Tag Archives: Marlin model 60

Custom Gunstock Carvings in the Arizona State Fair

My Arizona State Fair carvings update

     This year I submitted three custom carvings in the wood carving division of The 2010 Arizona State Fair and was very pleased with the results.   I really tried to stretch out of my comfort zone into areas that were new to me.   Using oil paints and stains to augment the carving is an area I needed to improve upon so I worked hard on this with these entries.

     In the Gunstock carving division, my “Dangerous Game” rifle stock that had carving of “Africa’s Big Five” dangerous game animals took first place.   The African Big Five are the Cape Buffalo, African Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, and Black Rhino.  

   I made is a point to try and give each animal individual traits or scars.  If you look closely, you can see the cape buffalo has  scars across his nose from a lion attack.   The big Bull Elephant is covered with caked on reddish colored mud to protect the skin from the harse African sun.   The Rhino has a very long horn that I copied from a circa 1920’s photograph.   I gave the Lion a mane like the MGM Lion in the movies.   And well, all Leopards have spots and rosettes, so I tried to give my cat a different look – like he is casting one more backwards glace before melting into the bush.  

It is carved on an old Monte Carlo style stock for a 1903A3 Springfield rifle.  The wood is a light colored walnut that was very popular in the 1960’s, as was the Monte Carlo stock style.  






     In another carving division, I entered my “Leaf  Rifle” stock featured in an earlier blog.  This carving earned the Blue ribbon in it’s division.   The stock was completely covered with Oak Leaves and Acorns.   This was a undertaking that had a huge design phase.  The leaves all had to flow down the stock, not just lie in a pile.  Also each leave had to be an individual, not just copies of the same leaf.  There were over 125 Oak Leaves on the rifle stock and 25 or more Acorns added to the carving.  

     The stock was a light colored hardwood so once again staining and painting of the leaves to give them true depth, variation, and contrast was a real concern.   The photos show the completed rifle complete with scope, flashlight, and laser sight.   This is my personal rifle and so far, it has turned out to be a fine small game rifle.


    Finally, I entered a Wooden Wall Hanging made of solid Hard Maple and inlaid with a Simulated Ivory carving.   Once again I was fortunate to take first place in this carving division.   The size of this wall hanging is about one foot by three feet.   It is a carving of a sheer mountain cliffside with a pair of Mountain Goats, carved in the Ivory, walking along a almost nonexistent trail up to a waterfall.   The border was carved to look like rocks and boulders.   

     I did find that hard maple is not the best choice for carving.   Although the wood holds detail well, it dulls the fine carving burrs unbelievably fast.  Since the Mountain Goat is one of my favorite North American game animals, this carving hangs in my own den.



Thanks for stoppin’ by…..

Lance  Larson

Custom Marlin Model 60 “Leaf Rifle”

 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 Marlin model 60 photocompletely 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.

Leaf rifle - carving complete

                 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 Leaf rifle - pre-stained buttstockthirteen 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 Leaf rifle - walnut stain appliedthe 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 Finished leaf rifle cheekpiece - close upovernight.   

                 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 Finished Leaf rifle - stained, painted, and finishedthat 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…..

Lance Larson

Custom carved Marlin Model 60

So many leaves I may need a rake…….

So many leaves I may need a rake…….

Recently I acquired a Marlin model 60 semi-auto .22 rifle.   I got lucky at a NRA Fundraising event and won it in a raffle.  I knew very little about them but once I brought this little rifle out to the range, I realized it was way too accurate not to be a keeper.   Since I will be making this my go-to small game rifle, I had to hand carve the stock.   There have been millions of these rifles sold in the last forty years so I had to custom hand carve mine like no other model 60 around.   After all, it’s what I do.   The photo below is the rifle I am starting with for my “leaf camouflage” rifle.

Marlin model 60 photo

After deciding to do some Oak Leaves on forearm and grip, I started working on the design.  As I was working on the design, an idea came to me and I decided to really go “Over-The-Top”.   I am doing a custom relief carving over the entire stock with leaves.  I thought it might be interesting to show the steps I go through to complete this project over the next few weeks (months?).

Leaf carving - Outline leaf cuts imageThe first step was to draw out an outline of the stock and then draw and trace many, many, many, many, (Did I mention many?) many leaves on the drawing of the stock outline.   This is not something to try and do at one sitting.   Transferring that pattern onto the stock and start cutting the leaf outlines is the next step.   There are several individual carving steps to go through on each leaf to complete a custom relief leaf carving into the gunstock.   Now multiply that by over a hundred leaves and I’m wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.

Leaf carving -Outline leaf cuts around cheekpiece imageThese photos show the first couple of carving steps.   The initial cutting of the leaf outlines and the start of some rough gouge work to get the basic shape of the leaves.  Since they are Oak Leaves, I have added some Acorns here and there in the design.   As you can see the stock is made from a light colored hardwood so I will have to do some staining again when I have this carving completed.  

Leaf carving - rough shaping the leaves imageI will keep you all posted as this project comes along.  There is plenty of work yet to do with rough gouging out all the leaves, and then shaping each individual leaf.  Not to mention the staining of all the individual leaves to get color and hue variation all through the stock.   I also have to put a nice finish on it too.   (What have I gotten myself into? )   I will try to get an accurate count of how may leaves are on this rifle in my next project update, unless my eyes permanently cross while counting them.   

Thanks for stoppin’ by…….

Lance Larson