Fitting a metal buttplate and stock inlays
This “ambitious” project started off as yet another single shot custom rolling block. The customer for this rifle opted for wire inlays in the stock instead of fancy engraving. The action will be color case hardened as the project progresses. To begin, I taped a pattern to the side of the stock once the wood had been fitted to the action and sanded smooth.
Next comes the long chore of scribing the lines in pencil, and cutting each line one at a time. A small tack hammer is used to tap each piece of either brass or German silver wire into place.
After getting all the lines of the inlay tapped into place, the next step will be to add the leaves to the design.
For this I simply use a jeweler’s saw to cut each shape by hand.
Also, I needed to fit a metal buttplate to the back of the stock. To do this, I coat the inside of the metal with stock maker’s black. Pressing it against the wood will transfer a mark to show me where the high spots are. I remove the marked high spots with a fil and rasp and keep working it down until the buttplate is fitted.
To save space and time here, I won’t post too many pictures of this lengthy process.
So how did this part of the rifle project turn out ? Here’s a side view of the inlay with two coats of oil finish so far.
And a view of the end with the buttplate in place. The metal has already been color case hardened after the final sanding of the wood to get a nice fit.
The barrel has been threaded to the action and the chamber has been cut. Once the customer decides what type of sights he wants these will be added. The last part of the project will be the wooden fore end. This will have a nice wire inlay design and a large escutcheon will be hand cut to provide a place for the screw that will mount the wood to the barrel. The finish on the wood will be tung oil with speed driers. Several coats will be built up for depth and wet sanded between each coat with 600 grit paper until the “orange peel” of the high / low spots are removed. The top coats will be polished with rottenstone and boiled linseed oil until very smooth. The stock and foreend will be finished together to ensure even color. The wood is Claro walnut form California with in fancy grade #2.