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The Gunstock Blanks become Gunstocks.

The past few years after the IWA show I have posted articles in 2014 on buying the wood there from the Turkish dealers, followed last year by the wood arriving at the factory which is the time you see how you have actually done with your buying.

The Pair of Gunstock Blanks at time of Purchase.

The next stage in the whole wood process is getting the chosen blanks on the guns! This in itself may sound simple but actually often disaster can happen at any stage. The wood can develop 'shakes' as it adjusts to the ambient humidity, (these are small cracks which can render the blank useless) the stocker can cut the rough stock shape out and reveal a massive hole or a flaw in the wood, there are a number of things that can go wrong and the blank is then relegated to the scrap heap, expensive firewood!

So it is always a relief when the wood you choose and had high expectations for is actually on the guns, shaped up, sanded and with a first coat of clear oil on. This is the point you can actually judge how you did with your selection.

Above are a set of 3 blanks I purchased from one of the dealers in IWA in 2015 and below are a pair of new sidelocks guns fresh from the stocking shop for which I used the best of the 3 blanks for. Relief indeed, they worked out well!

Over the next months, whilst the guns are being engraved, the true richness and colour of the wood will be released by endless coats of oil and hours of hand polishing. We will show them again after that!

A Pair of Sidelock Westley Richards just our of stocking shop.


  • Vance Daigle on March 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Good Day Simon,

    I have never witnessed a gun you have built and put onto your blog that I would not have chewed down a "Tree" for Simon. I am not certain if it's the rabbit's foot in your pocket are the lifetime of judging wood, but you certainly have a keen eye for what is spectacular!!!!! Happy Easter to all the follower's of this blog and to everyone at the Westley Richards Company.

    In Christ

  • Larry on March 23, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Naturally, the work done with metal is outstanding. But the warmth and natural character of wood, something that metal can never provide, make it truly striking and interesting in my eyes. Well done on the blank selection and I look forward to seeing the stocks progress through their stages!

  • Neill on March 23, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Love work in progress photos, craftsmanship of the very best quality.

  • Neil McVeigh on March 25, 2016 at 8:35 am

    As always a great post,how we love the Explora blog!
    Whats the rate of failure on the blanks?

    • Simon Clode on March 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

      I am not actually sure maybe 1 in 15 or something like that but we can often find an alternate use, forend pile, tools etc. it never gets thrown away!

  • Mims Reed on March 25, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    For the wood you suddenly discover is not fit for stocks it would make for beautiful pistol and knife grips. One of the nicest set of grips I have are of Walnut that was part of a discarded painted doorframe during the remodel of a clothing store. That wood now graces a Colt Single Action Army 41 Long Colt.
    Better tomorrows,

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