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Old 07-08-2019, 11:23 PM
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Reworking a custom Brno Model 1 stock



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Last year dbr65 sent me his Brno Model 1 .22lr stock made from amazing black walnut for refinishing and checkering. Once I had the stock in my hands the wheels started turning and I had some ideas of how to further refine it besides adding a deeper finish.

Here's a couple of Doug's pics taken before he sent it.





I'll cut to the chase and show how it looks now, before we go back to how I did it.



The first step for me was using straight edges to determine the flat/straightness of the stock and block sanding to true up the surfaces. It isn't rocket science to do either but it does require some work and a pile of 120 and 220 grit sandpaper (side note this is an amazing deal and good quality product). Normally I would start a project by applying chemical strippers to remove the old finish but I left it to help show high/low spots as I went. This stock was already pretty good but given the quality of the wood grain I wanted to be positive everything was just right.

One thing I noticed is the steel fore-end escutcheon was sunk into the stock a bit below the surface and left bare. Functional but I don't like bare exposed steel like that. I'd made some ebony rings for a previous project and they were just the right size, so I temporarily stuck one to the stock and traced around it. Marking the direction the grain is going in isn't something to skip. After I ug in with an in-cannel gouge that could slice straight in and it didn't take long to relieve enough material to sink the ring into place. It sat directly on top of the edge of the steel escutcheon beneath it so the takedown screw is still bearing down on that steel, you just don't see it.



Mixed up epoxy and now it isn't going anywhere.



I carefully rasped it down close to the surface and sanded it flush. The diameter of the ring hole was a little smaller than where I needed it so I enlarged it with a Dremel. Given the hardness of the ebony it worked pretty well.

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Old 07-08-2019, 11:44 PM
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One detail I was going to add is an ebony grip cap. I've got some on hand and Doug liked a piece with a little lighter color running through it.



While I was adding the grip cap, I also wanted to re-shape where the grip area meets the toe line of the stock. Style is subjective but on sleek sporters I like zero radius between the toe line and grip and a sharp little valley between the two where they meet. The first step here was cutting the existing grip cap area just right to get the angle and depth for the ebony grip cap set in place. Then I flattened it before the ebony block met my bandsaw. I cut a round block out, flattened the backside, and then the shaping work could begin.



I've learned that when you're working on an already shaped stock, you want to avoid shaping all of that rock hard ebony in place on the stock. Really easy to bump something you don't want to with a rasp. So I roughed out some of the shape before joining the cap to the stock.



More epoxy.



Now back to shaping the ebony.



Getting there but still got a ways to go.



Better now, and you can see I started forming the valley behind the grip. Wiped some finish on to show the color.

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Old 07-09-2019, 06:21 AM
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Excellent work as expected, and what a fantastic chunk of wood!


Doug is a lucky fellow.
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:06 AM
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Simply awesome.

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Old 07-09-2019, 07:45 AM
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Very jice Evan. If you don't mind us asking questions as you go through this,

What kind of epoxy do you like to use when attaching grip caps and forends?

Thanks and once again your end result was so nice. It's getting to be so hard to find people that do the quality of work you do.
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Old 07-09-2019, 07:51 AM
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Thanks fellas! This is some amazing walnut with crazy color and figure, very striking. I enjoy getting the opportunity to work with stuff like it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grg View Post
Very jice Evan. If you don't mind us asking questions as you go through this,

What kind of epoxy do you like to use when attaching grip caps and forends?

Thanks and once again your end result was so nice. It's getting to be so hard to find people that do the quality of work you do.
Ask away, and you're welcome. For years I've been using the US Composites 635 Thin (medium cure) epoxy, it was formulated with fiberglassing and carbon fiber in mind but also works extremely well with wood. The grip cap is mostly a long grain to long grain joint so epoxy alone seems to hold them fine, but the end grain to end grain attachment of the fore-end tip requires a couple of dowels installed between the two.

I don't know when I got the idea to attach a piece of buffalo horn to this stock, but ever since I've learned about the use of horn to make stock hardware I wanted to give it a shot. If you know me, you know I'm curious. It would be a travesty to attach plastic to this piece and I've already done an ebony buttplate now, and Doug was willing to let me try horn on this Brno so here we go.

Purchased a pair of 3/8" pieces online. The one on the left ended up being the winner.



Drilled holes, cut out a rough profile on the bandsaw, and started shaping.



First impressions of working with horn... Yes it does smell like burning hair when you're working on it! Its harder than expected, very tough stuff (not surprising considering half ton critters fight with 'em). Cuts easily with the saw, sands fine, but it resists being filed/rasped- turns out scraping was the best shaping technique.



One important lesson learned was in bending the piece. This stock has a curved butt and as I understood you can heat horn to make it more malleable and form it to shape. In my first attempt to form the piece to the stock, I put it directly in boiling water and stood by ready to quickly screw it down while it was still hot. It never happened because the water caused it to crack and split. Whoops. This is why I ordered two pieces and not just one! Thus the set of photos you see here are of attempt #2 and not #1. Once #2 was finally drilled, sawed, and shaped to the same level I was smart enough to make a small vacuum-seal bag to put it in prior to boiling. This way it could get boiling hot without actually contacting the water.



Okay now we're getting somewhere.



Here's the backside of the piece.



More shaping.



I finally learned that if you get it wet and hit it with the flash, you can see the grain.



Receiving the final smoothing/sanding treatment prior to checkering.



Checkering. See that fun power tool there? That's the Titan, and it is a game changer. More on it later.



About finished here.

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Last edited by ek-marlin-424; 07-09-2019 at 07:59 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:49 AM
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Awesome work! Thank you for taking the time to post this.

For other members, here are some threads with additional photos of the finished product.
https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum....php?t=1165997

https://www.rimfirecentral.com/forum....php?t=1165999
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  #8  
Old 07-09-2019, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ek-marlin-424 View Post
Thanks fellas! This is some amazing walnut with crazy color and figure, very striking. I enjoy getting the opportunity to work with stuff like it.



Ask away, and you're welcome. For years I've been using the US Composites 635 Thin (medium cure) epoxy, it was formulated with fiberglassing and carbon fiber in mind but also works extremely well with wood. The grip cap is mostly a long grain to long grain joint so epoxy alone seems to hold them fine, but the end grain to end grain attachment of the fore-end tip requires a couple of dowels installed between the two.

I don't know when I got the idea to attach a piece of buffalo horn to this stock, but ever since I've learned about the use of horn to make stock hardware I wanted to give it a shot. If you know me, you know I'm curious. It would be a travesty to attach plastic to this piece and I've already done an ebony buttplate now, and Doug was willing to let me try horn on this Brno so here we go.

Purchased a pair of 3/8" pieces online. The one on the left ended up being the winner.



Drilled holes, cut out a rough profile on the bandsaw, and started shaping.



First impressions of working with horn... Yes it does smell like burning hair when you're working on it! Its harder than expected, very tough stuff (not surprising considering half ton critters fight with 'em). Cuts easily with the saw, sands fine, but it resists being filed/rasped- turns out scraping was the best shaping technique.



One important lesson learned was in bending the piece. This stock has a curved butt and as I understood you can heat horn to make it more malleable and form it to shape. In my first attempt to form the piece to the stock, I put it directly in boiling water and stood by ready to quickly screw it down while it was still hot. It never happened because the water caused it to crack and split. Whoops. This is why I ordered two pieces and not just one! Thus the set of photos you see here are of attempt #2 and not #1. Once #2 was finally drilled, sawed, and shaped to the same level I was smart enough to make a small vacuum-seal bag to put it in prior to boiling. This way it could get boiling hot without actually contacting the water.



Okay now we're getting somewhere.



Here's the backside of the piece.



More shaping.



I finally learned that if you get it wet and hit it with the flash, you can see the grain.



Receiving the final smoothing/sanding treatment prior to checkering.



Checkering. See that fun power tool there? That's the Titan, and it is a game changer. More on it later.



About finished here.

Elk, If you get a chance to try West Systems G/Flex you should. It's claim to fame is being somewhat resilient. This is a teak garden table I threw together with some scrap teak I used for a boat project. It doesn't get rained on but it does get washed with soap and water 4-5 time a year. I am sure you know who hard oily woods like teak are to glue. The mitered corners have held up for 3 years with no signs of movement.


Last edited by GH41; 07-09-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 07-09-2019, 08:36 PM
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Really nice work.

I almost didn't check out the thread 'cause how good could a chunk of CZ wood be?

Pretty darn good it seems. Dang, that's a nice piece of wood.
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Old 07-09-2019, 08:39 PM
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Might have to try the G-Flex. I've been using this epoxy for awhile and like it, but I also keep trying new stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradical View Post
Really nice work.

I almost didn't check out the thread 'cause how good could a chunk of CZ wood be?

Pretty darn good it seems. Dang, that's a nice piece of wood.
Thanks! CZs wish they were this thing, and that goes for my beloved 452.

One additional thing I did with this stock besides the wood was reshape and reblue the bottom metal piece. After making a buttplate from scratch, attaching a plain stamped trigger guard to the stock wasn't going to cut it.

Out comes the file. Here I'm thinning down the width of the trigger guard bow at the front and back end.



Actually I did use a Dremel here too, got some carbide burs that are pretty hungry and can eat up steel fast but of course you have to be verrry careful running them. Light cuts.





Like I said, careful!



Now rounding over the top and making it thinner along the edge.



While test fitting the bottom metal I noticed the wood was really proud over the metal at the rear end of the piece and the curve of the grip seemed to end abruptly there. So, I quickly shaped the wood down to be more flush with the metal and opened up the grip a bit while I was at it. This subtle shaping is noticeable here.







Got the metal about ready for bluing now.



Now really ready for bluing. This is after sanding up to 320 grit, then finishing off with some fine Scotchbrite and starting the very thorough cleaning and degreasing process.



After rust bluing.



Couldn't really take pics during the bluing process, but I used Brownell's rust bluing solution and carded with a fine wheel spun at low speed on my drill press- it worked wonders compared to my hand brush. I did six bluing cycles and it produced an even semi-gloss finish that should be really durable too. This was a lot of work for something that may not be obvious from a distance but is most apparent by looking and feeling up close and then you get it- totally worth it.
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Last edited by ek-marlin-424; 07-09-2019 at 08:43 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07-09-2019, 09:28 PM
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Yet another work of perfection, Evan! You didn't miss a thing!

Doug
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Old 07-11-2019, 08:03 AM
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Thank you Doug!

I'll be adding more detail on how the finish was laid down- it's a spar urethane base coat with a Waterlox top coat, brushed on by hand with poly foam brushes. This is basically how I've been doing it for years now though I keep trying to refine the process and what I've been onto lately is using micro-mesh sanding pads to smooth out the topcoat inbetween coats. Until then...



Here's some pics from the finishing box. A downside to the finishes I use are longer cure times, which makes them great dust and dog hair magnets. The goal at this point is to gently smooth out all the finest streaks and brush strokes. Means you need to be on the ball when brushing the finish on- any runs created by wiping on a bit much finish are a real setback.





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Old 07-11-2019, 09:02 AM
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Do you apply one or multiple coats of the base spar urethane, then how many top coats of the Waterlux? Until grain is filled?

Also, since you haven't mentioned any stains, is it only the spar urethane that is bring out all the woods beauty or does it deepen with subsequent coats of the Waterlux?

I'm really amazed out how much more alive and contrasted the grain became from the original Tru-Oil.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:35 PM
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I can tell you that there is not a pore visible anywhere. And while the stock was striking in color and grain with the Tru-Oil, both literally came alive with Evan's finish. The colors are more intense and deeper.

Doug
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:13 PM
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That is truly outstanding workmanship.
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