Gun Stock Checkering Guide

Gunline Tools




Checkering looks complicated at first. While it approaches an art form, most anyone handy with tools can learn fundamentals fairly quickly through practice on curved wood.

Practice on scrap wood, preferably walnut, on which you have shaped some curved surfaces resembling a gun stock.

First, take the flexible rule and wrap it around a curved surface at say a 20° angle with the long axis of the wood. The rule curves around the curved wood, but you know that the rule edge is straight and as a result the line it describes around the stock is essentially straight. Pencil in a line along the rule edge. Scribe this, then use a single line tool to cut a master line. Cut an intersecting line at approximately 40° for the second master line. From there you would use a two edge tool to define the parallel grooves over a panel.

You will need to secure the stock in some way. It can be clamped to a bench between some old carpeting or leather. However, the checkering process for a fore-end requires rolling the stock in some manner so that your hand and arm can move in a straight aspect. A gun stock cradle is an effective way to secure the wood between centers which rotate. This consists of a base member (Wood 2x3") a foot longer than your longest gun stock; it has end members about 6" high attached to the horizontal base. Metal pivots can be affixed to the top area of the vertical members. The stock is mounted between the cups of the pivots and clamped endwise so the stock can be rotated on it axis. You can obtain a fine cradle at a reasonable price from a gunsmith supply house.        

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Last modified: July 17, 2022