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Did Winchester ever use sycamore for rifle stocks?
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August 6, 2022 - 5:48 pm
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I have never seen any example.  In fact, I’ve never heard of sycamore used for rifle stocks on a Winchester or any other rifle.  Anyone here heard of sycamore used on a rifle stock?   Here is a vintage Colt Lightning rifle with a factory letter specifying sycamore stocks:

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/86/3130/engraved-colt-medium-frame-lightning-rifle-with-sycamore-stock

The description mentions how unusual this is given it sounds like sycamore is a fairly soft, low-grade wood.  They suggest it as a poor choice as it didn’t hold checkering well.  From the photos, that appears a very true statement.  It’s also not an attractive wood – very plain.  So, to be paired with a lavishly engraved and gold trimmed rifle, it is a fascinating choice.  Like other rifles, to know specifically what the original owner was thinking is very intriguing.  

I’m thinking Mark Douglas is not going to have any money for himself at the August Rock Island auction as his wife is going to need it all to make off with this rifle.  This is quite the piece for an advanced Colt Lightning collector Smile

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August 6, 2022 - 8:14 pm
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That’s a fantastic Medium Frame. Never heard of sycamore being used for stocks, but this is certainly a great configuration, and has an awesome look to it. 

                                                                               ~Gary~

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August 6, 2022 - 10:51 pm
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pdog72 said
That’s a fantastic Medium Frame. Never heard of sycamore being used for stocks, but this is certainly a great configuration, and has an awesome look to it. 

  

Gary – 

I very much agree.  But I can’t help but imagine how fine it would look with a highly figured piece of walnut – with figure to match the extravagance of the engraving.  The sycamore wood is a rarity/oddity – and the buyer will likely have the only one made with that wood – but the wood is not attractive and is clearly on the soft side to be checkered.  

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August 7, 2022 - 1:11 am
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My limited experience with sycamore is cutting it off the banks of a small river or out of said river.  It doesn’t float, goes right to the bottom and stays there.  I assume (with all  the dangers attached to that statement), that it holds a lot of water in its cells.  It also doesn’t seem to rot away ever.  Suspect it would take forever to dry it sufficiently to retain its cut dimensions, and then may be subject to warping, etc.  I believe I have been told it was used by furniture makers in interiors of furniture where it won’t show as it is strong, rather fine grained, but plain as a dirt road.  What a waste of a perfectly good rifle to put such on as a stock.  But SOME ONE surely must have desired it at one time.  My thoughts.  Tim

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August 7, 2022 - 3:23 am
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steve004 said 

I’m thinking Mark Douglas is not going to have any money for himself at the August Rock Island auction as his wife is going to need it all to make off with this rifle.  This is quite the piece for an advanced Colt Lightning collector Smile

I’d love for Erin to be able to add this Lightning to her collection.  There are very few engraved Lightnings in the existing factory records.  IIRC, the number is 26.  Most of those only have the grape leaf motive, which I don’t find all that attractive.  This is one of only 2-3 panel scene engraved Lightnings I’ve seen.  Alas, there isn’t enough time to sell the number of 1895’s it would take to buy this for her upcoming birthday.  Confused
  

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August 8, 2022 - 3:11 am
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Mark Douglas said

steve004 said 

I’m thinking Mark Douglas is not going to have any money for himself at the August Rock Island auction as his wife is going to need it all to make off with this rifle.  This is quite the piece for an advanced Colt Lightning collector Smile

I’d love for Erin to be able to add this Lightning to her collection.  There are very few engraved Lightnings in the existing factory records.  IIRC, the number is 26.  Most of those only have the grape leaf motive, which I don’t find all that attractive.  This is one of only 2-3 panel scene engraved Lightnings I’ve seen.  Alas, there isn’t enough time to sell the number of 1895’s it would take to buy this for her upcoming birthday.  Confused

  

  

I suppose if you had another 1895 as nice as the one you sold me I could help out a little but I’d be tapped out long before we got anywhere close to the estimated price of this Colt. I’m thinking there was likely something special about the history of the tree used to stock this Colt. Quite honestly I had no idea you were an 1895 fan until last month, Mark. I’m not really an 1895 fan but they’ve only built about 6.5 million 1894’s to date and at some point I’ll need to broaden my horizons. 😉

All kidding aside, what are Erin’s thoughts on this Colt?

 

Mike

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August 8, 2022 - 3:46 am
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TXGunNut said I’m thinking there was likely something special about the history of the tree used to stock this Colt.
  

That’s what I had been thinking–that the customer had himself supplied wood taken from the “old homestead,” or some such very special personal connection.  Seems to me rather doubtful that the factory’s regular wood wholesaler would have stocked a wood having so little commercial value. 

Aside from their dubious value for gunstocks, I love sycamores & once lived in a house I called “The Sycamores,” because some previous owner had planted them in the front yard for shade trees.

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August 8, 2022 - 11:28 am
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There’s a reason why most Firearms are stocked with walnut.  It’s by far the best choice.  Checkering is crisp, it’s durable, rarely warps, aesthetically pleasing, etc.

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August 8, 2022 - 5:18 pm
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mrcvs said
There’s a reason why most Firearms are stocked with walnut.  It’s by far the best choice.  Checkering is crisp, it’s durable, rarely warps, aesthetically pleasing, etc.

  

Exception to that was the heyday of Kentucky/Pennsylvania rifles, when hard maple was the general preference–plain grain for utility guns & fancy grain for the highly decorated ones.  Considering how slender the full-length stocks were shaped, this wood had to be exceptionally strong & stable.  US musket stocks built during the same period were generally walnut, maybe because it was lighter than maple.

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October 19, 2022 - 8:59 am
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That would probably be sycamore maple, it produces a hard-wearing, white or cream close-grained timber that turns golden with age. The wood can be worked and sawn in any direction and is used for making musical instruments, gun-stocks, furniture, joinery and flooring. Occasionally, trees produce wood with a wavy grain, greatly increasing the value for decorative work. The wood is often marketed as rippled sycamore.

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