Sycamore lumber - is it worth it or this stuff junk?

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Forum topic by camps764 posted 11-09-2013 12:56 PM 1414 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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853 posts in 1450 days

11-09-2013 12:56 PM

I’ve got an opportunity to get my hands on about 110 board feet of 4/4 sycamore for about $1.50 a B/F.

Never worked it, and never heard much about anyone working it.

What I’ve read online says that it can cup,warp and twist something awful. But pictures look sort of like lacewood/maple mix.

What do you guys and gals think? 1.50 sounds like a good price for anything.

-- Steve

15 replies so far

View Woodendeavor's profile


272 posts in 1697 days

#1 posted 11-09-2013 01:06 PM

Sycamore is great wood when Quarter sawn. If it is not it will twist cup and warp even after it has dried. That is my personal experience

View chrisstef's profile


13588 posts in 2096 days

#2 posted 11-09-2013 01:07 PM

From what ive heard unless its quarter sawn its really difficult to keep from cupping and twisting. I think it looks really cool when quarter sawn.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Tennessee's profile


2017 posts in 1604 days

#3 posted 11-09-2013 01:07 PM

I’ve used it a couple of times when it came in a load of assorted. Not a fan.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

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853 posts in 1450 days

#4 posted 11-09-2013 01:17 PM

Thanks for confirming fella’s. I’ll take a pass on this one, maybe pick a small bit up int he future to try out.

-- Steve

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5784 posts in 2675 days

#5 posted 11-09-2013 01:21 PM

Wow I just bought a load earlier this year not quarter sawn.LOL trust me to get it wrong.It is all thick stock so I am hoepeful. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Texcaster's profile


953 posts in 764 days

#6 posted 11-09-2013 02:31 PM

Alistair, you probably have euro sycamore, a maple.

-- Bill....... " was you dryin' your nails or a wavin' me goodbye?" Tom Waits

View CharlieM1958's profile


16143 posts in 3308 days

#7 posted 11-09-2013 02:40 PM

I got hold of several bf of spalted sycamore once. It worked beautifully and looked great. I actually used some of it for this:

Click for details

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View woodsmithshop's profile


1233 posts in 2635 days

#8 posted 11-09-2013 02:43 PM

I have only used quarter sawn, and I have had good luck with it.
American Sycamore is also a Maple

-- Smitty!!!

View ShaneA's profile


5837 posts in 1688 days

#9 posted 11-09-2013 02:56 PM

If it is quarter sawn, that is a good price. It is easy to work with, and has a unique look.

View bannerpond1's profile


386 posts in 989 days

#10 posted 11-09-2013 02:59 PM

I have quartersawn Indiana sycamore and it’s very stable and attractive. I saw a reference to its being called, “American lacewood.” I have some QS boards with both sapwood and heartwood and it’s very striking. I’d take all the sycamore logs I could get and have them QS. Heck, burn the rest, but the QS is worth the trouble.

-- --Dale Page

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Monte Pittman

18613 posts in 1428 days

#11 posted 11-09-2013 03:20 PM

I really like the QS sycamore. I would check to see if it is QS. It might be a heck of a deal.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


12276 posts in 1708 days

#12 posted 11-09-2013 03:38 PM

It can be beautiful stuff, it’s true. +1 to Monte’s (and others) suggestion above.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View gfadvm's profile


13944 posts in 1780 days

#13 posted 11-10-2013 04:11 AM

One of my favorites and I have found it easy to work and finish.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Picken5's profile


177 posts in 1782 days

#14 posted 11-10-2013 04:57 AM

I love QS sycamore. Beautiful and pretty easy to work with — but keep your tools sharp.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View WDHLT15's profile


1416 posts in 1566 days

#15 posted 11-10-2013 01:20 PM

American sycamore is a monotype, that is, it is the only species in its genus. It is similar to maple in pore structure, but is is not a maple. The genus for sycamore is Platanus. The genus for maple is Acer. They are in different families.

Quartersawn sycamore is the most beautiful North American hardwood in my opinion. I have sawn plenty of it.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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