Wood for Grips, etc.

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Joined
Dec 8, 2005
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3,759
Location
Lemont, PA, USA 16851
Not sure where to place this so it's going here.

I took down a black walnut last year (August or so) and cut the trunk into 16 to 20 inch long billets (some might be longer but not sure if long enough for a full rifle stock). They have been drying (off the ground and under a tarp). Going to use the majority for my wood burner next winter (2023) but I am going to cut some lengthwise into pieces to dry to use for various wood working projects. I want to cut some into 2-3" thicknesses to set aside to maybe use or trade for handgun grips. I am guessing the best would be to cut them quarter sawn to get the best figure/strength.

Thoughts?

Going towards the center the wood goes from a ligher to a very nice dark walnut color.

I'll see if I can get some pics of some of the pieces I got when felling/cutting up the tree so you can see what I'm talking about.
 

GunnyGene

Hawkeye
Joined
Nov 23, 2013
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Monroe County, MS
I love walnut - the king of American hardwoods! I've made a lot of stuff from it in the last 20 years - furniture, knife and pistol grips, end grain cutting boards (mixed with hard maple), and so on. Looking forward to seeing what you can do with it.

I think quarter sawn would not be the best for a rifle stock, due to the strength required in the grip area. Normally rifle stocks are flat sawn to get the best figure, especially in the buttstock if it has some natural figuring from crotches. Handgun and knife grips you don't have to consider the strength issues, so quartersawn might yield a better look. Just have to try it out to find out usually. :)
 

woodsy

Blackhawk
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Jan 5, 2012
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762
Location
Seymour, CT
First, be aware that EVERY part of the walnut tree is poisonous, except the nut meats. So be careful and clean yourself often, and use a respirator. Next, the pieces should be no thicker than 1" for drying, in at least one year (air-drying, that is). Quartersawn is good, and can be prettier and more stable that flat-sawn.
I had my own one-man furniture shop (not cabinet-making) for more than 15 years, and made more than 500 pieces of furniture, some being walnut. Never a return on any of them.
 

BROKENBEAR

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Messages
112
You also might wish to saw the wood into 3" thick 8 or 12" or so inch wide slabs the length of the log and then take any latex paint and paint the ends
Cut the slab sides (typically waste) into sticks and rick up the blocks
Then ditch the tarp and just lay a sheet of tin over the top of the ricked stack ..this will allow it to dry evenly and mostly straight

It will take a very good system to burn walnut ..so I would make blocks and not firewood ..just saying!

Good luck and have a great up and coming holiday!
Bear
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
3,759
Location
Lemont, PA, USA 16851
Lots of good info here, thank you. I won't be using any for rifle stocks (other than maybe 2 piece stocks) as none of what I have cut is long enough. I've burned walnut before and yes it can be difficult without the right system.
 

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