Choosing Wood


A short note about choosing wood when starting a new project.

I work on all types of wood. The most common wood for stock making is walnut. It holds up well and is nice to work on. Usually, the higher the grade of wood, the more marbled it will appear. Most of these nice walnut blanks will run you about $300 to $700 depending on the grade.

Fiddleback-Sometimes with the "fiddleback" pieces, the diamonds will appear elongated  in the stripped areas. 

Maple- PLEASE avoid using maple while choosing a blank. It's okay to use it if you don't plan on checkering it. If you want the works though.....including checkering, please choose another type of wood.  The problem with maple is that it usually leaves a "fuzz". The wood is not smooth and although it will appear smooth before checkering, once it is cut into, the fuzz appears.  Sometimes it will come out just fine, other times, you won't be able to see the diamonds in the checkering at all due to the fuzzy appearance. I've heard it described as looking like a rug, or having ragged appearance. Please see my section on "Got Fuzzy Wood?"

Exotic woods-These are perhaps the hardest and take the checkering the best! The harder the wood, the more defined your checkering will appear. Don't forget to checker your grip cap especially if it is rosewood, ebony or another hardwood! Remember, the hardwoods are also heavy, so sometimes they are not practical for stock making.