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Custom wood stock

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I just got my .223 this last week and I've decided to go the route of a custom wood stock. I know a lot of people here have great experience on the mechanics of the conversion, but I'm hoping there's also some great experience with wood stocks.


I've drawn up what I would like to do, and I have the tools available to do it. So my questions are...

1) what type of wood? I know the recoil is low so my options are more open, I was thinking more along the lines of a "AK style" wood?

2) can anyone see any design flaws in my drawing? I'm set on a thumbhole because of the ergonomics. And I will be mounting a scope so the raised cheek rest is about where I think it should be.


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Fett, what type of wood is that on yours?


Cause I'm debating between the AK look of the solid wood, or trying to do a marbled look.

Edited by DOXtheOX

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I like your sketch, looks like a nice design.


Before you do the final measurements, you'll want to check your cheek weld with the factory stock, then if that feels good, mount the scope and measure how much higher it moves your sight line so you can get the same cheek weld again with the new stock. Also, you'll want the top line of the cheek piece to descend a little going forward.


Wood? I'd avoid framing lumber . . .

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I'm not sure what type it is. It's what came on it. I can tell you that I think the Stock and Handguard are two different types. If you go to the pics thread on page 9 you will find a bigger pic of my gun. The Stock seems to be some type of hardwood. (Maybe Russian oak or birch) but the handguard looks almost like some kind of burled wood. I have sent an e-mail to them asking what type of wood is used. We'll see if they answer. If they do, I'll let you know.

Edited by Fett

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Here is the reply I got from Russian/American Armory:


"Thank you for your interest in our products. I would need to look at the stock to identify the wood. It is either beech or birch."


Clyde Woods

Sales & Marketing



Hope this helps. Don't forget the pics when you're done!

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Thanks for your help with the wood question.


Another issue I could use some help with...


How is your fore end attached? Is there a retainer on the front like ones found on AKs? Or is the wood formed similar to the standard fore end?

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Just went today to pick out my wood. :big_smile: I went with hard curly maple. It will give me a nice blond look, but I might still stain it a slight red. The curl doesn't stand out too well in theses pics, but when its all finished and oiled the curl will stand out real nice.






And I went yesterday to get me a Limbsaver recoil pad(shown in the second pic). The limbsaver might be a little overkill for the .223, but hey it will cut down on wood weight.


So now I'm just impatiently waiting for something to attach to the other end of the wood to come back from the gunsmith.


I also need to pick up a scope mount so I can be dead sure I know how high the cheek rest needs to be. Any suggestions on a low rise that will accept weaver mounts?

Edited by DOXtheOX

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Oh wow, that's gonna look real pretty when it's done. You're right about the rippling, it should pop right out.

You may want to leave a bit of wood above the thumbhole for strength, and also raise the PG angle a tad bit, but that's personal preference.

I doodled on your pic to show where I'm talking about.



Looking forward to pictures when it's done too!


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You hit on the 2 points of the thumbhole stock that I'm most concerned about. Its why I posted the pic, so thanks for your pointers.


I am kinda stuck on the angle of the grip, because to me(personal preference speaking here) it seems more natural and a much more comfortable grip set at a deeper angle. Point your finger out in front and you'll see what I mean. Your finger, wrist and forearm all align, and your other fingers create a very angled line. If you break the angle in your fingers to accommodate for a more vertical grip, at least in my wrist it breaks that natural line.


So my only problem is that to put that angle on my grip, my thumb is now in a higher position than with the more vertical grip. Which on the Saiga rifles puts my thumb resting at the base of the reciever with no room for extra wood to create a support line between my grip and upper stock. :cryss:


So I am assuming that my grip can be attached like a normal PG and with the stock being attached in the normal fashion they will support themselves separately but still give me a thumbhole stock.


But I don't just want to go off assumptions, so that's why I brought my dilemma to the forum.

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That's cool, I figured you'd settled on the PG angle for a reason.

I didn't realize you're planning on attaching it with a PG screw too. If that's the case, then I'm sure you'll be fine.

One thing that I just thought of. It might be overkill, but will make the stock more solid. Soak the end that interfaces with the trunnion in watered down epoxy for a while and let it harden.


Hope it turns out just like you imagine it!


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Oh, good thinking. That is now a definite step in the process.


While I'm at it I think I'll just soak the whole thing. It would really help where the grip and stock join, that area will soak up a lot of epoxy with all the end grains exposed. And it should help my oil finish bond better with the wood. Double bonus!

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Yeah, I know a guy who knows a guy who makes pool cues out of rotten Maple with all the compartmentalization lines in it. He soaks the wood in epoxy since it's all punky and rotten, then makes these beautiful cues out of it with all those lines and stuff in it.



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Good Maple is strong enough without epoxy,

you could probably club a seal to death if with it you had to,..stay warm

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So I finally finished the stock and handguard. :super:



It was a bit of work since I am a newbie at this type of wood work. But I loved every hour I spent on it even thought my wife was not pleased with how many hours that was. I want to thank everyone for their input, including BattleRifleG3 who answered some behind the scene questions. And I have to give a shout out to my father in law who let me kidnap his wood shop for the last 2 weeks.

So I figured I would share the process with everyone since I have all the pictures to document the whole thing.


Since it was an experimental thing I made a practice stock out of an old piece of alder just lying in the scrap pile. From the practice run I learned that I needed to adjust things like acer suggested to add more support.



I started by using adhesive spray to attach my pattern to the block of wood, and using a band saw I cut out the rough shape of the stock.

Fitting the stock to the gun was the most crucial part, if it didn't go on straight or if I botched it I was screwed. So I took my time using the band saw to get my basic shape and then it was chisel and hammer time... for a long time. Once I had a close fit I hand sanded using 60 grit paper to ensure a smooth tight fit. My tediousness paid off, the stock now has to be installed or removed with a rubber mallet.




I used two larger bits on the drill press to remove the main core of the thumb hole.




I had debated using an angle grinder or a power plainer to do the bulk of my shaping, but considering the curves of the cheek rest and thumb hole I decided to go with a angle grinder. Using a 36 grit disc and clamping the stock to a saw horse, I began creating my basic curves.




To work around the thumb hole I used a corded drill with a 40 grit sanding tube.




As I continued shaping I switched from a hard rubber disc backer to a soft rubber. This gave the disc the ability to curl on the edges and allowed me to get a nice edge along my cheek rest.




Using the sanders was a slow process but it gave me the ability to constantly check my work and not get to far ahead of myself. I took my time working from the 36 grit to 60 then 80. And before too long I was standing in a large pile of saw dust and had a decently shaped stock.




I used a marker and hit all the excess around the buttplate and receiver. Switching to a 120 disc I removed all the marked wood, constantly checking the stock against the receiver and buttplate.




Once the whole stock had a full sanding with the 120 grit I set it aside and began working on the handguard.

Now came the part of the process that I had been fearing... inletting the handgaurd to fit the barrel. It was a difficult and frustrating process, probably why I forgot to take picture of the steps. So because I don't have pictures I won't spend much time explaining it. Basically I used a table saw to open up the main area then used a drill press and chisel and hammer to duplicate the way the stock handguard fits around the fore end of the barrel.

Once the handguard was fit around the foreend of the barrel I repeated the same process as the stock to fit the handguard into the reciever. Using the bandsaw and the chisel and hammer I was able to get a close fit.



Then hand sanding with 80 grit to get a tight fit.



Inletting and fitting the handguard was not a pleasant process, but I was happy when it snuggly fit and required a rubber mallet to install and remove. I think it took me one full night to get the handguard to this point. So I was extremely relieved the next day when I returned to shape the handguard.

Using a router mounted upside-down on a guide table I was able to quickly shape and vent the handguard. Venting was a nerve racking process, mostly because I had spent all that time inletting and fitting and I didn't want to ruin it all by slipping just once on the router and screwing myself. So I went extremely slow and finally got through the stress.



With the stock and handguard both fitted and rough sanded it was time to start fine sanding. I switched to a palm sander and started with 180 then worked up to 220. At this point it was time to start hand sanding. I had decided to stain the wood, so any swirls left behind from the palm sander would pop out when I stained it. So I started hand sanding with 220 working with the grain and paying close attention to any divots in the wood that revealed themselves by collecting saw dust. I worked from 220 to 280 to 320. After a full sanding at 320 I wet the wood with a rag soaked in water.


This causes the grains at the surface to swell and any grains that had been forced down rather than removed during sanding stood up to create a very fuzzy surface. After letting it dry I again did a full sanding at 320.


I repeated the wetting and sanding process once more to ensure I got everything.


With the wood fully sanded I was ready to stain. I sanded a scrap piece from my original block the same way I had sanded my stock and handguard to ensure the wood would take the stain the same. I worked form 36 all the way to wetting and sanding with 320. I chose to use a TransTint dye stain. It comes as a concentrate so I diluted it with various amounts of water to determine to color I preferred.



I decided I would go a step darker than I wanted and I would sand it down to get the right color. Doing this would add a heavier accent to the curl since the wood in the curl takes a stain a little differently than the other sections.



After staining and sanding it was time to seal it. I decided to follow Ironwood's recommendation of Watco Exterior Oil. It would provide an excellent seal but it does not have such as high gloss a finish as tru oil and some of the others. It was easy to apply, 30 minutes for the first coat and 45 for the second and third.



After allowing it to cure for a day I installed my recoil pad and set my retaining screws in the stock and handguard.



I am not finished with the project yet. I still need to order a pistol grip screw and bushing, drill and install it. I also need to set some sling mounts. And there is the obvious step of refinishing the paint job, but I was waiting till I had the wood done and stained so I could decide what color would best accent the stain. I guess I should have just done it already cause it will probably be black anyway.

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You are truly a craftsman, excellent work, I'm jealous of your talent. :D

Edited by mav

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Just found this thread and that stock looks great!


I think you made the right call on the grip angle and grip detachment. My favorite non-conversion grips are more vertical, and my favorite p-grips are more slanted, pretty much meeting in the middle. As far as attaching or detaching the grip, the attaching section needs to be thick or not there at all. Too thin and it's more likely to break. If you want the grip small and/or the web of your hand farther forward, detaching is best, that way the pieces can flex naturally.


I love the styling - a nice sleek look all over with still plenty of substance. I can see the different styles coming together into something unique but still connected to what came before it.


Now that I've buttered you up... mind if I use a cue or two? :D:up:

Edited by BattleRifleG3

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