I've seen everything from the Flame birch pictured in my thread "Why I hate synthetic stocks" to more sedate tones shown in the pic in the previous post of the stock sitting in a checkering cradle. Both those stocks started off as the dark, grimy looking spar varnished factory finished wood. You just never know what you will see when you peel that grunge off. Only birch with sap wood intermingled & sharply defined in the hard wood will have the flamed look. Most times the darker areas are more subtly distributed. "Flaming" with a torch does not create the flame look, but can enhance it, make it darker, & better define it. Any pure hard wood area is nearly white, so any color you see is from the finish or stain. Birch takes stain much differently than walnut & you must use a spirit based (not petroleum) stain or a leather dye. Apply it thinned down in multiple coats until your desired tone is obtained. The one in the cradle is "Honey Maple". Just my opinion, but I can't see why anyone would hesitate to refinish these old birch stocks & improve both the cosmetic appearance & the rifle's market value. I ask those who say leave that grimy, old spar varnish alone, if they wouldn't really prefer the stocks I have referenced. I better shut up before I give away all my secrets!!