A Pictorial of David Dawes AA400
HFT Thumbhole Stock in the Making
Part 1 and finally Part 2 as well
Updated: February 2008
Building rifle stocks is super fun and the idea with this pictorial is to spur a bit of interest in this
great hobby. I’m not a writer nor a photographer but you might find some of this photos
interesting if you are planning to make a new stock for your air rifle. This is not a how-to article
as such but I will try and augment some of the pictures with a few words to make it a bit more
informative. There are many ways to skin a cat and these pictures show one way of doing it. If
you have smarter or better ways of accomplishing some of the stock building tasks please take a
few minutes and drop me an e-mail so I can share this info on my web site. Any submissions
regarding how-to’s or tips&tricks will be greatly appreciated!
Lets start. I have skipped the design and wood selection process in this pictorial and will
post little articles on these topics sometime in the future on my web site.
1) Draw the design on a nice solid piece of wood. Fine tipped permanent marker pens
works great for this. The photo shows the design partially cut out with a band saw. Tip:
Leave a bit of extra wood at the bottom of the fore-end if your blank is large enough, to
give you some extra space to work when clamped in a vice. This one has much more
than is required to show the idea.
2) This stock will have an adjustable cheek piece. Tip: Cut this out first as it will make
some of the following steps a bit easier. Be very careful with the cutting at a mistake here
will ruin your work piece.
3) Plane the top of the stock flat. This step would not have been possible with the cheek
piece in place.
4) Make sure the top is flat and square.
5) Next step is to make the components for the fore-end tip. This picture shows a very
thin piece of wood being planed to about 3 or 4 mm in thickness.
6) Cut the wood for the tip and sand/grind the surface that will be glued 100% flat to
ensure a good fit to the stock
7) Test fit the tip and the stock
8) Glue the tip to the blank using water proof wood glue or epoxy. Make sure there is no
oil or wax from the planner left on the wood. Tip: Always a good idea to wipe the
surface with thinners and let dry before gluing.
9) Tip glued in place. Inspect carefully. If its not perfect, cut it off and repeat the steps to
grind, fit and glue the tip.
10) You probably have time to kill while the glue on the tip is drying, so use it to shape
the top and bottom of the cheek piece.
11) Sand the area where the cheek piece will mount.
12) Check cheek piece for fit and repeat steps 10 and 11 until it looks neat.
13) Drill out the trigger hole. Good quality forstner bits helps a lot when drilling these
large holes and will save a lot of sanding in this awkward spot later.
14) Drill the thumb hole and top of pistol grip.
15) Sand the trigger hole to the correct shape.
16) Mark the inletting on the top side of your blank.
17) Route the cylinder channel. I use a half inch router bit for this. Don’t cut it out to the
front and leave a little bit of wood there.
18) Shape the inside of the fore-end to a half round . Use a piece of pipe that is the same
diameter as your rifle’s cylinder to check the shape.
19) Ignore the piece of plastic and pipe and notice the little piece of wood, in the center
of the picture, that was left in when band sawing the stock profile. This disposable flat
surface is handy for router alignment as can be seen on this photo and will be cut out later
after all inletting is complete.
20) A wooden insert is made by clamping to pieces of wood together and then drilling a
32mm hole with a BIG auger bit right through the middle where the two pieces meet. If
the drilling was straight you should end up with two blocks, each having a half-round
inlet along the length. Trim the sides of one of the piece to fit into the slot you’ve routed
in the stock. Glue the wooden insert to which the rifles action will bolt into place. Some
pictures later on will show the insert in a bit more detail. I use piece of pipe wrapped in
plastic to clamp it down with. The plastic is just to ensure you don accidentally glue the
pipe to the stock.
21) Route the trigger slot. Notice the wooden insert made from Rose Wood as mentioned
in previous step.
22) Drill the hole for the pressure gauge and complete the rest if the inletting. Make sure
its in the right place!
23) Test fit the rifle and make adjustments to the inletting. Probably the topic for whole
mini article on its own
24) Tip: Oops! Forgot to mention this earlier but it’s a good idea to protect the sharp edge
at the rear of the cheek piece (depending on your design) from damage by wrapping a
few layers of tape over it.
25) You probably wonder what on earth is he going here This bit of wood will be used
to create the insert at the bottom of the stock where the pressure protrudes. I just cut a
circle with a standard hole saw.
26) The hole cannot cut deep enough to go thru the wood and I use a band saw to free the
piece of the larger block.
27) The hole saw I had was a little too large so I used this technique to make the part
smaller. At first I thought its not going to work but I got it to a tolerance of 0.05mm out
of round which is more than good enough.
28) Glue the into position with epoxy. Unfortunately I did not take a picture but after the
glue dried I drilled out the center of the Blackwood inlay with a Forstner bit to leave just
about 3mm on the sides.
29) Cut the bottom section of the fore-end out on the band saw
30) Here the drilled out insert can be seen at the bottom of the fore-end.
31) Nothing constructive really happening in this step but I could not resist to sand a
small portion of the tip and add a bit of oil just to take a peek at what the outcome is
going to be .
32) Mark the profile of the fore-end. I used a piece of scrap wood band sawed to the
desired profile to transfer it to the stock.
33) Use a band saw to cut the side profile on the fore-end
34) Shape the fore-end. I used an angle grinder with a flap-disk pad and orbital sander to
35) Here you can see some basic shaping happening on the rear-end.
36) Time to fit the adjustable cheek piece before I can continue to shape the rear. In this
step I drill the hole in which the adjuster will fit. Obvious Tip: Great care must be taken
here as an error could result in throwing away many hours of work and start over.
37) Drill the adjuster hole in the bottom section
37) Measure and drill the hole for the adjuster bolt
38) Shown here is how it fits together. Unfortunately I think I did not take a picture of
exactly what goes where but if you look at the shiny bit in the second photo you’ll figure
it out otherwise just drop me a email. The basic idea is that there is a little piston that
goes into the shiny bit. The bolt in the picture above screws into the “piston” and this is
what secures the whole thing. Tip: Good idea to sand the top section now as this is much
more difficult to do when the adjuster is glued in.
39) Cut the back plate. I did not really cut it with a hand hack saw and just took this
picture for fun to pull Dave’s leg a bit. I used an angle grinder to cut out the rough shape.
40) Shape the back with an angle grinder.
41) After a bit hand sanding and drilling the holes this is what you should end up with.
Quite a bit of hand sanding in fact
42) Ah! This picture should give you a much better idea of how the check piece adjuster
works. The “piston” I referred to in an earlier step is the little black thing inside the
adjuster hole. The adjuster is glued into the top of the cheek piece.
43) Draw a center line where the butt plate will go.
44) Use a drill bit to mark the holes for the adjuster and drill the 2 holes
45) Screw butt plate to stock.
46) I use a drum sander in my drill press to sand the bottom of the rear end of the stock.
47) Cut the area where the grip cap will be glued to on the band saw.
48) Glue the grip cap with waterproof wood glue or epoxy
49) This pic shows the grip cap glued into place ready for shaping
50) Cut the excess off the grip cap with the band saw
51) This picture shows my 110mm angle grinder which is the primary tool I use for
shaping the stock. The blue flap-disk I referred to earlier can clearly be seen.
51) The REALLY fun part. Shaping of the rear end of the stock. The pictures shows
some progress and tools. Spot my lovely Dalmatian. Sorry Lilo, no pun intended
52) Basic shaping around the grip in progress
53) More shaping on the other side of the stock in progress.
54) This pic shows how the area where the thumb-over recess will be cut is marked.
55) More shaping in progress.
56) Better pic of Lilo, my workshop companion You can also see the profile on the rear
end of the stock taking shape.
57) Pic showing basic shaping completed
58) The following pics shows the stock is various stages of the sanding in progress. Most
is done by hand and some of the flatter areas can be done with an orbital sander. Not
really sure what to say about these sanding steps but I know the more effort you put in
here the better the final outcome is.
59) Ah! Finally a sanding pic that’s worth saying something about. This picture shows
wet sanding in progress. This is done with very fine sandpaper after each of the first few
layers of oil in order to seal the end grain.
60) This pic shows the stock after about the second or third layer of oil.
61) The following pictures shows the stock in various stages during the oiling process
62) This is a picture of the trigger guard replacement I made and the bolt that holds the
rifle to the stock
63) Final product from below
64) And the rear. Dave did fit his own adjustable pad to the aluninium plate afterwards.
65) Finally done, boxed and ready to be shipped.
I really hope you find this info useful. If you read this far changes are pretty good you
have the patience it takes to build your own rifle stock. Now get your bum away from the
PC and into the workshop Please feel free to email me if you have any questions on
the above. I only know a little bit but I’m more than willing to share.
You are more than welcome to use and distribute this document for non-commercial
purposes, as long as you keep it in its original and complete form. Although this
document is distributed for free, I retain all legal rights to the content.
Please keep in mind that incorrect use of power tools could be lethal. Always use safe
workshop practice and read the instruction manuals that came with your tools. Always
wear eye, ear and respiratory protection when working power tools and wood.