This classic Pennsylvania rifle is pictured on page 174 of "The Kentucky Rifle" by John G.W. Dillin and is listed as from the author's collection. This rifle has many of the same attributes as those by famed Pennsylvania riflemaker Nicolas Hawk of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, so much so that many would identify it readily as a Hawk rifle if it were not otherwise signed. Many of the details on the Hawk rifle in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection, for example, are very similar to this rifle. Some have questioned whether or not this rifle was actually a Hawk rifle inscribed for Woods. The "AS" inscription on the silver wrist escutcheon suggests the original owner's initials were "AS." Also, like Hawk, "Robert Wood" made parts purchases from the Boulton Gun Works in the early 1830s, and Robert Woods is listed in secondary sources as from Pocono, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, in the early 19th century. Perhaps the two worked together on this stunning rifle. The rifle has a beautiful architecture, engraving, inlays, and design overall. The barrel has a silver blade front sight, notch rear sight, "Robert Woods" signed in a brass inlaid panel on top of the breech section with some engraving accents, an engraved tang, and a very deep "*" marking is on the lower right barrel flat at the breech (hidden by the lock). The lock is marked "J. EDMONDS/WARRANTED" and has some floral and border engraving. It is equipped with a plain trigger. The forend has eight silver wedge escutcheons with wavy line borders and incised line accents. There is a long wear plate between the ramrod entry pipe and trigger guard finial with engraving that nearly matches the Hawk example in the MET noted above. The silver wrist escutcheon has border engraving and the noted "AS" inscription. The ovoid cheekpiece inlay has a star pattern engraved and wavy lines, and a brass pick holder is under the cheekpiece. The patchbox has a pierced floral pattern finial, heart shaped piercings on the side plates, very nice engraving, and a release at the rear. The brass toe plate is also engraved. The crescent buttplate is plain. The ramrod has a horn tip and an iron threaded tail end.
Fine as professionally reconverted to flintlock configuration and relined. The lock and barrel have smooth gray and brown patina and some minor pitting. The brass has attractive aged patina. The wrist and wedge escutcheons have natural aged patina. The cheekpiece inlay has darker patina. The refinished stock is very good and has some discreet repairs on the forend and around the lock mortise, some minor flakes and thin cracks, general mild dents and scratches, and some attractive flame figure. Mechanically fine.