first line, as required—both edges of this tool are the same. Set the cutting edge close to the last line, with light pressure in the wood, move it sideways—"click"—the edge snaps into the line, ready to guide the next cut. Use a steady filing motion, always advancing a little with each stroke, and using constant care that the guiding edge never rides up the side of the cut.
At first you will find your lines spreading out fan-shaped, or running together. You will swear that the tool is no good, and the system worse. Only by practice can you acquire the steady, even stroke that pushes each line forward parallel with the preceding one. Another fault will be in permitting the lines to curve slightly toward right or left. They must be absolutely straight, regardless of the shape of the surface over which they are cut. Because there are almost no flat places on a stock, it is best to learn to work over rounded surfaces right from the start—then a flat surface will be mere child's play for you. Learn to cut the lines as straight as a die from one side to the other, no matter how rounded the surface, and you have mastered the essentials of checking.
Having successfully covered the surface with parallel lines running straight in one direction, next cut the cross lines, starting with the other guide line already cut. Cut rvrry line itt full length without el etilc t00^ **thcy run °Ut 0n you and spoil the picce' file and sand the surface smooth, rub in sume linseed oil and lay it aside while you try another piece.
First practice should always be with a fairly coarse spacer—cut-ring 16 to 18 lines per inch—and should always be on hard, dense wood. Soft open grained wood is very hard to check, and some of it will not check ar all without "fuzzing" up the diamonds. The walnut used in the D. C. M. Sporter stocks is among the worst in this particular, for which reason I always duck a checking job on one of these whenever I can. Later, after you have mastered the technique of the spacer, you can use narrower cutters, spacing the lines 20, 22, or 24 to the inch—this on hard close grained wood only. Stick to the 16 to 18 line cutters for softer wood.
Having successfully spaced off the surface both ways—without any attempt ar outlining a design—take the V-tool for a change and go over the lines to- deepen them. This will be easy after your preliminary practice on old srocks. Don't try to finish the diamonds up to points—just go over them once or twice with the V-tool to keep your hand in. Then start in with the spacer again on another practice-piece. Use up the harder pieces first, then try your hand with the softer ones. Be sure to keep the brush handy and brush out each line vigorously—and always use a little oil on the brush. After you have successfully spaced off six or seven practice pieces, you may go back to the V-tool and bring up the diamonds to sharp points. Now—and not sooner—you are ready'to try checking your first stock.
176 ties to the utmost; and while you may have had plenty of this sort of practice on the scrap pieces, remember this is a stock you're about ro work or, and you can't afford to spoil it. Keeping perfectly straight even spacing from one side of a deep rounded forend to the other is not a job to be undertaken facetiously, nor without much prayer and meditation.
Having the design marked out carefully on the forend, which we will tackle first, take the checking file with point slightly bent, and go over this outline very carefully, cutting it very lightly into the wocd. Now decide on the shape diamonds you want. If you decide on "3 to 1," let us say, proceed as follows: Measure off 1 1/2 inches from the end of design and make a mark on center line. Now make a mark on each side of center line at end, and one-half inch away from it. Connect these points with two lines which will cross each other at the correct angle to give diamonds 3 times as long as their width.
Now decide on the width of your spacing, making use of the experience gained on the scrap pieces. Better not undertake to make too small diamonds on this first job. The practice work may have led you to have confidence in yourself, but it is best to take no chances. Good 18 point checking is preferable to poor 24 point diamonds.
CHECKING THE FOREND: Select the line spacer you propose using, and start off exactly as you did on the scraps, first cutting the two guide lines you have ruled off, then going back to the first one and filling the entire outline with parallel lines run-
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