Providing Fine Walnut Blanks to the Gunmaking Trade
Jim Bisio, owner of Heritage Walnut, was drawn to firearms from an early age. Growing up in southwest Colorado in a hunting family, rifles were particularly useful tools. His interest grew to fine shotguns and rifles as he began to study form and style in stock design. An amateur stockmaker for 30 years, he has been building stocks full time since 1996. Building on his experience, Jim began buying and sawing walnut logs and planks to cure and prepare for sale to the gunmaking trade. Today Heritage Walnut has an extensive inventory of both rifle and two piece blanks in all grades fully cured and ready to work.
In 2009, Jim applied for full, regular membership to the American Custom Gunmaker Guild (ACGG) as a stockmaker. Meanwhile, he continues to supply both stock blanks and machine semi-inlet stocks to the trade.
4545 Shoup Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80908
January 2010, Jim made application to become a full member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild, (ACGG). He was accepted as a stockmaker based on the merits of the two firearms pictured. The first is a Pre '64 Mod 70 in 7 X 57, and the second, a Winchester Model 21 Skeet shotgun. Jim and Jo are shown at the ACGG convention in the Nugget Hotel, Reno, NV, January 2010.
Winchester Pre-64 Model 70 7 X 57
Winchester Model 21 Skeet Shotgun
Although there is very little in the way of industry guidelines for grading of walnut stock blanks, suffice it to say that, the top two or three levels will give very satisfactory results for almost all projects. The absolute best blanks should always go to the top projects. A blank of moderate color and figure can, if properly worked, result in a beautiful gunstock. It must, or course, be properly air dried, cured for an additional period after drying, have adequate texture for the application, posses proper layout, and be correctly handled. As a rule, it is better to spend the extra money to go up one grade on your project rather than save $100 and be disappointed. To simplify, we grade, standard, XX, XXX, and XXXX. Most available blanks fall in the middle two grades and make into magnificent gunstocks. Personal perfererence as to color, figure, and species, is at least as important as grade in blank selection.
Photos of my favorite projects.
Winchester 21 - 20 Gauge, Custom Built Winchester - Angelo Bee Engraved
.308 Winchester stocked for Witt Hardwoods, Porterville, CA
Pre-64 Winchester 375 H&H owned by Dr. Bruce Cannon, Texarkana, TX
Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 Featherweight 270 Winchester
Dad's FWT Model 70