Staining Quartersawn Sycamore

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Forum topic by lobro4 posted 04-25-2010 01:59 AM 9192 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View lobro4's profile


211 posts in 3816 days

04-25-2010 01:59 AM

My next project is a rocker to be made from quartersawn sycamore. Just wondering how to prepare myself for the staining. Is this a blotch-prone wood? Can you pop the grain on this like you do with tiger maple? Any finishing secrets to share from those who have worked this wood before?

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk Go KU!!

8 replies so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4145 days

#1 posted 04-25-2010 03:36 AM

all you need to do is try some different things with some scraps… I would think most anything can be “popped”. try using a penetrating oil and i would suggest not using stain. I think projects like this should be left natural ;-)

-- Childress Woodworks

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4474 days

#2 posted 04-25-2010 03:19 PM

it will blotch,the white sap wood, will go nuts… as long as its all brown heart wood not too bad.. and yes it will pop.. use a good oil….

View Ingjr's profile


144 posts in 3620 days

#3 posted 04-25-2010 10:48 PM

IMO, some of the best looking quarter sawn wood there is. If it was mine, a natural look. Looks pretty good with a garnet shellac also.

-- The older I get the faster I was.

View 4thumbs's profile


153 posts in 3750 days

#4 posted 04-26-2010 02:26 PM

Have tried several stains & dye on quartersawn sycamore scraps and settled on Watco natural. Pops the figure and adds a warm glow to the piece. That is a beautiful wood in its native state, and the oil brings out its glory.

-- 4thumbs in MO

View Ben 's profile


164 posts in 3968 days

#5 posted 06-06-2010 05:47 AM

Hi lobro,

I built a dresser from qs sycamore a few months ago. I would stay away from any type of stain. I would recommend Transtint dye. The lighter the color of the dye the more the figure in the wood will show. I ended up using a color a little darker than I would have liked so that the dresser would match the other furniture in my son’s room.

If you really want to make the figure “pop” use Transtint honey amber dye and finish with 4 coats of high gloss poly.

The wood will look amazing.

View a1Jim's profile


117905 posts in 4181 days

#6 posted 06-06-2010 05:49 AM

Sounds like it’s all handled


View JSW's profile


5 posts in 4107 days

#7 posted 06-06-2010 08:03 AM

Quartered sycamore can be an awesome wood but can go from outstanding to ugly with the improper use of stains or dyes. Natural with a clear coat is not difficult. But coloring is perhaps best left to toners or glazes in between coats of finish. This can have its own disadvantages also like muting the figure or making repairs difficult. Hope this helps.

-- Jon

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 06-06-2010 03:21 PM

I have used blo first followed by garnet shellac to get to the desired color when using qs sycamore.The grain really pops when using oil.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

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