for holding the stock being checked, so that it may be turned about as you work. Descriptions of the checking process usually omit all mention of this cradle, without which it is absolutely impossible to do any kind of a job. If I had to choose between doing without checking tools and doing without the cradle, I would choose the cradle, and try to do my checking with a saw file! Details of the checking cradle arc illustrated and two different types are shown in the following photographs. One is made of a piece of hickory^ 2 by 4 inches in size with iron brackets sliding in a groove on top, and

Tig. 92

held in position by a cap screw and wing nut. The other is made of 2 by 3 inch T-bar, and is unnecessarily heavy and clumsy.

The cradle is first set in a convenient position in the vise, and the stock set in the cradle as shown, using a round piece of wood laid in the barrel channel and held by a single wood screw, as a bearing point. The two set screws should be tightened up enough so the stock will not turn under pressure of the tool, but may be readily turned by hand.

PRACTICE CHECKING. Before starting on a brand new job of checking, it is best ro have some practice re-tracing an old job. This requires the use of the V-tool only, and while this is usually the second tool used on a job, it is by far the most difficult to handle, so it should be mastered first.

The best practice I know of for the beginner is a double barrel shotgun forend, and since most forends have the checking pretty well worn down, it isn't difficult to find one. Moreover, the practice work I am going to describe will not damage the forend, even if this is your first attempt. So don't hesitate to try it on the forend from your own gun if unable to borrow one from a friend.

Cut a piece of 1 by 2 inch pipe long enough to fit between centers in the cradle. Set the screws up on each end of it, and fasten the forend, bottom up, to the middle of this piece, by a wrapping of tire tape about each end. Now take the V-tool and start in at one of the rear points in the checking design, holding the tool as shown in Figure 93. Note that right forefinger is extended alongside the

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