Beechwood gunstocks

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Hi,
American beech is different from European beech, which is denser and stronger. Beech trees are beautiful and they hold their golden leaves late in the year. I love to walk in a beech forest with a dusting of snow. The beechnuts are very important for deer and black bears. In fact, in bear country it is hard to find a large beech tree without bear scars. However, as gunstocks they are very plain, and although initially harder than walnut, they are very susceptible to rot and insects. In other words, beech stocks do not store well, a major consideration when preparing small arms that will be stored for several years before use. The main reasons they were not popular is they were ugly and decayed quickly.

dave
 
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Hi,
American beech is different from European beech, which is denser and stronger. Beech trees are beautiful and they hold their golden leaves late in the year. I love to walk in a beech forest with a dusting of snow. The beechnuts are very important for deer and black bears. In fact, in bear country it is hard to find a large beech tree without bear scars. However, as gunstocks they are very plain, and although initially harder than walnut, they are very susceptible to rot and insects. In other words, beech stocks do not store well, a major consideration when preparing small arms that will be stored for several years before use. The main reasons they were not popular is they were ugly and decayed quickly.

dave

Don’t forget turkeys. They love beech nut.
 

Notchy Bob

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Here in Pa. in the State forest ,it must be considered to be useless. There was a good stand of Beech in the Sproul ,and after harvesting it for pulp wood , the harvester came back and wiped out the remainder of the stand with a special machine that plucked out all the seedlings , and under story. Doesn't matter , I won't live long enough to see any regeneration , and there is no small game there any way.
@oldwood, I "liked" your post because I appreciate your posting it, but that is a sad tale that you tell. I've seen something similar here in Florida. The State Park managers want to "restore" the parks to whatever they think was growing in 1492, evidently not understanding that forests evolve. Anyway, I've seen several parks in which acres of "undesirable" trees, including native species like laurel oak, sweetgum, and cherry, and in one case a grove of live oaks, have been utterly destroyed. I know the plan is to replant, but they seldom do. I don't know if they run out of funding or what, but several of our local parks have acres and acres of wasteland. One that I know of has been neglected so long it is beginning to grow back up in the same species of trees they destroyed 25 years ago.

There is, however, one local county park we like to visit, that has a stand of beech trees. These are very uncommon in Florida, and I understand this particular grove is pretty much at the southern terminus of the range of the American beech. While none of the trees are particularly large, they evidently represent a remnant population of a very old, primordial beech forest. Pretty cool, I think.

My only experience working with beech wood is in attempting to replicate trade knife handles. I got European beech, but I like it. I find it works a lot more easily than any of the tropical hardwoods, but it's not bad to tear or chip and it smooths up nicely. It seems pretty stable. The wood has no fancy figure, yet the grain is interesting in its own way.

Notchy Bob
 

edw.marshall

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Does anyone know if Traditions & CVA gunstocks are European or American Beech? Since their guns & kits come from Spain should I assume it’s European Beech?
 

cal.43

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only cheap rifles are stocked in beech in Europe and as one carpenter told me it´s better than his colleagues, because beech always work :)
 

Robby

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I have many Beech trees and the woods behind me has even more, Like Dave said, they hold their leaves through the winter and are a beautiful tree in their own right, some have initials carved into the smooth grey bark at least seventy years ago.
IMG_0597.jpeg

Robby
 
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American Beech is a pain to work with. It stains blotchy and is a close grained wood which is subject to splitting. European Beech is a better wood to work with, and still suffers from some of the flaws of American Beech such as the close and tightness of the grain. it resembles Walnut in figure too which is why some military muskets were stocked in it, probably as an alternative to walnut.

Beech is great for tool handles, mallets and knife handles.
 
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Notchy...........My sadness over stand of trees destruction has gone from sadness , to anger , to ambivalence. I realize,I am never going to see woods like It was , when I was young into middle age. Trees don't regenerate quick enough. I've seen so much stupid greed based forest management , and it's obvious to even a casual observer , what is happening , the solution and supposed "efforts" the govt. puts out there to smoke screen their actions adds insult to injury. I grew up in the woods as a kid. I studied it. I worked as a small operation logger for a couple years. The boss had rules , and one of his strictest rules was keep the destruction to a minimum. Don't cut trees animals use for nesting , and keep the heavy equipment on the logging , right of ways. That's not the case now. The square miles of clear cuts , in the State Forests, supposed Scientific management , is again , a sign of govt. greed. Well , back to ambivalence , I'm done with anger over anything. My dream as a kid was to be in forest engineering. My blessed Dad , struggled his entire life to make a buck to support his family , and when I asked his advice on what should I do to support myself , he said to get a job making lotsa money. Instead of forestry studies , electrical engineering was the choice. No regrets , it was what it was........oldwood
 
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Older CVA mountain rifle stock from kit.
Is this maple?
 

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Ray-Vigo

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Beech is heavy , like oak , and locus. All are stable woods , but most have little figure. Apparently, folks in the Appalachian frontier didn't want guns with heavier wood , if they had a choice. Ash is heavier and seen in southern guns , and infrequently seen in Pa. built long rifles. If gunstock wood supplies were low , gunsmiths would go to ash so as to keep working. 10 + years ago , Greg Dixon and I had a discussion about an original Lehigh Co. poor boy rifle in his store. It was intentionally made from a beautiful blank of curly maple , and riddled with termite tunnels. All I can say is , get creative , make what you wish. There was a double cheek piece Jager rifle in the Gettysburg Battlefield Gun museum. It was made of oak. That would be the last wood , I would use for a Jager rifle , but who am I to judge?..............oldwood

Ash wood is plentiful here now. Boring beetle wiped it out here.
 
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Saw what one of our Pa. DCNR grants went for. They spent money installing Pickle Ball courts in the northern end of the county. That makes me feel much better , since the money came from the sale of forest timber.
 

dragnetbill

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Older CVA mountain rifle stock from kit.
Is this maple?
Looks like Maple to me.
I bought an early made CVA Mountain Rifle Kit and there was, I believe, a sticker on the packaging that said Maple stock; your's looks just like mine did.
 

TFoley

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only cheap rifles are stocked in beech in Europe and as one carpenter told me it´s better than his colleagues, because beech always work :)

I think that you ought to append that with a caveat. Here in UK some high-end pcp air rifles - $1500 - 2000 - are stocked in beech.
 

cal.43

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think that you ought to append that with a caveat. Here in UK some high-end pcp air rifles - $1500 - 2000 - are stocked in beech.
The UK is Europe ? I had been told that is not LOL ,
Normally a expensive Rifle is stocked in Walnut, maybe Cherry and you can get rifles for that money that are stocked in plastic ;) ,
take a look at Schützenrifles or engraved Huntingrifles and yes for good workmanship 2000$ is not enough.
 

TFoley

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The UK is Europe ? I had been told that is not LOL , Normally a expensive Rifle is stocked in Walnut, maybe Cherry and you can get rifles for that money that are stocked in plastic ;) ,take a look at Schützenrifles or engraved Huntingrifles and yes for good workmanship 2000$ is not enough.

I only have a single rifle that is not stocked in Walnut, and it is in beech. I mentioned UK being in Europe since many Americans believe it to be somewhere 'over there'. I'm not talking about the kinds of rifles that you mention, I wrote 'pcp air rifles'. I'm perfectly aware of the use of walnut for gun stocks. Cherry, not so much, since European cherry trees would barely make a knife handle, let alone a gun stock.
 

cal.43

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@TFoley,
most common air rifles here are Match rifles most with plywood or metall/wood/plastik stocking fully adjustable for the shooter, but here we talk about muzzleloaders and there are if it´s Italian or spain rifles the cheaper might has beech stocks. Beech is not a bad stock wood but not a fancy one.
 
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