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Sycamore table?

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Forum topic by Austin6 posted 09-04-2020 12:16 AM 488 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


09-04-2020 12:16 AM

I have a couple thousand board feet that are about to be all finished air drying after being milled a while back, is this a pretty good wood for dining tables? I see a lot of walnut and oak dining tables but I never see much sycamore furniture in general. It was beautiful when milled, just curious if y’all have any experience with it and would love to see some furniture y’all have made out of sycamore.

Also, it had a very bright red tinge when we milled it, is this common? Any chance that the red will still be there when I uncover it?


16 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

4127 posts in 2499 days


#1 posted 09-04-2020 12:43 AM

Sycamore is slightly softer than cherry, but not as soft as soft maple or poplar. Used QS Sycamore for flooring once, and it could be used for table. QS Sycamore is beautiful with a ton of fleck figure. The heartwood tends to look like pink maple to me when kiln dried, air drying might preserve more color? The pink changes to reddish-brown with normal oxidation over time; so wouldn’t expect to find same bright pink when you uncover the piles.
Same sample images: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/sycamore.htm

Good Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View SMP's profile

SMP

3411 posts in 910 days


#2 posted 09-04-2020 12:50 AM

Every piece of sycamore I have come across has had some pretty soft spots. But I find they make interesting charcuterie boards.

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Aj2

3662 posts in 2803 days


#3 posted 09-04-2020 01:45 AM

Sycamore is in the Acer species. It’s not a very common lumber because I’ve heard it’s hard to dry.
I have a few small pieces that are beautifully figured and very old.
Since it’s in the Acer species I would treat it like Maple but with more caution.

Good Luck it’s a nice unique opportunity you have there.

-- Aj

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Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


#4 posted 09-04-2020 01:51 AM



Every piece of sycamore I have come across has had some pretty soft spots. But I find they make interesting charcuterie boards.

- SMP

Thanks for the heads up on that. I’ll plan to stabilize it with epoxy if that’s the case. Hopefully there isn’t too many soft spots. I have quite the stack of boards to pick through so I’ll try to find the most useable.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

6618 posts in 2392 days


#5 posted 09-04-2020 02:19 AM

American sycamore is often confused as a maple because of the shape of its leaves but is not in the maple (Acer) genus or family. London Plane tree is the European variety of sycamore and is often planted in as an ornamental in the US. As Klutz said sycamore is a similar hardness to soft maples, though on the low end, so for a table or desk, it might be a little prone to denting so a hard polyurethane finish would be recommended to protect it some. It can be a little boring plane sawn but if it is quarter sawn it can be pretty stunning and definitely worth the risk, IMO.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7214 posts in 1579 days


#6 posted 09-04-2020 04:42 AM

Sycamore has a Janka hardness of 770, which is less than Cherry, and Soft Maple which both come in at 950.

Beyond being sort of soft for furniture requirements a lot in looks will depend on how this Sycamore was cut. Quarter Sawn Sycamore is beautiful, but that said a little of it can go a long way. I see it more often as an accent to other darker woods.

While flat sawn Sycamore isn’t real exciting.

Either are very easy to work, turn, or tool with anything, hand tool, or power. It is prone to wild movement, so if you cut it, set it out so air can get to all sides afterward, to see if it is going to be stable, or go twisty.

A good general read about it here.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3662 posts in 2803 days


#7 posted 09-04-2020 05:30 AM

I stand corrected the Sycamore I’ve read about is the European. Acer pseudoplatanus.
My wood book says it’s different then America sycamore. I don’t see why it sure looks the same to me.
We have large sycamore trees that grow in canyon north of me.
I prefer Alder.
Good Luck hope I did cause any confusion. Lazy man is clearly right.

-- Aj

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

348 posts in 321 days


#8 posted 09-04-2020 12:50 PM

I have built one dinning room table with QS sycamore. It is now about 5 years old. Finish was a General Finishes oil of some kind. The QS really makes the top. Have not had a problem with wood movement.
From the same tree I also had a large live edge slab 4 inches thick. This air dried for 4 years in the corner of my shop. Finally evened it up and made a bench out of it. It too has a lot of surface patterns. Used large 4” x 6” tennons though the top from the supports with two walnut wedges. It is one of my simplest makes but one of my favorites. It sits at the end of bed and is a common place to change shoes, clothes or just lay stuff on.
Cannot recall any problems with the wood. Easy to cut, sand and finish as I recall.

-- It's not a mistake it's a design opportunity

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

270 posts in 3509 days


#9 posted 09-04-2020 01:20 PM

I love the look of quarter sawn sycamore. I built a computer desk with it three years ago, and it’s holding up well. Parts of the lumber have a lacy look, parts have a lot of swirling grain, and parts have interesting mineral streaks.

Photos at this LJ page: Modern Computer Desk .

-- Ron Stewart

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5949 posts in 3356 days


#10 posted 09-04-2020 01:25 PM

I made a sofa table with a quarter sawn sycamore top and I find that it is pretty soft. I love the figure, so I used it any way.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2258 posts in 3798 days


#11 posted 09-04-2020 03:28 PM

I have read that flat sawn sycamore is unstable. I have mine quarter sawn. I have 2 logs to go to the mill now. Pictured is a ringmaster bowl from a neighborhood sycamore I had sawn.
I just purchased the ringmaster and it was the first attempt.

View Austin6's profile

Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


#12 posted 09-04-2020 05:25 PM



I have built one dinning room table with QS sycamore. It is now about 5 years old. Finish was a General Finishes oil of some kind. The QS really makes the top. Have not had a problem with wood movement.
From the same tree I also had a large live edge slab 4 inches thick. This air dried for 4 years in the corner of my shop. Finally evened it up and made a bench out of it. It too has a lot of surface patterns. Used large 4” x 6” tennons though the top from the supports with two walnut wedges. It is one of my simplest makes but one of my favorites. It sits at the end of bed and is a common place to change shoes, clothes or just lay stuff on.
Cannot recall any problems with the wood. Easy to cut, sand and finish as I recall.

- 987Ron

Very cool!

View Austin6's profile

Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


#13 posted 09-04-2020 05:26 PM


I made a sofa table with a quarter sawn sycamore top and I find that it is pretty soft. I love the figure, so I used it any way.

- bondogaposis

Super neat table. Thanks for sharing!

View Austin6's profile

Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


#14 posted 09-04-2020 05:27 PM



I love the look of quarter sawn sycamore. I built a computer desk with it three years ago, and it’s holding up well. Parts of the lumber have a lacy look, parts have a lot of swirling grain, and parts have interesting mineral streaks.

Photos at this LJ page: Modern Computer Desk .

- Ron Stewart

That’s awesome. Super cool desk.

View Austin6's profile

Austin6

24 posts in 187 days


#15 posted 09-04-2020 05:27 PM



I have read that flat sawn sycamore is unstable. I have mine quarter sawn. I have 2 logs to go to the mill now. Pictured is a ringmaster bowl from a neighborhood sycamore I had sawn.
I just purchased the ringmaster and it was the first attempt.

- ibewjon

I will definitely be slapping some of mine on the lathe!

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

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