Ken, I don`t guess you`ve got a set of plans for the cradle you would sell. I`ve tried several different store bought cradles that I didn`t care for. I finally built my own that works well for me, but the one you built is a far cry above and beyond mine. Infinite adjustability and nicely done. Larry
Hi 33 Willys: I am in the same boat. We did some checkering in gunsmithing
school, but just small practice stuffs. Then jobs, family etc, etc.
Not I am retired and want to give it a try again. I you can help me with
any ideas of the size of the sitting bench, height, length etc and where did
you get the ball to swivel the stock fixture on.
Ken: Great looking tool. It seems like stock making and finsihing would be a natural extension of your craft as a patternmaker. Not too many of those left nowadays with the computerized machines available. Soon they will have replicators like on Star Trek and they won't need any of us.
I just bought the Kennedy Book and some basic tools, and since I am a Machinist/Toolmaker also, I figured I would just build my own cradle. I have several rifle projects and a couple of shotguns that need checkering to finish, and since I either built the guns or rebuilt and refinished them from scrubs, I want to do the checkering also.
I deliberately didn't become a Gunsmith 35 years ago because of the pay structure, but as I drift into retirement $ per hr become less of a motivator, and leaving something behind that is worthy of note comes forward.
Guns are a good medium to work in as they generally outlast their owners many times, especially when they are of superior workmanship or something special.
I have actually been thinking about the design of the cradle alot over the last week or so and now I have to completely rethink the design because it is obvious I missed some fine points. I was literally back at the modified Pony Clamp stage. But since I have been a machine designer for many years I kind of figured Rigidity might be a big part of the equation so I was looking at all the options before I committed to a design.
I was actually looking at something similar to your basic bar with adjustable ends. Aluminum for the base bar, and Delrin for the "L" clamps. I figured there would be many iterations of actual stock interfaces so I hadn't considered them yet.
I really like your butt end adapter, It pretty much is universal, except for maybe a curved butt plate situation. I see how you've done the action end adapters, but again how do you hold a fore-end? You stated you screw them to a Dowel? What happens if there is no hole thru the fore-end, like on a rifle foreend with a cap on the end?
Also where did you source the mounting swivel from? If it is really rigid I can see it as being a major time saver everytime you want to reposition the work.
All of the cradles I have seen for sale have been pretty cheesy. I saw one that had a 2x4 for the main beam. I kind of feel that the tool should be of similar quality to the work being produced with the tool or the thing being worked on, so in the end I will make my own.
Thanks for the photos, they were of great help to me. Good to see you have gotten restarted into this unique expression of the gunmakers art.
Ken, that is a very nice Cradle. I have Maurice Ottmar's cradle that he used on all of his stocks. He gave it to me when he stopped working,a short time before he passed away. I still use it. It is a similar design but not as fine as yours. I will try to take a photo and post it on here.