My Custom Marlin model 60 “Leaf Rifle” is done and I didn’t need that rake.
A few weeks ago I let you know about a custom gunstock carving project on one of my own rifles. A very accurate little Marlin rifle that sported a stock with all the beauty of a chunk of 2×4. I chose to completely cover the stock with Oak leaves and Acorns. There are several steps in carving an individual leaf. Since I was doing so many leaves, I found it easier to do one section of leaves at a time. What really does take the most time is the detail shaping of each leaf and making them flow with the adjacent leaves. I had to make sure the leaf pattern flowed but that individual leaves still stood out.
I achieved this with varying the texture of different leaves. Some were smooth, some were cupped with the edges up, some were of textured quite rough, and I added a texture of very fine vanes to some leaves. I kept up this plan of leaf variations when it came to the staining of the leaves also. I broke up the flow of the oak leaves here and there with acorns. And for something as little different, I inlaid two simulated ivory acorns in the buttstock.
In the earlier article about this carving, I said I would count the leaves on the finished rifle. After counting them five times and getting the same number three of those five times, I can say with some level of certainty that there are one hundred and thirteen leaves and twenty four acorns on my rifle. Yes, my eyes crossed several time during this process !
When I completed all the carving and texturing I went over it with my hands to feel for any sharp points. When I found any, I went over them lightly with a course Scotch Brite pad. Since this was a Light colored wood and I would have to stain the carvings, I gave it a coat of MinWax pre-stain to prevent blotchiness in the stain. I let the pre-stain dry about thirty minutes and then gave it a liberal coat of MinWax walnut stain. I wiped off the excess stain and let is sit in the sun for a couple hours. For those of you who don’t live in the desert where it is 110 degrees in the shade, you may want to let you stain dry overnight.
I wanted to continue with leaf contrast so I used oil paints. I used some “burnt umber” colored paint and a small amount of thinner to make my own darker walnut stain. The leaves with the fine vane texture I stained very dark, as well as the caps of all the acorns. I mixed the oil paint a little thinner to get a lighter shade and just painted a leaf here and there where it looked right. The painting/staining of the leaves from that point on was all by what I felt looked good. I let the stock dry in the desert sun again for several hours. This would be the equivalent of three to four days of drying in the house.
The final coat was a MinWax Tung oil finish. I applied this finish with a small foam brush and wiped up the excess with cotton paint rags made from t-shirt material. Then it was time to let that desert sun do it’s thing again. My little rifle is now ready for years of dependable service in the field. But now I have another worry…..if I set it down or lean it against a tree while I’m hunting, will I ever find it again ?
Thanks for stoppin by…..