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Clarification added 1-23-03 -
There's a part
that everybody forgets when discussing the cost of stock wood. That's this: Somebody has to take
the blank and MAKE it into a stock. The prices I charge INCLUDE
this highly specialized labor. Therefore; when you find a chunk
of wood on the net for $500, you get just that ... A CHUNK of
wood ... period. Then, all you need is a highly skilled craftsman
with a shop full of tools and the time/skills to design, profile,
inlet, shape, grind, sand, and finish your chunk into a stock.
When you see where I've listed an optional stock at $500 ....
the skilled craftsman, and the tools, and the time are INCLUDED.
Additionally; if I've told you I'll use your own blank for a surcharge,
that's for the skilled craftsman, tools, and labor. It's the DIFFERENCE
between working a softer pc. of predictable straight grained walnut
and working a temperamental blank of unknown origin.
There's a heck of a
difference between a "blank" and a "stock".
A couple of times a year (or when needed),
I go to a sawmill and pick through tens of tons of dry planks.
Thus, I obtain my stock wood.
I price this out according to the blank
quality. I never know, from month to month (year to year), what
I will have on hand. Many will think the internet sites offering
blanks seem to be just the ticket. It's not so simple. Additional
discussions on this topic are throughout the site. Here's another
called gunstock blanks when
you have time.
In the cost grids, you'll find a thing
called "Gary's Pick" stock material. The stock which
comes with the base price on the cost grids will be straight grained
American walnut. Makes a very fine stock. And, I try to use nice
stuff. I certainly won't use anything that's nasty. For the "Gary's
Pick" wood, I sort through my inventory alittle closer. Try
to use the something alittle nicer. I charge about $250 for this.
Some places on my site might mention
other possibilities. I occasionally have some very special stuff
I've sorted out. I usually charge about $500 or so for this.
I offer laminated stocks. I have special
color patterns laid up just for me in clear (face) veneers. Extremely
durable and stable. Very pretty. If there's an average, it's about
$650 for these.
Then, there's the thing 10 out of 10
people ask about. Some kind of Exhibition grade, etc., etc. It's
fraught with problems from start to finish. You'll have to read
the page gunstock blanks when you
have time. I know everybody wants them, and about one out of ten
understands the problems associated with making something from
one of these so identified blanks. In a nutshell, they are extremely
expensive, highly unstable, often flawed, very fragile, and a
nightmare to machine. Other than that ... they're fine. ;?)
I "recommend" that you buy
the rifle with the regular stock. I can "suggest" that
you might want to go with the "Gary's Pick" stock. "IF"
I have something extra nice, I'll be happy to sell it to you.
I will have selected it and thus know something about it. I really
like the laminated wood as well. It's great with some of the more
modern designs. Very eye-catching. Very stable on target rifles.
I "cannot" warehouse tons
of walnut. I cannot guarantee I'll find some trophy pc. of wood
when it's wanted. I'll use your blank (but charge you a respectable
surcharge to use it), because I know nothing about it at all (could
go well - probably won't), it seriously slows down the build time,
and it screws up the ledger timing for the next guy. I cannot
guarantee your blank. If during machining, it warps, cracks, splits,
twists, or shows itself to be flawed, I can't be responsible for
To a huge number of people, the stock
"Is" the rifle. I'd respectfully suggest that, while
a suitable stock is the interface between shooter and action,
a figured wooden stock only "compliments" the rifle
(and in many cases weakens the structure and limits the rifle's
usefulness or trips out of the vault). It's the action of the
rifle which is the living, breathing, soul of the artifact. That's
where I must spend 95% of my effort. It's simply a myth that the
stock is most of the work in a custom airgun. It isn't ... unless
you try to shape some knot of twisted burl into a usable object.
Once achieved, most folks will never use the rifle. It nullifies
absolutely all of the research and technology I've developed and
the attention to detail I've crafted into the rifle to just let
it sit in the safe lest the stock be scratched.