Carving on a gun stock

Hello! I had a customer ask about carving a badge onto a firearm stock.

Here is a picture of what wood they are asking me to carve on.

I’m having a hard time grasping the concept. From zeroing to finishing, I’m not super sure how best to proceed. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!

How good are your modelling skills? I ask because if you can accurately model the end of the stock then you can use “project onto 3d model” and get a carving that has the right depth even on a curved surface.

Other than that any sizable carving will end up deeper in the center and then taper off as it gets farther from the center.


That’s exactly where my head went. It’s as easy as precisely matching the stock’s exact shape, curves, and finding a way to capture and repeat a zero plane in both the stock and reality. It’s doable but a real challenge.

I think if i HAD to do it, I’d create a zero plane by making a jig that utilizes the butt stock screws to hold it steady and call that the zero plane. I’d then select the area where the engraving is going, + probably an inch in all axes, and use the LM to probe a grid .25 sq. Record the XYZ at each point and use the data to generate a 3d mesh. Mark one of those points as a discreet place to zero.

Model on that. You could probably even make a test panel on a piece of pine from that model to make sure it’s going to come out right.

It’s a lot of work. Could be fun. Could be profitable if you get good at it.

Jake, I am with Jim where he says “if I HAD to do it”. When doing work for money it is always better to know what jobs to walk away from. That said the request seems doable if as Michael says if your modelling skill is up to it. By setting a zero plane at the high point of the carved surface and creating a grid as jim says you will be able to measure the depth at each point transposing these into a 3d model where you would be able to distort the carving to fit. You do however need true 3d modeling.
Not sure what software you have but with vcarve you could place the carving design into a dish which would have the effect of flattening the area to be carved and may give acceptable results. Either way some prototype carvings would seem to be in order.

@CncJim @_Michael @Mickus THANK YOU for responding to me on this. I believe I would be better off turning down this project. The firearm is 800.00 alone, and if I messed up the stock, I would be on the hook for at least new wood, if not the entire gun. Thanks again !

No worries. You know, it might be worth dabbling with some cheap pine and some gun stock profiles and prove the concept. Could be a nice niche to break into… I mean, you have to have nerves of steel but why not? I wouldn’t use someone else’s $800 gun as a first go at it but it’s a cool idea.

This reminded me of something but it took awhile for me to remember the name. I am curious if anyone has tried Estlcam. This video is from the front page and shows Estlcam automatically doing what you describe. I am pretty sure that Estlcam writes/modifies your firmware which is why I have never tried it.

Very interesting Michael. Would definitely do what jake wants.

Forgot to mention Estlcam is only 60 bucks.

Hmmm. Might be interesting to think about. My idea was more analog. Writing XYZ and maybe generating a mesh in Fusion or something. If you had a second, smaller machine… a chinesium mill that didn’t even need a spindle, just a functional board and steppers with a Z probe and a large enough deck to mount the piece you need to pattern… you could probably do this with Estlcam pretty inexpensively.

If I follow what your saying, this is like the “auto level” feature in cncjs and bcnc programs ( both free,) and I think some other programs have it too. It is mostly used for making/carving on pcb copper sheets to make electronic circuit boards. (Where z depths have to be exact to the .001 and the copper boards can be warped) The programs automatically z probe a detailed grid on the stock material, then automatically adjusts the z in your gcode of your project . Similiar to auto bedleveling in 3d printing.

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Welcome to the community @Troles, I hope you like it here.

I was unaware that cncjs had the “auto level” feature. I find that interesting because gSender is based on cncjs. I wonder if they forked gSender from cncjs before the feature was added or if they removed it for some reason?

I found another program that has this feature called OpenCNCPilot so that’s another free option if anyone is looking to experiment with auto leveling.

Carving a badge onto a firearm stock can be a unique and challenging task. Considering the picture you shared, it seems like a beautiful piece of wood to work with. Here are a few suggestions to help you proceed:

Plan and Design: Start by creating a clear design of the badge you want to carve. Ensure that it aligns well with the dimensions and shape of the stock.

Material and Tools: Choose the right carving tools suitable for woodwork. It’s essential to have sharp and precise tools for intricate detailing. Select wood-friendly materials, such as chisels, gouges, and carving knives.

Preparation: Before you start carving, it’s crucial to prepare the surface of the stock. Remove any existing finish, sand the wood smoothly, and ensure it is free from any imperfections.

Transfer the Design: Transfer the badge design onto the stock using a transfer paper or pencil tracing. This will help guide your carving process.

Start Carving: Begin by carving the outlines of the badge, gradually working your way towards the finer details. Take your time and work with small, controlled cuts to prevent any accidental mistakes.

Depth and Proportions: Pay close attention to the depth and proportions of the carving. Aim for consistent depth throughout the design to create an aesthetically pleasing and balanced result.

Finishing Touches: Once the carving is complete, sand the entire stock gently to smooth out any rough edges or tool marks. Apply a suitable wood finish of your choice to protect the wood and enhance its natural beauty.

Remember, practice and patience are key when it comes to carving. Don’t hesitate to experiment on a spare piece of wood before working on the actual stock. Good luck, and I hope your customer will be thrilled with the final result!

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Those are great tips for hand carving on a wood stock! Unfortunately, they don’t translate into the CNC world well.

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