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.30 Carbine 02-05-2011 07:45 PM

Installing an Ebony Forend Tip - Starting to Crack
I purchased a block of ebony from Brownells to make an ebony tip for a rifle. I cut the ends off with a chop saw and started shaping the wood. Prior to installing it onto the stock, I noticed cracks on the ends. There were about 6 on one side an another on the front side. What should I do? Fill the cracks? Will they get worse? Complain to Brownells? Kind of stinks since the wood is such a pain to work with in the first place.

nmckenzie 02-05-2011 09:00 PM

First, do nothing...literally. Ebony is a very fickle wood. Let the block acclimate to its new environment...temp and humidity and such...before exposing any further surface area. Some months down the line do some preliminary shaping, then wait till the wood's
newly exposed surfaces get used to things again, if no major cracks have appeared shape further, then wait again, etc, etc. Buddy of mine once observed there are two types of ebony; one has cracks, the other will have cracks.

Frederick 02-05-2011 10:24 PM

Woodcraft has some stuff called ANCHORSEAL . It is supposed to stop end grain checking.

.30 Carbine 02-06-2011 07:37 AM

Thanks Nmckenzi and Frederick! Knowing this helps out. As usual, patience is a virtue. Since it is glued to the forend, I will now wait awhile before shaping more and hopefully the cracks that are there will be removed and others might not show up. I will look up Anchorseal. Any thoughts on what finish to put on the ebony? I stripped the walnut and plan to just put Birchwood Casey's gun oil or just plain BLO on the walnut. Should the ebony get the same? Hard to imagine much will get absorbed into the ebony. Thanks again!

Frederick 02-06-2011 07:48 AM

I would finish it the same as the rest of the wood. It will absorb oil, just takes a little longer.

nmckenzie 02-06-2011 09:11 AM

Ditto on Frederick's advice.

raymeketa 02-06-2011 11:54 AM

Ebony needs to be sealed. Get a copy of Dunlap's book GUNSMITHING. He has a good description of how to handle ebony.

What I have done in the past is switch from ebony to African Blackwood. Many of the bigger woodworking supply houses sell it and if you can go thru their scap box you can usually find pieces with grain and figure that will equal or exceed the best ebony.


.30 Carbine 02-06-2011 08:09 PM

I stopped in at Woodcraft today to pick up the Anchor Seal. The gentleman there examined the ebony piece and said they were stress fractures and to let the wood rest/acclimate for a few weeks. They did have the African Blackwood on the shelves. Might get that the next go around, if this one cracks too much.

I finished up the grip cap, it was from another piece of ebony I had. It turned outu pretty good. I will wait a bit before tackling the forend tip.

Raymeketa - thanks for the advise, I ordered Dunlap's book on Gunsmithing today.

.30 Carbine 02-20-2011 06:54 PM

The ebony tip, ebony grip cap and the stock are now finished thanks for the guidance! I put some other pictures on the thread I started about Birchwood Casey Sealer & Filler. Dunlap's book on Gunsmithing really helped out and explained some of the issues with ebony. I followed the MidwayUSA video on making, installing, shaping an ebony forend tip. Thanks Larry Potterfield! I used a chop saw, disc sander, palm sander and fine sandpaper for the outside; for the inletting channel, I used a bastard file, big grinder with a round bit and the fine tuned it with the bastard file again and the Dremel sanding drum. I used Midway's gold enletting paint to identify the high points in the wood. After letting the wood acclimate, I sealed up the ebony with about 4 coats of the sealer and put on about 7 coats of Tru Oil. Time will tell if it cracks worse. Again, thanks to everyone who provided input!

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