Cherry Southern Guns?

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why not use walnut? walnut has little problems like cherry, it is historically correct , easy to work with and like you say everybody has a maple, you see very little hickory in these guns. that is what I would use,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
I don’t find it as attractive or interesting.
 

rich pierce

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As Stophel said, cherry is primarily found on New England fowling pieces. Walnut and maple are the most common stock woods on rifles of the South.

The Kibler SMR is a lovely rifle. It’s architecture is very similar to many original iron mounted percussion rifles from “the Southern mountains”.

I’m always a little confused by the “did they ever” questions. Makes it sound as though if one maker somewhere in the South used cherry wood now and then, it’s then historically appropriate for any style rifle called a SMR.
 
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Well maybe... just this one time... even though I am a traditionalist (hence why I asked this question to begin with) I might go ahead and just do it.

Cherry is calling my name. i now know it is not the correct wood for the style, and some don’t like it at all. But I don’t know... I think even if I went with a historically correct choice I’d be pining for the cherry stock, and an SMR is all that’s on the radar right now for the moment.

In the military we have a term now called “just send it bro” where you do something without overthinking it and sometimes going with your gut. Right now, I’m thinkin’ about just sendin’ it...
 
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You should absolutely get what you want. It’s all about the enjoyment and each of us finds it in our own way.
Thank you so much sir, and thank you to all of you! My plan is to finish the stock in a natural oil and simply let the plentiful Nevada sun give it color over time. 🌞😎
 

Whitworth

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Well maybe... just this one time... even though I am a traditionalist (hence why I asked this question to begin with) I might go ahead and just do it.

Cherry is calling my name. i now know it is not the correct wood for the style, and some don’t like it at all. But I don’t know... I think even if I went with a historically correct choice I’d be pining for the cherry stock, and an SMR is all that’s on the radar right now for the moment.

In the military we have a term now called “just send it bro” where you do something without overthinking it and sometimes going with your gut. Right now, I’m thinkin’ about just sendin’ it...
Life's getting shorter every day......send it.
 

1950DAVE

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Although cherry, apple, pear, ash, redoak, andbutternut were sometimes used for gun stocks, such utiliza- tion was not as common as the literature would have you believe. Walnut was a favorite of Tennessee gun- smiths, and it ranked second only to maple as gunstock material. Certainly, walnut was used to a greater extent in Tennessee for gunstocks than in Pennsylvania or Virginia. "Tennessee Rifles" a lecture by Robin C. Hale 1970. Search for it on the net, a wealth of info in a short presentation.
Dave
 

Eric Krewson

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Figured walnut can be very "interesting", of course you have to get off your wallet to get some. I bet Mr Jim would have some that would take your breath away if you would be willing to pay extra for it.
 
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Figured walnut can be very "interesting", of course you have to get off your wallet to get some. I bet Mr Jim would have some that would take your breath away if you would be willing to pay extra for it.
Thanks and you are right, but I am not interested in walnut if I’m being 100% honest.
 

Barry Strickland

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I have built two pistols out of a cherry tree that was downed in my uncle's yard by a storm. After I cured out the blanks for a couple of years it worked extremely well under the chisels and I was very happy with the results. I am looking into making another cherry stocked rifle. I truly love the look of cherry wood.
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Black cherry grows throughout the US eastern half of the US, therefore, it certainly was potentially available to southern and mountain gunsmiths. It does best where it is cool and the Allegheny plateau in northwestern PA and southwestern NY is where it grows best to large (for the species) diameter. The problem with cherry is it is an early successional species meaning it rapidly exploits clearings and grows quickly. It has to reach and dominate the forest canopy to grow long and large. Most black cherry trees are fairly small in diameter and often start to decline and die after 60-80 years unless they reach the top of the canopy. So fast growth and small size does not usually yield good gun stocks. However, dominant cherries can live to 200 years and the slower growth after 60 years can produce dense, hard, wood. I wonder how common large mature cherries were in the lower midwest and south. Generally a cooler climate produces bigger and older trees.

dave
 

Russ T Frizzen

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FWIW the Dixie Tennessee Mountain Rifles, Turner Kirkland's representation of the Southern "Po-Boy" rifles, were stocked with Cherry.
Yes, but they were stocked with Japanese cherry. Very different wood. Russ
 

smo

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I wonder how common large mature cherries were in the lower midwest and south. Generally a cooler climate produces bigger and older trees.

dave
Dave I grew up in NW Al, there were 2 black cherry trees on our property.

Both were at least 30”at the base, however in both cases it was 2 trees that grown together when they were saplings apparently.

I had an Uncle who made bedroom furniture from Cherry wood .
 

RB POWELL

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If you want a good cherry stock I am sure you can find one: might take a bit of looking. The one question I would ask is: will you ever be really happy with anything else?
 

Notchy Bob

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This is the article referenced by 1950dave above (post #27): Tennessee Rifles, by Robin C. Hale. Thanks, Dave! This is from Bulletin 23 of the American Society of Arms Collectors. Every time I look through that collection of monographs, I see something new (to me), and this is one I had missed. Dave's post is a direct quote.

Based on this and the Milton Warren account noted previously, it appears that cherry must have been used occasionally for stocking some southern rifles, but it would not have been common. I believe cherry and walnut have more resistance to rot and bug damage than the various "white" woods, and cherry is dimensionally pretty stable, in that it has less tendency to warp or shift than some woods. I ordered a banjo with a cherry neck from a builder in Virginia in 1979. I carried it all over creation and played the hell out of it back in the day, living in a house with wood heat and no air conditioning, and the neck is as straight now as the day I took delivery of it.

In researching this, I also found multiple references to applewood for stocking southern rifles. Like cherry, it was not common, but it was evidently used to some extent. I have no experience working with applewood, and I'm not sure I would recognize it if I saw it. I don't know that apple is regarded for figure in the wood, but Milton Warren ( in Dillin's The Kentucky Rifle) said "...apple finishes up very smooth and stays where you put it; it also takes inlaying well..." (p.67) It is noteworthy that the man who built my banjo offered applewood as an option for the neck, at extra cost. This tendency for the wood to stay where you put it may have been one reason he used it, and its rarity was the reason for the extra cost. It would probably make a great choice for a longrifle stock, but I've no idea where to get it. I've never seen it for sale.

So, my take on all of this is that a cherry-stocked southern rifle would be atypical but not unheard of. I think the consensus is that if that's what Smokey Plainsman wants, he ought to get it.

We will want pictures, though. Lots of pictures.

Notchy Bob
 
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Guys I emailed the Kiblers and Katherine messaged me back saying they just got in some nice dense figured cherry! Well, I just ordered their SMR kit in .45 caliber!!

I’m literally shaking with excitement right now!! This is the “🍒 on top” to my day!! I’ve never before done a kit but am so happy to try one now!! I don’t own any flintlocks at the moment and am just STOKED!!! 😄

Guys, I live in a one bedroom apartment in Las Vegas and own very few tools. I have a plan to document some ideas and my journey as I construct the rifle. I have confidence I can do it even in my humble dwelling!!

Stay tuned gang! I’m just so happy!!! 🤗
 

Bob McBride

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Guys I emailed the Kiblers and Katherine messaged me back saying they just got in some nice dense figured cherry! Well, I just ordered their SMR kit in .45 caliber!!

I’m literally shaking with excitement right now!! This is the “🍒 on top” to my day!! I’ve never before done a kit but am so happy to try one now!! I don’t own any flintlocks at the moment and am just STOKED!!! 😄

Guys, I live in a one bedroom apartment in Las Vegas and own very few tools. I have a plan to document some ideas and my journey as I construct the rifle. I have confidence I can do it even in my humble dwelling!!

Stay tuned gang! I’m just so happy!!! 🤗
Good for you Smoke! It doesn’t take many tools. A small chisel or two or an exacto knife and some sandpaper. I’m excited with you! Go suuuuuper slow! If it takes two months that’s great! The longer it takes the better it’ll be!
 
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