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November 19, 2017 - 3:17 pm
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Curious to know if anyone has any idea why Winchester chose the worst wood to ever sprout leaves for their economy stocks. (OK– maybe Willow or Cottonwood is the absolute worst) There are several alternatives that make much more sense, even factoring in cost there are a multitude of comparable alternatives.

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November 19, 2017 - 3:39 pm
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From what I’ve read over the years, when they had to use a walnut substitute due to WWI military needs, Winchester chose gumwood because when properly seasoned it could be made to resemble a walnut stock.  I don’t think everyone shares your opinion of gumwood.  Quoted from a craftsman:  “It is, nevertheless, prized because in the hands of skillful finishers the grain figure can be selected and patterns matched so well as to make finishes which are fully as beautiful as Circassian walnut. Then properly finished gum resembles black and other walnut woods closely, so much so that when used in the same panels or piece of furniture with other woods it takes an expert to tell the difference between the two woods.”

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November 19, 2017 - 5:38 pm
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That may be true to wood fresh from the kiln or new material hot off the saw used in architecture panels, however in regards to old stocks it is an entirely different animal after it has been bumped, bruised and oil soaked………….It also has nowhere near the strength of Walnut. I will have to add as far as gun stocks that it is not difficult to differentiate at a glance, Gumwood from Walnut.

Strength and stability are the two most important aspects of a stock and Gumwood is deficient on both counts. On that note If Winchester made their decision based strictly on appearance, or it’s ability to look like Walnut it was not a good decision.

Just my personal experiences trying to work with it.

 

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November 20, 2017 - 4:29 pm
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I have a 1927 SRC in 38-55 with the gumwood stock. No wars in that period, so I often wonder why.   Big Larry

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November 20, 2017 - 4:51 pm
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I believe that this subject is another case of an “urban myth” or “old wife’s tale”. The truth is that there was no shortage of black walnut for stock making in the large majority of the years that Winchester used gumwood. Winchester’s widespread use of gumwood stocks began well before the so called “WW I shortage”. It is my belief that Winchester used gumwood purely for economic reasons, as it was cheaper to acquire, and being softer, it was easier to work with.

The first use of gumwood for stock material began with the Model 1900 .22 rim fire single shot rifle, followed by the Models 1902, 1904, Thumb Trigger, and 1906. Winchester began using it on the Model 1892 and Model 1894 Carbines at least as early as 1907 (my survey of the Model 1894 begins in May 1907, at serial number 354000). From 1908 – 1921, gumwood was the predominant stock material for the Model 94 SRCs. Gumwood continued to be used on the Model 94 Carbines until at least serial number 982459 (July 1925).

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November 20, 2017 - 4:54 pm
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Big Larry said
I have a 1927 SRC in 38-55 with the gumwood stock. No wars in that period, so I often wonder why.   Big Larry  

I have a SRC with the exact same configuration, only mine was made in 1911 – also no wars, yet.  I surmise that the military started stockpiling walnut stocked shoulder arms as trouble started brewing in Europe plus the new Civilian Marksmanship Program added to the demand.  Winchester may have overstocked themselves with gumwood stocks, explaining why your 1927 model has that configuration.  Or maybe they just found that stock at the bottom of the parts bin and used it in 1927.

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November 20, 2017 - 5:26 pm
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I do know it was used extensively in the furniture business circa, 1900-1940. Primarily for a lower end look alike product. Maybe a better term for it would of been “depression wood” (pun intended) In trying to refinish an 04 stock what I encountered was any place the rifle had a bruise and I steamed/sanded the offending place, that area reacted like a bruised banana turning dark again after finish was applied. I removed the finish and  tried bleaching the wood with the same results. Trying to keep my time investment to a minimum I used an initial coat of Ebony stain and lightened it up some by using a sanding in method of applying additional coats of finish containing Ebony stain. This helped blend the dark spots but it certainly was not the final product I was looking for. 

I can’t help but reflect back on the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson. Early in the show he was building a rocking chair that he seemed to be somewhat pleased with. He sat the chair down, placed his behind in it and it promptly collapsed. My thoughts were “Gum Wood”  That’s all I have……………

 

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November 20, 2017 - 11:11 pm
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Bert H. said
I believe that this subject is another case of an “urban myth” or “old wife’s tale”. The truth is that there was no shortage of black walnut for stock making in the large majority of the years that Winchester used gumwood. Winchester’s widespread use of gumwood stocks began well before the so called “WW I shortage”. It is my belief that Winchester used gumwood purely for economic reasons, as it was cheaper to acquire, and being softer, it was easier to work with.
The first use of gumwood for stock material began with the Model 1900 .22 rim fire single shot rifle, followed by the Models 1902, 1904, Thumb Trigger, and 1906. Winchester began using it on the Model 1892 and Model 1894 Carbines at least as early as 1907 (my survey of the Model 1894 begins in May 1907, at serial number 354000). From 1908 – 1921, gumwood was the predominant stock material for the Model 94 SRCs. Gumwood continued to be used on the Model 94 Carbines until at least serial number 982459 (July 1925).
Bert  

My M94 SRC, # 1004027 has the gumwood stock.   Big Larry

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November 20, 2017 - 11:22 pm
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What tree is meant by gumwood?  Sweet gum trees?  I grew up where they were common, but never heard of them having commercial value.

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November 20, 2017 - 11:31 pm
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According to this it is red gum tree that grows in the South and Pacific Coast:  http://www.craftsman-style.info/cabinetry/gumwood.htm

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November 21, 2017 - 12:11 am
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Was wondering, figured it was any of the gum trees. Only gum tree I’m familiar with around here is the sweet gum and from what I’ve seen while cutting them down they can’t be good for much of anything but quick shade.

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November 21, 2017 - 12:22 am
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TXGunNut said
Was wondering, figured it was any of the gum trees. Only gum tree I’m familiar with around here is the sweet gum and from what I’ve seen while cutting them down they can’t be good for much of anything but quick shade.  

And sweet gum ball fights–like the one that resulted in the hardest paddling I ever got in Jr. High when I missed my intended victim, and hit a female bystander in the eye.

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November 21, 2017 - 12:29 am
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Wincacher said
According to this it is red gum tree that grows in the South and Pacific Coast:  http://www.craftsman-style.info/cabinetry/gumwood.htm  

“Quarter sawn gumwood stands unsurpassed among our native woods.”  Have to be rather skeptical of that…even though he’s talking about interior use only  I grew up in the south and never heard of it.

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November 21, 2017 - 1:23 am
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I would have to believe that the quote of “quarter sawn gumwood stands unsurpassed to other native hardwoods” was taken from someone who had little experience with the diversity and quality standards of our premium native hardwoods. No one in “the know” would make such a statement. But……we all are entitled to our own opinions.Wink

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November 21, 2017 - 3:15 am
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Bert H. said
I believe that this subject is another case of an “urban myth” or “old wife’s tale”. The truth is that there was no shortage of black walnut for stock making in the large majority of the years that Winchester used gumwood. Winchester’s widespread use of gumwood stocks began well before the so called “WW I shortage”. It is my belief that Winchester used gumwood purely for economic reasons, as it was cheaper to acquire, and being softer, it was easier to work with.
The first use of gumwood for stock material began with the Model 1900 .22 rim fire single shot rifle, followed by the Models 1902, 1904, Thumb Trigger, and 1906. Winchester began using it on the Model 1892 and Model 1894 Carbines at least as early as 1907 (my survey of the Model 1894 begins in May 1907, at serial number 354000). From 1908 – 1921, gumwood was the predominant stock material for the Model 94 SRCs. Gumwood continued to be used on the Model 94 Carbines until at least serial number 982459 (July 1925).
Bert  

I have a very nice Saddle Ring Carbine, caliber 38-55, serial number 514388 with gumwood stocks.

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December 5, 2017 - 4:36 pm
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here is an old post from a woodworking website that might shed some light on the confusion.  cheers…gary

Sweetgum and Redgum are the same tree but Redgum refers exclusively to its heartwood. The area of heartwood of the Sweetgum is very small in younger trees, often only a few inches in a 20″, 30 year old tree. As the tree gets older, the heartwood expands until it is comparable to that of Cherry or Walnut. Unlike the notoriously twisty sapwood that gets it a bad rap today, the heartwood is very stable.

Redgum was used extensively for millwork in from the 1890s to 1940s as it was abundant in the Mississppi Alluvial Valley which was the predominant source of hardwood in that time period. Sweetgum trees in the virgin Alluvial forest were often 300+ years old and more than 60″ in diameter, thus they contained a lot of heart which is a beautiful cream/red/black interlocked grain.

If you live in a home of this period anywhere in the Midsouth/Midwest, you quite likely have Redgum mouldings.

Lacking heart, second growth Sweetgum is considered trash by lumbermen, and now it is used mainly for pulp, pallets and RR ties. 

Every once and a while I’m able to get my hands on some older Sweetgum logs and I sure wish I could get more.”

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