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Howdy fellas.  A friend of mine gave me a nice big chunk of moose horn.  It is very dense and hard and I'd like to try to make a set of stocks for my Model 29 .44 Mag.  Have any of you tried this yourselves?  Could you share your methods with me?  Thanks,  Brian.
 

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I'm interested also.
I have a big chunk of 150 year old walnut that came out of an old log barn. This chunk of wood is about 18 inches long 10 inches by 6 inches and weighs like it was made from some metal. Hard as heck.
Any suggestions on how to get started?
Jim
 

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I'm not familiar with moose antler, but whitetail antler is very hard, and smells bad when worked.

For the old walnut, bandsaw off a couple of 1/4 to half inch wafers.  I think you may find it hard to find a piece big enough without cracks.  Depending on what part of the country you are from and how it has been stored recently, the wood may not be at equilibrium moisture content all the way through.  If so, let the thin wafers dry a couple of weeks in the house.  

Take your old grip panels off and trace them .  Band saw or scroll saw them out, making sure the grain runs long ways.  Now sand the grips to rough contour and shape and fit to the gun frame often.  

Now salvage the bushing out of the old grips, drill a hole and epoxy it in.  Hogue sells nice replacement screws if you have buggered up the old ones.

OIled walnut is very pretty, watco finish will penetrate and harden in the pores of the wood.  but here is my favorite.  Dissolve beeswax into turpentine until the consistency of applesauce.  Let soak in, buff.      
 

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I moved this thread here under gunsmithing where it better belongs.

Now, to answer some questions about handgun grip making.

Those moose antlers may be fine for grip panels, but they had better be pretty good sized at the base, as moose, like all North American deer species (includes elk and moose) have antler that is poreous in the center, being almost pithy in texture.  The only part of the antler that would be suitable for your grips of course would be the outer portion of the antler base, if indeed large enough for your needs, then some very interesting grip panels can indeed be fashioned from it.  It will necessitate cutting and slabbing with a bandsaw for best results.  Perhaps you might be better off selling the moose antlers (they are bringing 12 bucks a pound around here!), and buying the small amound of Indian Stag antler that would be necessary to make a first class set of grips.   India Stag has none of the pithy, poreous center to the antler like our North American species do.   India Stag antler is excellent to work with, very durable, and produces very durable, attractive grips.   If I were to invest the time in crafting a set of antler grips, I would look to the India Stag for my stock to work with, unless perhaps the antlers had some intrinsic value and I just wanted to make use of them for memory's sake.

Now, about proceecures for Ruger Single Action revolvers and stock fitting.   The first order of business is to procure some lightweight, stiff lexan or clear plastic sheeting about the weight of poster board.  It is available in craft and hobby shops as well as the craft sections of the larger department stores.  The purpose of the clear sheeting, is to make a pattern for your grips.   You can trace the old grips on the sheeting, then easily cut it with scissors to shape, but here's the neat part about using the clear plastic for making a pattern:  You can see through it, and locating the holes for the grip pins and screws is easy when laid over the old grips.   Simply mark the existing holes with a felt-tip pen, then drill them in exactly the right positions.

Now, assuming that you have already slabbed your stock material to an appropriate blank thickness, lay your pattern over this material, and FIRST MARK AND DRILL YOUR HOLES, being careful on the grip positioning pins to drill them no deeper than absolutely necessary.  

Now, using the two holes in the grip blank material, orient the pattern exactly with the holes in the blanks with either wooden dowels or screws, then trace the outside contours of the pattern onto the blanks, being careful to flip your pattern over, to make both a right and left grip panel.

Once so marked, cut carefully with a scroll-saw or coping-saw (by hand), cut to shape  following the outline drawn from the pattern, but giving yourself about .100" of an inch of extra material outside the drawn lines when cutting out your grip panels.  This will give extra material for very precise fitting of the grips to the actual frame.

Once cut out, begin at once fitting that area of the grip that is immediately behind the trigger guard and under the hammer where the contours of the frame are radiused on the sides.  Your alignment pin holes will aid in this as consistent alignment is absolutely mandatory to get a precise wood to metal fit in this area.  Use round, rat-tail files for the radiused curves, and a flat, mill bastard file to fit the flat portions of this critical area of the grips.

Once fit to your satisfaction, fit each grip panel to the frame, one at a time, and on the inside of the grip, trace the contour of the frame onto the stock blank, this will serve as a visual guide when shaping the grips, either sanding or filing the blank until very near this point marked.

Now, you should have some very boxy-looking stock blanks that pretty closely fit the frame,  Now is the time to get to work with either a stationary belt sander, or files, or both shaping your grips to your taste... here there is really no wrong way to shape them, so long as they fit your hands and your tastes.  

Final shaping, sanding and finishing are all a matter of your desires, needs and individual taste, so I won't expound on the subjects.

Lastly, if working with antler, ivory, micarta or some of the exotic rainforest type woods, it's a good idea to use mask or respirator when cutting and shaping these materials to avoid inhaling the dust from them.  Also, if making a set of grips from abalone shell, for mother of pearl grips (very, very nice when done correctly!), make sure to not only use a mask or repirator, but when grinding or sanding, do so with a flowing waterbath over the material... this dust can be toxic... even to point of death!

Stock making for sixguns isn't rocket science, but it is very time consuming, but rewarding with a great sense of satisfaction once finished.  Perhaps the best part is having a sixgun that doesn't look like every other Ruger in the field!

Hope this helps you folks out with your projects.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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You might try the method used to make decoys. Take a block of wood and just cut away anything that doesn't look like a duck...
 
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