Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Final Stretch, Finishing Up The Forend Checkering

Once all the lines in both directions are spaced I make sure the pattern as a whole looks balanced. I will add a line to extend the tail on one of the major points if it's to short, extend one of the top border lines to match it up with the corresponding border on the opposite side. The pattern must appear to be geometrically pleasing. The final lay out must be done with thought and care so as not to create more work than is necessary. When I'm satisfied with the overall pattern I then lay out and lightly cut in the borders.

The next step is to deepen the pattern and bring the diamonds up to points. I start with a 75 degree cutter and make at least 2 passes in both directions over the entire pattern. In the corners I use a short corner cutter and a V tool. Then I make two more passes using a 90 degree single line cutter. Care must be taken to stay in the track and not plow a line out of the groove and start another unwanted line. In the words of the late Len Brownell when you come the border of the pattern you "stop"the cutter to prevent over runs. Then I use a Super Fine 90 degree finish cutter to point up the pattern and make all the grooves appear to be the same depth.

The typical Mullered border uses a radial groove that lays between the main pattern and outermost line of the border. The Border I use I shamelessly borrowed from Monte Mandarino and Monte robbed it off and early Haenel stock. For me it was love at first sight. Some call it a Window Box effect, others a Shadow box, call it what you want it's not all that hard but does take more time to execute. I cut this border in on angle that drops away from the outer edge of the border and falls towards the base level of the diamonds. This is done with a narrow razor sharp chisel, a file and a set of dog foot chisels to establish the corners or tails of the points.

With the forend finished I move to the grip.

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