Formerly in the hunter’s arm, the wooden part of the gun was simply necessary just to hold the gun and, quite often, it was made from “poor” wood such as beech, fir....National, Circassian, Californian (called French), Turkish, Persian are some of many names describing the same wood, differential above all for geographical reasons but, all come from the tree that produces the well known edible fruit formed from a husk shell and kernal. The origin of a stock starts, therefore, from pulling down the tree. This is a slow and tedious job because the tree is literally eradicated from the ground with its roots and then sectioned in to planks. The person in charge of tracing the stocks, draws the various shapes directly on tothe planks, paying attention to the grain, the knots and the natural flaws..
After sawing the outline of the traced shapes, the first shape of the stock is achieved: it is called a wood blank.
The next treatment of vaporization helps to melt the tannins that homogenize the colour but, above all, to preserve it in time against mildew and xvlophagous insects.
Air seasoning has always been considered essential to reduce humidity and give stability to the wood, but new technologies shorten the seasoning time and speed up the drying process, ensuring the necessary structural stability. In the last ten years the introduction, even in wood divisions, of CNC machines, has brought a certain precision in the wood workings to levels that permit an almost perfect interchangeability with the metal.
In the sanding process, robots of new generation have been introduced, however they have not been able to eliminate the irreplaceable manual intervention of specialized workers.
It is in this particular processing step that the stock stops being only just a support and becomes an essential part for the functionality of the gun. Important details are the length, the grip measurements, the bend measurement
taken at the “nose” of the butt pad, the cast, the pitch and, more than often, the weight.....
To complete the function of the stock, a butt pad is needed and this could be in nylon, rubber and wood.
Functional to use but adding a great aesthetic value is the chequering, at one time only done by hand and, recently also done mechanically or on special laser machines.
The varnish and oil finishes are important but, what really counts for aesthetic effects and for the market value, are the veins in the wood. The cost depends on the category of the wood, from standard to exhibition, therefore the choice is primarily economic but, as the value increases, it becomes something quite subjective. Nature, in particularly the walnut tree, gives us such wonderful patterns, inexplainable and unrepeatable, because these patterns show us the spirit of the earth, the warmth of the sun, the cold of the ice, the force of the winds and the composition of waters........