...Unless you are good at it.
I've seen a lot of well made rifles, some even with very nice metal engravings, but then come the photos of the cheek piece or whatever, with some terribly done carvings (or more like attempts at carving).
Bad carving can absolutely ruin your fine gun.
Take the time to develop the skill, know your skill level and proceed with caution. It's better to leave it plain sometimes, honestly.
This is not what I see at all. If you copy the carving as well as the old timers did it you'll end up with an outstanding rifle.The exact same advise could be dispensed appropriately to many gun makers across the past 500 years. In fact, I keep researching original work looking for carving patterns to copy and have found the majority of the work to be fairly crude, not precision work done by an expert specialist.
There is a distinction between mechanics and artists. A gunsmith is, IMO, first and initially a mechanic. The inclination and understanding of art came later to each individual, or maybe never came at all. I can see and readily distinguish excellent carving by an artist but when it comes to doing I'm just a mechanic with no ability to create art and will probably never achieve it. Those who have worked hard at it and achieved it regularly tell people like me that all we need to do is practice. Maybe that's so, but on the other hand maybe they are gifted and just don't realize that not everyone is.And a rhetorical question, what's the reason behind originals being mostly crude. They had the same tools, and the ability to take the time and the ability to do intricate work. So why be crude about it.
Well your cheating, you're an Artist. And a good one.Sometimes just a simply inscribed design carved well can be enough to add a nice touch of flair, so I do what I can with some confidence. I am not proficient in skills to carve the incised and relief carvings that I dream of doing one day. But staying in the boundaries of my skill level I can pull it off to some degree and not distract from the overall appearance of the gun.