Gun Stock Carving Tools

The gun stock is most commonly made from wood.

Carving a gun stock is one of the most common ways to customize the appearance of a shotgun or rifle. Popular options include scenic wildlife depictions, monogrammed initials and personalized designs. Gun stock carving requires the same tools as many woodcarving projects.


The most common tool is a power engraver. They pulse at a specific speed to produce different cuts in the wood. Different speeds and bits produce different cuts. Certain engravers, such as an engraving pen, burn a design into the wood. Engravers are typically used to remove material to create relief carvings on the gun stock. Power engravers come with different-size motors to allow for different speeds; larger motors can produce a wider range and higher speeds. Engravers range in size from the diameter of a pencil to the diameter of a candlestick. Some come with an optional water or air mist to make carving easier.

Checkering Tools

Checkering tools create the small crosshatch pattern commonly seen on gun stocks and pistol grips. A standard checkering tool kit includes a course layout cutter, fine layout cutter, double cutter, left spacing cutter, right spacing cutter and short curve cutter. The course layout cutter lays out the original pattern and deepens lines after they are cut. The fine layout cutter refines the pattern or lays out the pattern for smaller areas. The double-edged cutter evens up the diamond pattern. The left and right spacing cutters cut new rows. They have two blades; the smooth outer blade is used as guide. The short curve cutter is used primarily for small areas and tight curves. Checkering tools are available with multiple line-spacing options.

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Chisels, Gouges and Knives

Like other woodcarving projects, gun stock carving also uses chisels, gouges and knives to create specific, detailed cuts. Most chisel and gouge tools come in two styles: straight or palm handles. The palm-handled tools are ideal for use with mallets or hand pressure, while straight-handled tools are harder to hit with a mallet because of their thinner handle. Standard chisel and gouge sets include a fishtail gouge, bent V-tool, bent chisel, shallow gouge, skew chisel and straight chisel. Tools come in a range of sizes. General carving knives are used primarily for detail work and have a 1-1/2-inch or 1-7/8-inch blade.