Author Topic: Checkers anyone?  (Read 1961 times)

Offline ed lundquist

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Checkers anyone?
« on: July 13, 2021, 01:28:19 AM »
Took apart a pistol I built some time ago that I was never happy with and decided to attempt to checker. Rather than tossing the stock I sketched an oval, took an old chisel and filed some teeth on it to use for laying out and went at it. Used a narrow square bottom gouge and a file to clean up a bit. I know it's rough but I learned alot and will practice till I'm some better. Read most of the threads I could find, always looking for guidance. Gonna get tough going round those curves. Thanks.


Offline smart dog

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2021, 02:03:22 AM »
Hi Ed,
Good first effort!  It takes real courage to checker a gun because you cannot fix mistakes very easily. It might help to know a little about checkering from the 18th and early 19th centuries.  In most cases the checkering would involve the whole handle or most of it rather than panels.  The earliest checkering is flat topped like yours.  Here are some tools that are easily made from steel rod for that kind of checkering.



The teeth are cut with a few swipes of a checkering file purchased from Brownells.  You could also file them in if careful. The tools include a single cutter and a 2-line parallel cutter, in this case set at 16 lines per inch.  The latter is critical for making the lines evenly spaced.  There are commercial checkering tools by DemBart and Gunline that are not terribly expensive but they are designed to cut modern pyramid topped diamonds.  You can produce early flat topped wotk with them by checkering and then gently sanding off the sharp tops.  The steeper 60 degree Gunline cutters are better for that.   Here is an example of 1770s British checkering showing the wide spacing and coarse pattern used at that time. It is also similar to what you find on some American long rifles from the early 19th century.
   






Here is early 19th century British checkering that as you can see became finer and more refined:









I hope you work on your tools and keep checkering.  It is a great practice and requires real tool discipline.

dave
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Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2021, 02:35:27 AM »
Dave, that is exactly what I needed , a view of the tools. The oval was just to get me started, stop and start etc. Tomorrow I will try to make some proper tools. Thank you.

Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2021, 03:10:04 AM »
Gave a go at making the tools, they will need some tweaking but it is a start.




Offline FDR

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2021, 09:30:29 PM »
Ed: how thick is the single line cutter?
Thanks!

Fred

Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2021, 02:35:49 AM »
Fred, the cutter started the day at around .040 and ended up at .030. I am trying different things next of which is more teeth on the cutter. I have slimmed down the cutting edges and tried to keep the sides as parallel as I can to stop the lines from growing. I am having some success. One double line cutter is too small for my skills and is not usable in the near future. Today I layed out a practice design on an oldpistol stock and worked at following the lines on the curves. Sheesh! There must be tricks to the layouts and ways to make adjustments as you progress. At the end of the day I had learned alot and learned I have alot to learn. Any insights are appreciated. I thing I'm going to hit the garage sales this weekend try to find some table or chair legs to practice on. E.

Offline smart dog

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2021, 03:09:14 AM »
Hi Ed,
There is a lot to checkering.  One thing to mention is your tools need to have the teeth hardened and tempered.  Using KaseNit or some other compound like "Cherry Red" will work.  The second thing is to create templates to establish the right angles, and pin striping or thin tape to mark out outlines.  Good checkering is not easy.




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Offline FDR

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2021, 04:55:48 AM »
"The Checkering and Carving of Gunstock" by Monty Kennedy is a great resource for "how too". Here is a link to a used copy for sale.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Checkering-and-Carving-of-Gunstocks-by-Monty-Kennedy-1962-2nd-Edition-/224404818507

Fred

Offline smart dog

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2021, 02:17:32 PM »
Hi Ed,
Those cutters should work. I hardened the ends of my cutters with KaseNit or Cherry Red. I assume you will put handles on them for good control.  You may find they are too aggressive but you can always wear the teeth down a little.  Just FYI, the early coarse and later finer flat flat topped checkering was done with cutters like yours that cut a flat bottomed groove with vertical sides.  Some early checkering tools were like little saws.  I find them to be a little hard to direct when cutting the initial lines.  They tend to grab and then skitter over the surface.  So I use a modern 60 degree Gunline checkering tool to initially cut the pattern and then go back and deepen and square up the lines with the vertical cutting tools.  Modern tools are like a combination of saw and file.  With the early coarse checkering, I do the job before applying finish to the stock because I am not worried that delicate little pyramid topped diamonds will chip off.  However, if the checkering is fine, let's say 16 lines to the inch or finer, I checker after one or two coats of finish are on the stock.  Checkering is not for the faint of heart, especially the wrap around style that goes all the way around a wrist or handle.  To do that, always draw a good center line for the pattern on the top of the wrist or back of the handle and make sure both sides of the stock are even and mirror each other as perfectly as possible.  Use some sort of profiling tool or template to check that.  Good luck.

dave       
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Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2021, 08:19:13 PM »
Ordered the book, thanks Fred. Got handles on the tools, that helped a lot, thanks Dave. Here are a couple overlapping practice panels, still a long way to go but am gaining confidence. Thanks for the help!


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Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2021, 08:58:09 PM »
A lot of the checkering tools are out of stock at Brownell's.  Try Gunline direct.  No longer have their web address, but not hard to find.  It's a small husband/wife operation.  Great tools!
Craig Wilcox
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Offline Scota4570

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2021, 10:17:23 PM »
Get Montie Kennedy's book for sure. 

Here are pictures of the hand tools I use.  I do all of my lay out with an MMC.  When it goes crooked I use the safe side tools shown to straighten it out.  If a line is serpentine I use the really long tool to straighten it out.  There is a flat top english checkering tool shown.  The tape is for a Dymo Labeler.  It is perfect to lay out the master lines and mark the parallel lines need to stay on track.  The safe side tools are used against the Dymo tape for the master lines.  Use a bronze suede brush to remove the fuzzies.  You will need a checkering cradle that allows you to swivel the work.  I can not checker straight over a round object.  I need to turn the stock and keep the tool flat.   

My tools lave a long cutting surface.  I you make it really short, just an L-shape, it will tend to  chatter.  Make your tools to cut on the pull.  This is super important to prevent over runs.  I also put the Dymo tap on the border as insurance against over runs.  To lay out the cutting teeth on the tool, pull it across a big file.  Cut he teeth in with a safe side triangle jewelers file.  Go over the cutting edge with a ruby stone or 2000 grit lap,  to flatten the micro fine wire edges and even up the teeth.  it will cut much smoother this way.  1/8 or 3/16 drill rod makes good tools.  For ordinary 60* cutters I mostly buy them.  They are easy to make too. 






Offline Ric Carter

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2021, 10:22:28 PM »
"The Checkering and Carving of Gunstock" by Monty Kennedy is a great resource for "how too". Here is a link to a used copy for sale.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Checkering-and-Carving-of-Gunstocks-by-Monty-Kennedy-1962-2nd-Edition-/224404818507

Fred

I knew Monte, have his personal copy of the book, and even some of his cancelled checks in it! He lived about six miles south of me.

Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2021, 08:18:07 PM »
Working on a few additional tools and wading through Kennedys book. Thanks for the pics Scota, they help. Need to lengthen the cutters and round the bottoms a bit more. Any suggestions as to how to cradle a pistol stock? Thanks.

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2021, 10:45:08 PM »
Working on a few additional tools and wading through Kennedys book. Thanks for the pics Scota, they help. Need to lengthen the cutters and round the bottoms a bit more. Any suggestions as to how to cradle a pistol stock? Thanks.

I'd be all ears on that. My first thought is to temporarily rig a buttstock with hot glue and a screw.  It would depend on if you are using a grip cap.   depending on caliber it might be possible to use a brass or aluminum  rod in the bore.  Use o-rings to prevent free spinning.  Grab the rod in your regular vice.

Here is my current cradle for rifle stocks.  It has a brake to adjust the rotation tension.  The wedge tightens it longways, like a shaving horse/  I normally grab it in may vice.  I don't use the legs.   Positioning the work in a comfortable position lessens fatigue. 

Careful putting too much radius on the bottom.  The stock is already round.  The more cutter in the work the lees chance it will jump out.  Forget the store bought double cutter spacers.  I want a safe side.  You will want  two spacers, a left and a right hand.  If you only have one or the other you will have to extend the line periodically on half the cuts. 

 


Offline T*O*F

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2021, 11:03:53 PM »
Quote
Any suggestions as to how to cradle a pistol stock?
Sandbag
Dave Kanger

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Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 11:47:55 PM »
As I generally have some leather around, I used to make a leather bag, fill it about 2/3 with bird shot.  #7 is what I used, if it mattered.  Conforms nicely to the butt of the pistol, and doesn't budge an inch.
Craig Wilcox
We are all elated when Dame Fortune smiles at us, but remember that she is always closely followed by her daughter, Miss Fortune.

Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2021, 01:18:35 AM »
Finally got the nerve to hack into a perfectly good gun. Won't win any awards but it could be lots worse. My tendonitis/arthritis is having a party in my arm tonite. Thanks for all the help guys I appreciate it greatly.






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It is a barrel heavy pistol and the checkering helps the handling alot for me.

Online Daryl

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2021, 02:24:55 AM »
Looking better, Ed. Here's an almost wraparound Taylor did that turned out fairly well.
(well, I thought it looked pretty good)




Daryl

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Offline ed lundquist

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2021, 02:30:05 AM »
No, that is just not possible. ???

Offline ScottH

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Re: Checkers anyone?
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2021, 03:43:38 AM »
That looks pretty good to me.
Especially if you have not done it before.
Cheers!