Tom- I would suggest neither of the options you mentioned. I would first order the book by Meek and read it carefully. Then get a few, rather inexpensive hand tools and some scrap wood and learn how to checker. It is fun and with a little practice, you can do a good job.
Been thinking about it My father has everything needed he's been praticing. I'm thinking about borrowing his stuff and as you suggest practice.
That brings up something else. If I go ahead and tru oil the stock. When I think Im ready to checker it myself. I take it I will have to restrip the wood wouldn't I? Tom R
To my taste a stock is not finished untill it is checkered, always finish the wood before checkering it make a much nicer job. A good peice of wood with poor checkering do not look as good as a plain wood with nice checkering. Just my thought's Ronnie
I restocked my Ljutic in '92 and have been shooting it unchequered since. I have the tools but wouldn't dream of screwing up the great English Walnut I used to build the stock and finding someone to do the work in Canada is a hassle so it remains untouched...
I bought a set of checkering tools . I thought it looked easy enough to do. I soon realized I was wrong and it requires more practice than it is worth just to checker a stock or two. Uncheckered provides a better grip anyway as long as the hands are dry.
Finish the stock before checkering but don't use any fillers. Most have silica (sand) in them and dull the standard tools quickly. Checkering is not that difficult with a little patients. You might consider starting by recutting the checkering on some old stocks to get the hang of it before starting on a new pattern. Buy some 60 degree cutters for spacing the lines and cutting to depth then finish with the 90 degree cutters. The 60 degree cutters are easier to keep in the groove.
I believe in checkering for a couple of reasons. One being able to hang on to the gun when your hands are sweaty and also when it rains. IT'S YOUR CHOICE but if it were mine I would NOT get it done with the old tired and worn out SPADES or CLUBS figuration. That pattern is worn out and boring. Only my opinion. Dave
Great information. For one I didn't know it was better to put finish on gun then do the checkering that makes sense. It also allows me to finish gun and shoot it. While I work on practicing checkering I have several old pieces of walnut and a couple old junk stock to practice on.
I'm going to order that book kiv recommended and maby those 60degree cutters.
Spades and clubs is not going to happen I agree with that. Not that it doesn't look good but not for me. Thanks Again for the good info and advice. Tom R
PS my old set is for sale on here if anyone is interested.
I have been making custom stocks for years and was taught checkering by a gentleman who taught factory folks to checker in the "old days". You checker stocks after they have been finished. (1) The finish does tie up the wood so it is harder and easier to checker. (2) Yes, it does dull the checkering tools. That is why the heads are replaceable. I always throw away the cutters after two stocks. You can use them longer and run the risk of having bad work.
It is much harder to checker bare wood because it doesn't show the lines like finished wood. Also, Don't try to checker under anything but incadescent light bulbs. It throws the shadow you need to show the rows. Stock up on bulbs before the stupid laws on no more incadescent bulbs go into effect.
Uncheckered wood is NOT easier to hold. If you do it correctly, it does not cover up the nice grain. Learning to checker for one stock is not worth the effort.
I don't think this checkering thing is going to work for me. After playing with this checkering kit off and on through the day. One thing is clear this takes alot I mean alot of practice not something I would be comfortable doing anytime soon. So I'm going to finish stock out then send it in to have it done. I was going to go cheap with the checkering but I see if I want it to look good going to have to spend the money. Now thinking about what kind of pattern to have done. Tom R
dickgtax, What type of gloves do you wear when you shoot a shotgun? Anything cloth will slip like hell on uncheckered wood. I have been shooting guns with checkered stocks for all my life and have been using gloves the last 30 years. If your checkered stock is tearing up your gloves, take the stock to someone that knows how to checker and have them go over it with a fine or super-fine cutter. I have never had a stock do that! Trapman69 is going to do the right thing. Checkering is a mentally tasking job. Anyone that really likes to do it is a macho!
An uncheckered finish has more surface area. That provides more grip. This is why drag racers use slicks for more traction. When the hands are wet and sweaty checkering works like tread on a tire, to channel away the water. Fine checkering is nice but not cheap.