How long will unfinished sycamore last outdoors?

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Forum topic by coalcracker posted 09-07-2021 12:59 PM 297 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 973 days

09-07-2021 12:59 PM

I made a stump seat out of a local sycamore tree. Initially I thought I might keep it inside, but I don’t have a great spot for it and it would work great around my outdoor fire pit.

Rather than fuss over trying to waterproof it, I might just leave it unfinished and let nature take its course. I gather sycamore will likely rot no matter what.

To my question: assuming I leave it outdoors all year long, how long can I expect this stump chair to last before it becomes useless as a seat?

3 replies so far

View ibewjon's profile


2649 posts in 4038 days

#1 posted 09-07-2021 02:11 PM

Sycamore will rot fairly quickly. The green wood contains a lot of water and can rot from the inside, even if covered. I have had logs go bad before I got them milled. At least cover it during rainy spells, and uncover it when the sun is shining.

View PaulDoug's profile


2627 posts in 2948 days

#2 posted 09-07-2021 02:34 PM

My experience is it will crack as it dries also…

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View therealSteveN's profile


8885 posts in 1819 days

#3 posted 09-07-2021 02:56 PM

Yes, cookies of it will split apart fairly easily. Definitely not to be considered as an outdoor wood either. Depending on thickness, and weather it could be done in a year easily. If you have Sycamore available where you are you also likely have White Oak which would be a much better choice for a seat, but orient it so it’s face grain is facing up. Almost anything will have trouble if you dish it out, and allow water to pool in the end grain. Total submersion also robs it of air, if it can get air, and is sometimes submerged it’s a problem. Only one no problem, both almost always a problem.

-- Think safe, be safe

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