Tools or tool kits for stock finishing

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I recently purchased a semi-finished stock from a forum member here. It's a Jacob Dubbs/Bucks County replica. Because it's a beautiful piece of curly maple and because I'm new to the process, I also ordered a 1 x 8 plank of curly maple to practice carving/shaping to improve my woodworking skills before I do something regrettable with the stock blank.

Looking online, I see a wide range of prices/products for stock-building. Brownells would happily separate me from $599.00 for their stockmaker's starter set:

BROWNELLS STOCKMAKER'S STARTER SET | Brownells

Midway offers an array of files, chisels, and carving tools for less, but I don't know the brands or quality of these items.

Any suggestions for a newbie? Thus far, I've only experimented with some small pieces from the plank. I've learned that the maple scorches easily on a belt sander but responds beautifully to hand sanding. I've also learned that watching aqua fortis react to heat is intensely satisfying. I've put two coats of Permalyn Sealer on my test piece and already the three-dimensionality of the woodgrain is amazing.

Thanks in advance,


KP
 

billraby

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I would go with Woodcraft for any wood working tools. Quality is a lot higher than Borwnells or Midway. Prices are a lot higher also. It all depends on how much quality you are looking for and how much you are willing to pay for it.
 
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It depends on how simi-finished your stock is; everyone uses different tools so mine are just what I use. I use these to shape a blank and leave off the #49 Nicholson on a pre-shaped stocks.

From the left, #49 and 50 Nicholson, half round wood file ( I use this the most on pre-shaped stocks), chainsaw file, small files of various shapes, a gouge or three, a carving mallet, Sand Devil sanding block plus make as I go small wood sanding blocks and a contour gage to check my uniformity while shaping the wood.

OOPS, I just took this picture and realized I left out a few rat tail files of various sizes.

stock shaping tools.JPG
 
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i would avoid buying "kits" or "sets." usually, you will make good use of only a few of the tools in the set, and the rest will go unused. Spend yuour money instead on the very best tools that you can get and buy them as you need them.

if you have not already done so, you may want to consider the purchase of The Gunsmith of Grenville County or Recreating the American Longrifle. although a bit expensive, these books will probably save you more than their purchase price in parts you don't ruin ... and you have a nice book, so you're ahead of the game...

another thought_ if you haven't yet got this one, figure out how to make your cutting edges (chisels, gouges, etc.) super sharp ... neurosurgery sharp. i use the scarysharp system (wet/dry sandpaper on float glass) but there are a bunch of systems out there - pick one which will work best for you ... also, get some stropping paste and a bit of scrap leather ... this helps great deal.

good luck with your build!
 
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While I am a neophyte where gun building is concerned, my 40+ years of woodworking may qualify me to help a bit here:
I echo the advice of MSW. Stay away from pre-selected tool kits. Quality of the tools is usually lower and many have stuff you don't need and lack things you quickly discover would be most helpful.

Eric's set-up is good. For ease of getting started (especially as a beginner) I would ADD a few "Microplane" rasps. They cut fast but not too deep and the blades are replaceable. Lots of sizes and tooth sets to choose from as well. If you are new to shaping or carving, try to steer away from "power tools" as it very easy to go too fast and too far with those as a beginner, and that just leads to heartache and $$$ lost.
Patience and a light touch with your hand tools at first, will pay off. The more your learn the feel of the tool and how it behaves, the faster your comfort level will increase and thus the speed of good work.

I recommend what Billraby did as well. You are working wood. Go where the woodworkers go. This includes Woodcraft, Rockler, Klingpors, Highland woodworking, (I don't know what is close to you, so I threw out a few to look up.) Go to the store, not the website (yet). You don't have to buy your entire set up there but the benefit of going there is that the folks in those stores are also the teachers of the many classes they host. The patrons are woodworkers as well and you will often run into a professional furniture maker, wood turner, inlay artist etc. Just like the gentlemen on this forum, they will all be eager to help you out.
Often, these folks will do more than that, they may even offer to show you the proper ways to use the tools you are looking to find. Don't be shy, ask for help and you will receive it.

Don't go nuts. It is easy to do. Purchase the tool(s) you need for what you doing and you definitely don't need every size on the shelf. Complete sets, while tempting, are not a wise use of your money. You can accomplish an awful lot with a few microplane rasps, a few good files, a 1/8" chisel, 1/2" chisel, 1" chisel (these would be "pairing chisels" high grade, razor sharp tools designed for hand pressure or LIGHT striking with a wooden mallet, NOT the hardware store chisels), a "V" gouge or two, a liner tool, a wooden mallet and some (few) carving gouges.
The gentlemen here would be my "go-to" source for useful sizes to get started.

A word on rasps and files: Most of the rasps and files you will come across have (machine cut) teeth cut in patterned rows. For shaping and smoothing wood, however, artisans would use hand cut rasps and files with random tooth patterns as the resultant finish was far smoother and required much less "clean up" as well as reducing the occasion of chattering and creating unintentional deep cuts to eliminate. I would recommend the "buy once-cry once" motto in this instance and purchase one or two of these random tooth hand cut rasps as you will have a much smoother (pun intended) wood shaping experience. You will also be able to hand these down as the quality is excellent. Narex is a Czech brand that will be lower in price but of very high quality.

Another economical option for fast but markedly smoother material removal is the US made "Kutzall" wood shaping rasps. These are very cleverly designed random tooth "rasps and files" in a myriad of shapes grades from extra course to extra fine that are not "cut" rasps and files but impregnated tungsten coatings that do an impressive job of wood shaping with speed and a nice finish leaving little clean up of the wood. They will last a long time, although the jury is still out on their "heirloom" quality, but for the price, who cares? In shaping guitar necks and headstocks, I have tried these out and they are fantastic tools.

Stains versus Dyes: Wow, there is a lot to unpack here. Start by browsing the articles and books of someone like Jeff Jewit. There is little this man has not mastered in the field of wood stains and dyes, shellacs, varnishes, urethanes, epoxies, etc. etc. Whether it is brushed, sprayed, wiped or dipped, start off with reading a few of Jeff's articles and watch a few of his videos. He is the "Yoda" of wood finishing.

I hope this helps a bit. Thanks for giving me something to contribute here as I am total "noob" on most any other topic these learned gentlemen discuss.
I too am just getting started (again) in this wonderful hobby.
Best of luck to you.
 
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I used an assortment of metal cutting files, including a small round file that is used to sharpen a chainsaw chain, along with a Nicholson 4-1 wood rasp, a 6" block plane to remove most of the excess wood on fore end, and assorted sized pieces of wood, flat steel and a 6" piece of pool noodle to use as sanding blocks. I used a 4mm and a 1/2" chisel the most although others were used too.
 

rchas

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My most used tools for shaping a stock are a 1 1/2" wide no. 4 sweep gouge, a spoke shave, a small Stanley 101 block plane, a 1" and a 1/4 " chisel. The gouge is very good at hogging off extra wood, and with a lighter hand is excellent for forming the concave curves of the comb and cheek piece. I finish with a variety of cabinet scrapers, bought and homemade. Unlike others, I rarely use a rasp.
 
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One more thing (for now). Buy yourself a good set of sharpening stones and a sharpening jig. You are going to spend a bit of money on good chisels and gouges. Keep them sharp. All of the wood working shops hold classes by professionals on PROPER sharpening and edge care of your tools. Attend one of them and learn from the folks whose living depends on proper sharpening of their tools. Most of them are only a few dollars to attend and often they are free. Yes you can learn from YouTube, but in the class, you have the opportunity to actually try out some of these set ups and have your attempts checked and improved, right there by the experts.

There are lots of set ups and methods to "get sharp" investigate some of them for yourself. I recommend an actual class, because you will be exposed to different methods, jigs and materials all of which will get you to where you need to be. Find what fits you and your wallet the best. But one way or another learn to properly sharpen your tools and just as importantly learn what it means to be sharp. I meet a lot of novice and even some advanced wood workers who never knew what sharp actually was. Occasionally I will teach a class and always hearing surprised comments by woodworkers who will try one of my planes, chisels or carving tools who did not realize how precise and effortless it is to work with a truly sharp tool.
 
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