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Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 71
Sidelock
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Sidelock

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 71
I have a 75 year-old French walnut stock blank that has been following me around the country since I took it out of my Dad's gun room after he died. I'm ready to use it finally now that I'm settled down.
I once read a comment from a stockmaker that older blanks get too hard (ultra low moisture content) and can't be worked. I wonder if it is usable or has gotten too dry over the years.
Is this concern valid - and how will I know if my stock has passed its "use by" date?

Last edited by Bruce in WV; 03/10/16 08:03 PM.
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Sidelock
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I am not a stock maker, but have had a love affair with walnut for 50 years. I know that antique restorers and museum support artisans greatly prize old wood/veneer that they can get their hands on. Borers, powder post beetles are more a problem in old wood/furniture than moisture- especially in a climate controlled environment.

Once the "bound moisture" in the wood cells has "left", the wood will largely acclimate to its host environment; it will not continue to lose moisture beyond the relative humidity of its environment.

I have in the safe a French blank that's appx. 40 years old, with an MC (moisture content) perfect for working (9-12 % is a good range). So I don't believe there is a "use by" issue, though you should be careful if the blank has been in a desert environment and your stocker is in Florida.

At the end of the day, get your stockmaker's opinion of the blank and its suitability for the project.

Mike


Tolerance: the abolition of absolutes

Consistency is the currency of credibility
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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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Thanks, Mike.
Great info and good advice ("Get your stockmaker's opinion.")
That's what I needed to know.

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Sidelock
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Some say that the pores get smaller on an old blank.Bobby

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Sidelock
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I think a bit depends on how dry. I know more then a few years ago a fellow found a number of blanks in an attic out west (Nevada I think). The wood had literally baked until it became ultra brittle and developed large seasoning cracks for the heat. I think if it was stored in a normal environment that wouldn't be an issue. In itself, I don't believe your blank is too hard to work as long as its been stored correctly.


foxes rule
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I always wonder about guys who take old stocks and soak them in acetone for days on end. That can't be good....

Joined: Aug 2013
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Originally Posted By: GregSY
I always wonder about guys who take old stocks and soak them in acetone for days on end. That can't be good....


And probably unneccessary too. The last stock i had with the head soaked in oil, didn't need days soaking in acetone, gentle heat from a heat gun and the oil oozed out, to be wiped off with a rag soaked in turps. Turned out fine.


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