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 1361 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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851 posts in 1399 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


268 posts in 1646 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

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13262 posts in 2046 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

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1885 posts in 1554 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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851 posts in 1399 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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5782 posts in 2624 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


924 posts in 713 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


16098 posts in 3258 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"

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1231 posts in 2585 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


5779 posts in 1638 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.

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369 posts in 938 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

17946 posts in 1377 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 (online now)


12052 posts in 1658 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


13767 posts in 1729 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

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175 posts in 1731 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

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1404 posts in 1515 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 LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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