walnut. Not really suitable. Decling supplies of suitable walnut with increasing costs have caused many makers to turn to less expensive woods for lower grade firearms often now. Other woods that are used and work fairly well (though pretty plain) are birch and beechwood. Often used in military stocks where the heavier weight of these woods are more acceptable and looks of no consequence, particularly in Europe. Mesquite wood has been used very successfully in some custom stocks as well, and can be very pretty. Cherry wood was often used in early American long rifles as well as it is stable, light weight, has great grain potential and fairly easy to work but not as good as walnut. More available at the time though. Other woods have also been used to a much lesser extent.

    Jim R
     
  9. ismah

    ismah Member

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    I did some work on my Winchester 1300 and I believe the stock is white oak. It was easy to construct a raised comb and the finish is like glass.
     
  10. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

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    This Mauser stock is made of a wood similar to oak; you decide if you like the way it looks:

    [​IMG]</img>

    Carol Lister
     
  11. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    Does any one want a 15 lb gun?
     
  12. mpipster

    mpipster TS Member

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    OK - Since we're asking, why not Cherry?
     
  13. mpipster

    mpipster TS Member

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    I apologize in advance. Just switched from my iPhone to the PC and now just saw one of the previous comments about Cherry.

    I've seen some beautiful grain (and work) in Cherry and it seems like a fine hardwood. Always wondered why there wasn't much gunstock work done with it ...
     
  14. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Hi Carol,

    Actually, that wood is a laminate made with either maple or birch and resorcinol glue.

    Cherry is my favorite wood to use for stocks. It is lighter in weight than walnut, just as strong, and the grain is non existent! Oiling a cherry stock is a pleasure, with no grain filling. Maple is my second favorite with walnut coming in third. $-$ the maple give more figure than any wood available.

    Mike
     
  15. ricks1

    ricks1 TS Member

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    well I dont khow who Carol Lister is but there have been several replies to a varity of subjects and everyone have been SPOT on. First reply is right its too open and will absorb oil and moisture. The mauser wood is a type of oak but is not the same as we know it
     
  16. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Ricks1 I assure you the mauser wood is not oak. I have made 1000's of gunstocks from laminate, and that is a laminate. In addition, if you will look at the wood itself, not the darker glue line, you will see there is no tell tale grain of any kind. That is a sure give away that the wood is either maple or birch. It could be beech from the color, but again, beech as little small flecks of darker brown fairly evenly spaced throughout the wood, much like quater sawn sycamore, but just not as vivid.

    As to why not oak for a gunstock......no real reason other than people don't want it. Most of the reasons it is not wanted are those that are named here on this thread. As far as weight goes, there is some difference but not much. The s/d of generic oak is 37-56 lbs and for generic walnut is 40-43.

    Mike
     
  17. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

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  18. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    I was raised by my grand parents and they were amish. He worked with Oak all his life. He made a lot of furniture and cabinets. Before he died he made me a grandfather clock, a roll top desk and a stock for a model 12 out of oak. The stock was beautiful and is now in my sons gunsafe. I gave each of my three sons one of the pieces he made. I might be able to get my son to photo it and put it on here. My granfather made his own casket several years before he passed. Yes it was oak also and it was just beautiful.
     
  19. turmite

    turmite Member

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    Hi Carol,

    Mitchell Arms......that brings back memories!

    If I am not mistaken, the Germans were the first to use "plywood" to build stocks from due to lack of suitable gunstock wood, which of course was brought about by the lenght of the war.

    I wasn't trying to belittle what you said in your original post. I just have lots of experience with the laminates, and the symetrical glue lines are one dead give away that it is a laminate. In fact, I use to use those glue lines as final sanding guides.

    Cuban I for one would love to see the oak stock. I have seen them myself, but they were never finished.

    Mike
     
  20. Carol Lister

    Carol Lister TS Member

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    <blockquote>"If I am not mistaken, the Germans were the first to use "plywood" to build stocks from due to lack of suitable gunstock wood, which of course was brought about by the lenght of the war."</blockquote>

    Well, sunny beach! I get to go home early because I learned something new today!

    Thanks!!

    Carol Lister
     
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