With a bit more finishing and touch-up work, the 40X stock was ready for checkering.
First step was drawing patterns onto the stock using soft white pencils. These were just approximate sketches before laying down the final pattern and actual master lines to be used for cutting.
Once I’d settled on the patterns to cut in, it was on to carefully drawing on the lines and borders for the last time before digging into the grip pattern.
Then on to the fore-end pattern.
Once all of the lines were scratched in, I went back to cut them all the way up to the borders and then go over the lines again with a single line cutter to deepen them and open up the angles of the diamonds to 90 degrees. I brushed in a thin amount of alkanet root sealer to start filling in the grain opened up by the checkering cutters and help firm up the wood to so the final cutting leaves the diamonds smooth and sharp.
After chasing over the lines another time or two with a single line cutter and cleaning up the borders, the stock will be ready for final finishing and touchup work.
In preparation of scratching up the custom Remington 40X .22lr sporter stock I’ve been working on, I wanted to finally build myself a new checkering cradle. When I first started checkering a few years ago, I cobbled together a simple cradle using pine wood scraps for practice pieces. It was retrofitted some to accommodate for finished stocks and it did get the job done, but required a lot of adjusting and tweaking and patience in the process too. I said over and over again that I’d eventually make a new one but other work was getting in the way and the old one could still work. Long story short, I finally had enough of it and was ready to move on.
The stock is held at both ends by heavy duty ball joints that allow for rotation without fore-and-aft movement. I made a curved block for the butt to seat against that is fixed to the ball joint and covered with a couple layers of drawer friction padding that protects the existing butt and holds it in place too- the stock refuses to move once tightened up. The fore-end is held via a 1/2″ steel rod that attaches to the other ball joint thanks to a long coupling nut threaded for the 3/8-24 ball joint stub with the other end drilled out to fit the rod, which I epoxied together. A 1/4″ hole drilled in the other end of the rod accepts a screw fitted through the front takedown screw hole in the stock, which is held firmly together once screwed together against the rod. Plastic and metal bushings on the rod keep it centered in the barrel channel and free floating too, so the rod does not contact the stock. The ball joint at the butt end is fixed in place but the knob and wing nut holding the ball joint at the fore-end in place allow me to adjust for varying lengths from stock to stock and also tighten the thing in place. I hold the wing nut in place while cranking on the knob and as the stock is secured tight to the rod, it puts pressure against the butt end. This is cradle design 2.2 because the original I drew up for #2 involved a mounted bearing that didn’t allow for the stock to rotate on whatever axis it wants like it can being held between two ball joints.
Another improvement over the old cradle is the swivel base I installed. Previously I had to undo the vise, pick up and rotate the cradle 180 degrees, and tighten it up again if I wanted to rotate the stock- the ability to spin the cradle around with ease now is just awesome. It uses a basic lazy-susan style swivel plate with ball bearings and 8 indents to hold it in place at every 45 degrees of rotation. A flaw I discovered is how the swivel base can become a pivot point and cause the cradle to see-saw but I found a scrap block that fits perfectly between the clamping piece and the cradle, eliminating movement.
I may very well make some changes to this cradle again, but in the meantime I’m happy. Since the lumber came from a loafing shed loft on my grandparents dairy farm the only signicant cost out of my wallet was hardware ordered from McMaster-Carr (most expensive parts were the ball joints) but it took longer than I wanted to build as I had to revise the design after the first parts came in. Worth it though, since I am a lot more confident using this cradle now.
After many months of work, from carving to finishing and checkering, here’s the completed stock for the custom KIDD Classic .22 rifle. I finished the checkering and had the stock hardware coated black to match the barreled action. After buffing the stock finish shows the color and figure in the wood beautifully and this rifle also shoots as well as it looks, capable of 1/4″ groups at 50 yards. Between function and form it is the finest semi-auto.22 rifle I can imagine, and I am proud to have been a part of its creation.
This is a 50th Anniversary special edition 10/22 carbine with a stainless barreled action and blue/green/tan laminate stock that I recently finished working on. The 10/22 carbine in its basic original form is a handy rifle, not to be taken for granted, but with a few refinements can be made even better. I didn’t take any photos of the rifle before I started (oops) but here’s a photo of the same model I found online:
First this rifle was taken to the range and proved itself to be a good shooter with consistent groups on paper with CCI Standard Velocity ammunition, thus worthy of receiving some time and effort.
I started on the stock by sanding the wood down to be level with the buttplate, as it was originally very proud over the metal, and reshaping the grip and fore-end areas. I slimmed down the comb and carved in some flutes at the comb nose, and reshaped the toe line to form a distinct valley as it meets the grip on the sides and a defined angle underneath without any radius. I slimmed down the sides of the fore-end and reshaped the fore-end tip at the barrel band to be more streamlined. All of this was done with the intent of creating a livelier feeling stock as much as a sharper, more streamlined look.
The stock was carefully sanded and given a highly weather resistant gloss finish inside and out with a Spar urethane base and Tru Oil topcoat, all applied by hand.
Sadly the 10/22 suffered the same fate as many other guns in the 20th century as they were made with cheaper and cheaper parts over time and pieces like the buttplate and trigger guard went from metal to polymer. Stocks went from walnut to birch or beech with a muddy finish. Since I wanted all of the barreled action to match and despise cheap plastic shit, to put it bluntly, I went to work replacing every polymer piece with an older metal replacement. I carefully polished the trigger guard, buttplate, and barrel band to a satin sheen matching the barrel and receiver, and clear coated them with a hard lacquer. Whatever small replacement parts that I couldn’t polish were painted silver. I also polished the bolt in the receiver and replaced the metal bolt buffer from a softer version from my buddy Andy at High Tower Armory. Replacing all of the new parts with the proven pieces I had on hand instantly improved the feel of the trigger.
After reshaping and refinishing the stock in addition to reworking over the hardware, here’s the stainless laminate 10/22 carbine:
After a little more inletting and some shaping and sanding, the stock is now ready for finishing and checkering. Since the last post, I’ve cut in the ejection port and fitted a steel escutcheon into the stock for the front takedown screw that is capped by a thin ring of ebony. I’ve also worked on the shape and look of the cheekpiece and shadow line so it is a more graceful curve in addition to visiting all of the various carving details in this stock. The rifle has also taken a couple of trips to the indoor 50 yard range that I use for testing and proved itself to shoot as well as it looks- the first group I shot at 25 yards after quickly sighting it in with Norma Match ammunition was one clean hole and the rest wrote a similar story.
I’m planning on using Daly’s Ship n’ Shore sealer tinted by alkanet root powder that has been steeping in the finish for months now, followed by Waterlox gloss to finish the stock. I’m very happy to see the stock progressing to this point and excited to see how the rest goes.