sycamore bowl cracked :-(

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Forum topic by GSwoodworker posted 12-09-2010 04:35 AM 3620 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 3315 days

12-09-2010 04:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sycamore bowl lathe turning

My neighbor had a sycamore cut down and I took some of the wood. I used a chain saw to cut some bowl blanks. I turned the outside of the bowl and the bottom leaving a recess in the bottom. I glues a piece of 3/4 plywood into the recess into the bottom to screw into my faceplate to turn the inside. I let it set for about 5 days before I could get to mount it into the lathe and turn the inside. when I was ready it had cracked and is now firewood. My question would be do I need to turn the inside and outside all in one day for? Some of the other bowl blank pieces I had cut also cracked. Should I leave the tree in a trunk state? Cut it up with a chain saw and turn it complete all in a short amount of time.

8 replies so far

View stamper's profile


49 posts in 2949 days

#1 posted 12-12-2010 08:28 PM

Most turners I know will turn the bowl inside and out leaving the wall thickness approx. an inch thick then wrap it in a couple sheets of newspaper and place in a brown paperbag for a few months to allow the blank to slowly dry, occasionly checking it, then turning it to size. Or you could use the Microwave drying method on your blank then turn it. I just recently turned a few bowls out of Sycamore, turns easy enough but am not impressed with color or grain. But then again free wood is always nice to have….......Good Luck

-- Stamper

View photo44's profile


4 posts in 2715 days

#2 posted 01-13-2011 01:17 AM

i have turned alot of sycamore with no problems or cracks .I rough turn the piece then paint it with end seal and let it dry.this wood great for color or staining have fun!

-- John waynesboro

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2982 days

#3 posted 01-13-2011 11:20 PM

Some wood is prone to cracking for myriad reasons. A friend was turning some beautiful mimosa and it cracked about 1/4” the next day. Other woods will hold up if you toss it across the shop (uh, I’ve never done that). Keep on making shavings!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2801 days

#4 posted 01-14-2011 12:28 AM

Sycamore cracks badly and quickly. Get it rough turned or end coated immediately. Waiting is bad with sycamore.

Once it’s dried, though, it’s fairly stable.

-- Nate,

View Abter's profile


63 posts in 651 days

#5 posted 05-09-2017 08:35 PM

One thing I learned quickly; sycamore scorches easily, and at low temps. My neighbor finally took down their sycamore, and I got as much as I wanted (or my wife would let me keep). I wanted to turn a set of pens for them for an immediate gratification thank you. I put 2 blanks in the microwave…and promptly scorched them. I tried again, on low power, and still scorched ‘em in 1 minute.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6766 posts in 2223 days

#6 posted 05-10-2017 06:13 AM

Probably too late… but did you try to salvage the bowl? Unless the thing blew apart (and perhaps even then), you can usually fix them with epoxy and finish turning. It may not be ideal for some woods/grains/colors, but I still hate to see a perfectly good piece of wood go to waste :)

Just two weeks ago, I discovered one of my rough blanks had cracked… and not in a minor way… it went from the rim down to the pith, and then all the way over to the pith on the other side. A little bit of epoxy fixed it right up and I was able to finish turning it:

I have blanks crack all the time… it’s the nature of the stuff. I’ve always just thrown some epoxy at the situation and trudged on. Many times, with the right color added, you can make some really stunning pieces that stand out from the otherwise ordinary.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Kelly's profile


2039 posts in 2968 days

#7 posted 05-10-2017 05:51 PM

Like Brad, I use a lot of epoxy to save wood that would be very sad to waste. Often, you cannot even tell the epoxy is there, because it looks like one of the grain lines and picks up some of the wood’s characteristics, once polished.

Nice wood is expensive and free nice wood is well worth a half buck worth of epoxy.

I buy the 2-1 mix, which comes in 1 and a 1/2 gallon containers at about one hundred bucks. I couldn’t begin to guess how much it would be for the equivalent in the five minute epoxy syringes. I’m guessing about a grand.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6766 posts in 2223 days

#8 posted 05-10-2017 10:18 PM

Probably too lateā€¦

LOL – I just realized that this thread was started almost 7 years ago, and the OP hasn’t posted anything since 2013. I’m guessing that bowl has long since been forgotten. Oh well… maybe this thread will be useful to others in the same situation who might stumble upon it :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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