Cherry wood for a stock…good or bad

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Hi,
I am going to offer a contrary point of view. Cherry is a fine wood and will make a good stock. I use it when the historical context of the gun I am making demands it. For example, I usually will make a New England fowler from cherry because many were originally stocked with it. However, given a choice, I would choose figured maple or figured walnut over cherry every time. Generally, cherry has fine grain but it is very uninteresting to me and monochromatic, meaning even if it has some figure or flame, the colors are just different shades of the same reddish-brown. Chatoyance, the deep 3D glow of wood like curly maple, is minimal in cherry, although you can simulate it with some creative staining. In sunlight, curly maple lights up like fire, cherry not so much. A plain gun made from cherry is exceedingly plain. You can carve it to add interest but it won't hold details as well as hard maple so you need to design your carving accordingly. However, if you go with cherry, your stock will be enhanced greatly if you at least cut in some border lines and lock panel moldings. You can create the illusion of chatoyance by first coloring the stock with a dilute stain of black aniline dye. Sand or scrape off the black and then stain with whatever you choose. The black will remain embedded in the fine grain of the wood and act like a drop shadow color you might use to create a 3D looking graphic or lettering. It will add a mellow glow. See below.
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dave
Dave that’s a beautiful Fusil, I don’t think I had seen it yet. Inspiring work!
 

oreclan

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I built a swamped .50 cal. Reading school rifle back in the 1980s and it is still my favorite.
I stained it with potassium permanganate , and used linseed oil as a finish.
 
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Traditional on a New England gun; less so elsewhere. Finishes to a nice warm tone. Not the best for carving but with good sharp tools it will carve like red maple or black walnut.
Just watched a vid on Crockett guns. Those made in his family and David may have been painted holding one. This Tennessee poor boy gun was made with Lancaster style stock, sans butt plate, plain styling, and on cherry.
While it’s true that cherry had limited use it wasn’t unheard of.
 

Horse

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I had a Dixie Gun Works TMR. It was stocked with cherry and I really liked that rifle. The wood was rather plain and had an overall working rifle look to it. That was the one I had. Dont know how the rest of them looked. Mine was a production finished rifle not a kit made gun. I think how you finish the wood makes miles of difference. Many of the cherry stocks I see here look like beautiful show pieces.
 
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I have a cherry stocked Woodsrunner on order from Kibler. I plan to suntan it.

I switched my WR order to cherry about a month ago. This topic is full of good information about it. I've never used cherry for anything before. Not even in bows, which I build many of. Original order was for plain maple but it seemed like maybe plain cherry would bring a different look to the collection.
 
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Compared to my frankengun; A .54 made with a L&R left hand lock and Lyman Trade Rifle barrel and parts.

A very hard piece of cherry for the stock with completely different finish then my 20 gauge. Big Red is on the one on top of these three. The potential for cherry to take the stain differently and become blotchy is evident.
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Col. Batguano

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I've had the blotchy trait of cherry come out several times in cabinet and furniture making. (Pine is the absolute worst for this.) It's not a significant issue unless you're going to be using stain, which I usually do. To negate its' potential for happening, I'll use a VERY dilute wash (or spray) of lacquer or diluted hide glue first before the stain goes on. Hide glue seems to work the best for this, but it's a real pain to work with, let alone the smell which is awful.

It's a tricky balance though. Too concentrated and the stain won't take. Too dilute and the blotchiness appears. And, each piece of wood is different. So, while I love working in the wood, I absolutely dread finishing it.
 
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qtrhrs7

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Has anyone used cherry from Tiger Hunt? I bought some samples from Mike but none had that chain pattern grain.
 
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A few experiments I did with some cherry wood scrapes after researching this very topic for my Kibler SMR build.
 

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Robby

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I've made several guns. rifles and fowlers from cherry. A good piece of cherry is a joy to work with, it even smells good! It is very versatile in finishing, left natural it darkens very fast when left in the sun, lye, aqua fortis, and stain have differing affects and are fun to experiment with.
I just finished a 24 ga. fowler in the Lehigh style in cherry.
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Its best if you can handle it first, on occasion it can be a bit to soft for my liking but I there is a lot of it out there to choose from.
Good luck!!!!!
Robby
 
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I've made several guns. rifles and fowlers from cherry. A good piece of cherry is a joy to work with, it even smells good! It is very versatile in finishing, left natural it darkens very fast when left in the sun, lye, aqua fortis, and stain have differing affects and are fun to experiment with.
I just finished a 24 ga. fowler in the Lehigh style in cherry.
View attachment 167354
View attachment 167355
Its best if you can handle it first, on occasion it can be a bit to soft for my liking but I there is a lot of it out there to choose from.
Good luck!!!!!
Robby
 

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