I recently aquired an old HW80 stock and have decided to use it to trial some new carving ideas – principally the use of a raised rope border, which I have used in other contexts but never on a rifle-stock. I also want to carve much larger areas than is usual because the stock has a lovely curvey fore-grip, and I will probably combine both snake and fish-scale techniques, which may all combine to be a bit over-the-top – a useful rule of thumb is to avoid using more than three motifs, and another handy rule to bare-in-mind is to keep elements the same throughout to promote a sense of conituity. If I use both scale types then that will make four elements but I hope that the use of the rope-work edging and leaf-scroll-work will avoid the carving feeling dis-jointed.
Any-how, here are the before pictures
The stock was then heavily re-worked: pistol grip cut deeper and narrower; varnish stripped back; mahogany cheek-piece carved and inserted.
The fore-grip carving was drawn on and outlined with a v-tool (parting-tool)
Background relieved with shallow gouge – the technique is to carve in multiple passes – four in this case – the parting tool goes all around the areas to be left alone – it seperates (parts) them from the areas to be carved away (relieved).
The areas to be carved are then taken down to the depth of the v-tool cut – this approach means the carving is taken down at the same level throughout and, though there will be some adustment needed, the depth of cut should be more or less the same over the whole piece. On a panel this complex that is an important consideration.
I have not noted the precise times for each phase of carving but each pass takes about an hour, so a good morning’s work to relieve the background without cleaning out the imperfections – note too there is a wide margin left around everything incase of slips or changes of mind – you can’t put the wood back!