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The Art Of Gun Stock Checkering Explained

Few stock modifications add as much to your gun as a checkered pattern, which pays dividends functionally and aesthetically. This ancient art lets you grip your gun better in wet weather and gives it a sharp, modern look. Whether you need to refresh the checkering on an older gun or if you want to add it de novo on your own firearm, knowing the basics of this intriguing craft will serve you well whether you want to do the job yourself or ask a master gunsmith for a very specific pattern. 

Tools of the Trade

While many beginners may think that this simple task can be done with a pocket knife and a free afternoon, the fact is that, just like many other subsets of woodworking, checkering uses very unique and specialized tools to get that classic grip. Actual checkering tools come in single and double edged versions, and you’ll need both for hand checkering. Other essentials are the checkering cradle and a vise to hold your work steady. 

While It May Look Random, There Are Rules

Complex checkering patterns might just look like a series of very small cuts that happen to make up an array, but the truth of the matter is that these cuts are very carefully planned out in three dimensions. On the surface, the larger diamond pattern that makes up a checkering pattern is typically made by lines that intersect at 33 degree angles, but you can increase or decrease the specific angles based on personal preference. Another specific factor to keep in mind is that those beginning checkering should start out with checkering tools that cut 20-22 lines per inch, since this size will let you correct your errors fairly easily. 

Why Should I Checker My Gun Stock?

Checkering your gun stock not only makes your gun much easier to grip and hold steady, but it also can breathe new life into an older gun without checkering or where the checkering has faded with age. Checkering is a common part of any gun restoration and will be sharp and clear on very valuable guns. Another reason to consider having some checkering done on your existing gun is that it can completely change the look of your gun since there are simply so many specific styles of checkering for different types of guns. A skip line pattern, for example, can invoke Scottish tartan patterns of old and breathe new life into an otherwise unremarkable firearm. 

For more information, contact Lock’s Philadelphia Gun Exchange or a similar company.