Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sporterized Arisaka Redux Part 3: The Stock

This is one of a series of posts on this project:, part 1 was posted in  May, part 2 will be posted next week (I got a little behind on the metal work).

The first part of any rifle build is usually the stock. The metal parts will need to be fitted on and off the stock and you don't want to risk scratching a newly finished part, so the stock work comes first.
Because I was working on the magazine/trigger guard at the same time I actually finished those parts 1st.
This gun was outfitted with a walnut Monte Carlo style stock. The check rest, butt stock and comb are a little bit "exaggerated" and in my opinion too thick. The red line is a rough outline of what I am looking to accomplish.
 I would like it to look more like this stock
Photo courtesy of the Nerdgun blog

I will also add some flutes to the front of the comb 

Similar to this stock

I also like the way the stock was relieved at the trigger guard for quick trigger inquisition
The length of pull is a bit short at 12 3/4" and the Win-a-Wer recoil pad only offers minimal cushion. 
I will increase the comfort and LOP with this grind to fit pad from Uncle Mikes
I will free float the barrel and perhaps glass bed the stock, in this picture you can see where the stock was rubbing the barrel
Finally I may try my hand at checkering, not sure yet if I want to invest in tools that I may rarely use.
I drew out the lines, so I could see what wood needed to be removed and what wood needed to stay

I used a rasp to cut the line and remove the extra material from the bulbous cheek weld
 At this point I have taken the wood as far as I can with the rasp, I will use a file and sand paper from here on out.
The rasping was a blister raising endeavor. If you do this wear a glove or tape your finger.

Before I get much farther I need to fit the new recoil pad to the butt stock

Luckily the bolt pattern matched the existing pad
 I used an idea I got from DIY_guy (on Firearmstalk forums) and cut some plastic spacers from some binder pieces, I had to cut two of each because they were thin

Now I need to swap the belt on my belt grinder to the 60 grit belt and grind it to fit
Let the rubber fly! Make sure you wear an apron and a face shield, the rubber dust gets on everything
The 60 grit belt made quick work of the recoil pad. I put the blue tape on to help prevent sanding any wood, I accidentally nicked the stock in a couple of places, nothing I cannot fix, you really have to take care and go slow when doing this.
You can see I maintained the angle of the toe, I could have purchased a fixture like these ones from B-Square
and Miles Gilbert, but I decided I wouldn't be using it enough in the future for the purchase to make sense.
More sanding, the black line was left from tracing the spacers, it now acts as a handy guideline to tell me when the wood and recoil pad are on the same plane.

I have just about got it done, the gouge I made with the belt sander is slowly disappearing. I sanded an equal amount on the other side to keep things proportional.
Here I am working the toe line, keeping the angle all the way through the recoil pad.

Here I am thinning the comb and adding some flutes.

The old grip cap spacer had yellowed from age and varnish, I replaced it with the same material I used for the recoil pad.

 I then cut the relief for the trigger. There is a cut line at the front, while the rear is blended into the grip
I had to move the top of the comb farther forward, here I am removing material to make that happen
 Before I finish sanding I needed to remove the rest of the varnish. I use this Citristrip brand, it has no VOCs and can be used indoors.
 I then wiped it down with paint thinner to remove the excess stripping agent.

It is really starting to come together

I prefer to use Tru-Oil from Birchwood-Casey. You can download instructions here.

I put the 1st coat of Tru-oil on. With the 1st coat you want to add extra oil, let it soak into the wood, then wipe of the excess, across the grain. Make sure to properly dispose of the paper towels when done. I'll let it sit for 24 hours or more before going to step 2

With the 2nd coat, I sand in small sections using 500 grit paper and the Tru-Oil to create a "slurry". Then I rub the slurry into the wood cross grain. When it starts to get tacky I wipe it cross grain with a paper towel. This will fill the grain and help with small imperfections in the wood. I then let it dry for another 24 hours.  

 I did another round of "slurry-sanding" for the 3rd coat. I will let it dry for 12 hours then begin the final coats (2 more of them). 

 I have to let the Tru-Oil cure for 7 days before the final polish with carnuba wax. The ebony fore tip will be polished on the buffer to a nice shine
 Finished! It's not perfect, but I'm no woodworker either. It looks way better than when I started and I was able to practice some much needed skills in the process.

 You can see the nitre blued sling swivel and the polished ebony foretip. Also notice I found the correct white spacers that go under the swivel mount.....
 Some before and after shots