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82nd Trooper, builder, mark, susjwp, Woodreaux
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#596066 04/25/2021 2:10 PM
by susjwp
What brand or type tools would you all recommend for cleaning and recutting old checkering on recently refinished stocks. I have no interest in checkering gun stocks from scratch, just cleaning and recutting old and worn.

Many thanks,
Liked Replies
#596122 Apr 26th a 01:27 PM
by Kutter
Here's a link to Gunline Checkering Tools.
Take a bit of time and look thru the different Checkering Cutters and the Checkering Tools (handles).


I'm not recommending these over any others' It's just a fairly simple layout that you can get a good idea of the different checkering tools are and sort out the specialty from the basics.

I use some GunLine,,some Dembart, some home-made, It's getting to the point with availability (lack of it) that you have to take what you can find in some instances.
Some of what used to be very high quality as far as the detachable cutters lately has been pretty bad in my experience w/ LPI not exactly matching what is presented.
Can't get in too much trouble with a single line tool through!
I 'rough' the pattern out with an MMC that I've been using since the 70's. Always finish up with hand tools. Never have I been able to finish a pattern with the power tool exclusively , but it certainly is a time saver,,,
and it'll get you in trouble quickly too if you are not watching.

There's quite a choice of different shapes and specialty tools. But simple single line cutter tools are just that.
About the only differences you can get in to are the length of the cutter,,, the coarseness/fine degree of the cutter and the actual angle of the diamond it will cut.

Single line tools can be used quite often when recutting for getting right up to the old border. Since you are cleaning out and/or just slightly cutting, the point of the tool can be depressed at the border edge and dragged backwards to complete a line to the edge. Not the primo way to do things of course. A better way is to use a small Veiner chisel, a V shaped palm held hand tool to cut that last little bit of each line up to the border. They are also good for getting into those acute border angled areas where the checkering exists, but the lines are so short betw the borders, your checkering tool won't fit or you can't move it back and forth to cut anything.

Most common US checkering is cut with a 90* tool.
But most European and a lot of earlier US checkering was cut using 60* tools. The 60* gives you a steeper diamond because you have to go deeper to get to a point with each row.
Lots of earlier US work was cut and left with Flat Tops on the diamonds. That was to avoid having to go so very deep on the 16, 18 and even 20 LPI patterns in order to attain pointed diamonds at 60*. Even at 90* the 16 & 18 look better most times flat topped if done well.
(There is English Style Flat Top Checkering also. It is different from the above. Cut with straight sided tools, no or very slight taper to the lines. Very tough to do when compared to Diamond/pyramid checkering)
4 members like this
#596301 Apr 29th a 02:45 PM
by Kutter
Thank you for the complements! I appreciate that.

Re: "English' checkering,,that's about all I've ever heard it refered to as 'English Flat Top Checkering'

Some people do fine job of it using 60* cutters and not going very deep. That cuts a very narrow line and leaves you with the broad flat top.
But I believe from what I've seen and from what others have told me,,the original style was cut with straight sided walls/vertical sides to the cuts w/no taper.
Like a thin saw blade w/no 'set' to the blade would cut.
The bottom of the cuts are actually rounded grooves in most instances. Not flat channels like the same saw blade would cut.

Using a 60* cutter to lay out the pattern and then sinking it down deeper works quite well. But if any of the taper of the 60* cutter is visible at the tops of the flats when done, or the lines are too wide because of the use of the tapered cutter,,purists of the style will immediately glare and point.

Most English style is cut fairly deep about .020+. That's deep enough that if using a 60* cutter to mimic it you will have the taper of the 60* diamonds showing if you try to use it to finish the depth.

The checkering tool makers used to sell cutters for English style, don't know if they do anymore. Making a 2 line cutter/spacer isn't too difficult .

The style of checkering does not allow for much error when cutting as does pyramid style checkering. In the latter slight corrections can be made as the cut is deepened. The final outcome is that the diamond point be centered and the spacing be correct.
In English style, your first cut establishes where the line will be. Trying to move it over one way or the other only widens out the line and that detracts from the entire pattern as the very narrow checkering lines are all just that,,simple narrow saw like cuts straight down into the wood.

It's a difficult style to do well.
The center of the flat of each diamond (some of the checkering was cut to near square proportions) were often decorated with a punch dot or other figure. Some had inlayed silver, gold, ivory dots, stars, etc.
They can get pretty tacky looking sometimes but that was the style.
2 members like this
#596951 May 16th a 08:25 PM
by craigd
Those checkering tool pictures and their description look like they are from Steve Earle. He knows his way around really good quality metal work.
2 members like this
#596174 Apr 27th a 10:17 AM
by Stanton Hillis
Stanton Hillis
Kutter, I always spend extra time absorbing all that you include in your excellent "how to" posts. This is no different. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into posting here. One rainy day I should begin printing all of your back posts so that I could categorize and save them, for reference.

Regarding the English style flat topped "chequering", I have seen, on older percussion or flintlock English guns, that style "chequering" with a tiny dimple cut into the dead center of each diamond's flat top. It is very classy. Was there a term for that, in the English trade, that you know of?
1 member likes this
#596855 May 13th a 01:29 PM
by SKB
A nice video on flat top checkering. The sound track is not quite to my tastes but that may just show my lack of refinement.

1 member likes this
#596945 May 16th a 02:26 PM
by Travis S
Travis S
I just bought some stuff from WoodCarvers Supply. The handles are the brownels loop types. I will report when received.
1 member likes this
#596965 May 17th a 01:39 PM
by mark
X2 Steve Earl
1 member likes this

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