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Advice for project in soft maple

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  • Advice for project in soft maple

    Good afternoon all,

    I've been preparing for a restoration project on my Dad's old side-by-side shotgun. It's an old, inexpensive gun and the stock was in pretty rough condition. I'm planning to do a combination of relief carving for the main butt stock scene components, and pyrography for the rest of the background. After removing the very dark finish, I discovered that the stock is soft maple, but it has quite a lot of hard grain. I sketched out the design for the butt stock, grip and under side of the forearm. The grip and forearm have two parallel lines I want to burn as a border. Inside those lines is carved basket weave. Here's photos of the design...

    I recently upgraded from the hobby kit burning pens I had to a Burnmaster Eagle variable temp unit. It's very different from what I was used to. I've been practicing on a bunch of poplar scraps I had kicking around. I find that it's difficult to keep the lines consitently spaced, especially when I encounter hard grain which causes the tip to veer, or softer grain which causes the tip to sink. I've tried various tips, and tried using a straight edge, but because there are fairly tight curves in both patterns, I'm having a tough time - even in this softer wood. Can't imagine what the soft maple will be like. I purchased some soft maple this morning that has similar grain and plan to begin practicing with that tomorrow. Thought it would be good to put this request out there before I get started. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    HW (aka Rick)

  • #2
    Maple is a good wood to burn on and practice practice, practice before you work on your final piece. You can begin with a very light burn to get a "feel" of the wood and then repeat to make it darker. All kinds of tricks but all you need are some head magnifiers and a steady hand. Harbor Freight has some cheap magnifiers that work fine. Again, practice is the key. Your burn pattern seems simple enough but again, practice the pattern on similar wood before starting on your final piece. Use Saral graphite or similar transfer not use typing type paper...difficult to erase.

    Good luck and your pattern is "doable" just take your time.
    Living among knives and fire.