just curious and would like to see some pics.. im gonna give it a go with a black walnut board i have for my mak 90
looks great.. how difficult was the handguards
I have made a few hgs, buttstocks, and pistol grips. I can say it is very labor intense. Even if you have experience and some good woodworking tools. That said, it is fun and rewarding. I mostly make laminate stock furniture and scored some decent artic birch. It is very similar in grain pattern to Soviet wood. It also lets me keep my original sets from getting messed up.
On a different note, here is a S-12 set I made out of artic birch. Not the best picture. I used it as pictured in some clay matches and the fudds didn't know what to think of it. Most wanted to shoot it. I have also done some bird hunting with it. I like how it turned out but the shotgun is currently getting a makeover in looks and function.
I bought a gunstock carver on ebay a while back, its a ton of fun, you can bondo things up to make custom stocks or glue broken ones back to use as patterns. I even have copied antique hand carved chair legs in it. If your really serious, its worth the money and you can find many other uses for it, I even carved a prop with it but I had to do half at a time.
I used a router, belt sander, orbital sander and wood files. The biggest thing I found about making handguards is don't put too much time into them until the shape of the handguard is made. First couple times I finished the outside of the handguards and then cut the inside out only to crack or break them.
Indeed, like 22many posted, try to get as much inside work done first as you can. Worry about the outside shape last. Check fit often. It is better to end up with a big chunk that fits well.
It is very helpful to have the piece your trying to copy in front of you to measure or at the least very good pictures and something of similar fit. It is very easy to ruin a piece. Take your time, it's not a race. When I get stuck or frustrated I call it a day and come back with a fresh mind.
Your first set might be a total failure. You can turn out some pretty good looking wood without having access to Norm Abram's workshop. It's a learning process. Just keep at it.
I've done a few over the years, but mostly just my grips.
I'll second what the other say, HG's are probably the most complicated AK stock part, grips and butts are much easier in general.
Here are a few I've done over the years.
Here is an RPKS74 butt I made from Baltic birch.
A custom RPD PKM style butt.
Chinese style RPK butt in Baltic birch.
Extended length AKM butt next to Russian AKM butt.
PKM style butts for milled receiver.
RPK butt for milled receiver.
I made a set back in 2000 for a siaga conversion. upper was tough so was buttplate area. I was being graded on my work in custom alterations class at pgs. I can post pics its in a box still have it.