THE TRUTH ABOUT WOOD
FFor thousands of years, human beings have been using wood. We use it for everything from building our homes to making tool handles, from furniture to hairbrushes, and for just about everything else we’ve made. Our species seems to have a long-term love affair with this material, and for good reason. Let’s examine the qualities that make wood such a noble material.
Wood is beautiful.When worked with skill and precision and finished with care and attention, wood can seem to take on an almost glowing appearance. Each species has its own coloring, grain pattern, and characteristics, and no two pieces are the same. This makes for an infinite amount of variation in the looks of wooden objects, even if the outside dimensions precisely match. There is a rich, warm elegance to a table crafted from finely carved, highly polished cherry or maple with which an aluminum and plastic table simply cannot compete. Wood was once a living thing, and when properly worked and cared for it keeps that appearance. Wood also keeps that tactile feel of being “alive” that artificial materials never had to begin with.
When properly cared for and maintained, wood is very durable. There are examples of wood furniture from the Middle Ages still in existence, and other, even older items have been discovered. Depending on the species and how it’s worked, wood can be rigid or flexible, tough, and hard. It has good tensile strength, shear strength, and crush resistance. The key to getting the most from it is knowing what species and methods work best for which applications, and then performing proper care and maintenance. For instance, walnut makes an excellent choice for gunstocks, particularly when the proper grain is selected, and it is worked to the right tolerances. When followed up with proper finishing techniques and regular cleaning, oiling, and polishing you can have a rifle stock that will last for generations.
The challenge.The biggest downside to wood is that it is a natural material. This makes it tricky to work with, since its non-homogeneous density coupled with heat, humidity, and other factors can make it unpredictable to work with. That’s where the experience of the craftsman who made your gunstock comes in.
While wood will have some response to changes in temperature and humidity, proper finishing and maintenance will help minimize these effects. Wood can be sealed to lock out moisture and can even have finishes impregnated within its fibers that will stabilize it. Coupled with regula waxing and polishing, this can make water bead and roll off its surface.
Wood can be shaped into just about any form. This gives it a nearly limitless versatility.
Wood is a renewable, sustainable material. It occurs naturally and doesn’t require harsh methods or chemicals to manufacture. When trees are harvested, more trees can be planted to replace them. Wood will also decompose, given time, and broken wooden items don’t stay in landfills forever. The same can’t be said of fiberglass or other manmade materials
Wood products have a “soul” that plastic tactical stock just can’t get.
THE TRUTH ABOUT WOOD
The truth about wood is this: with the right knowledge, experience, care, and attention, wood can be used to create objects of surpassing beauty.Objects that are warm, inviting, durable, ecologically responsible, and elegant. Especially when combined with old world craftsmanship and modern materials and techniques, wood can be used to make things like our Furiosa rifle stock, which is an exceptional work of art that bridges the gap between style and performance… just as the Sophisticated Outdoorsman demands.
This article is written by Mike Kreitzer. Mike is Editor of MK Outdoor Journal on YouTube, a Voting Member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and Media Member of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.