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Is quartersawn sycamore stable?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 126 days ago 481 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

774 posts in 695 days


126 days ago

I just bought some sycamore at the lumber store. I haven’t worked with it before. This sycamore is quartersawn.

From poking around the web a bit it appears that flatsawn sycamore is extremely unstable. What about quartersawn? I know that quartersawn lumber of any species tends to be more stable than flatsawn. But if sycamore is very unstable naturally, perhaps being quartersawn isn’t enough.

I’ve largely sworn off beech because of it being unstable. I worry I’m in for the same fun.


10 replies so far

View WibblyPig's profile

WibblyPig

168 posts in 1877 days


#1 posted 126 days ago

Quartersawn sycamore is very stable (and extremely attractive to boot). I have a few boards sitting on various racks in the garage and none have moved/twisted/cupped in any way. The place where I buy my lumber makes the top of his lumber carts and his personal benches out of qsawn sycamore because it doesn’t “catch” wood when it’s tossed onto the surface. The qsawn grain is more fuzzy than splintery so if an edge catches the sycamore, it just slides over the top without gouging.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

507 posts in 250 days


#2 posted 126 days ago

From Woodcraft magazine:

Improperly seasoned sycamore, particularly flatsawn is unstable and will twist and warp. Quartersawn and riftsawn stock is preferred over flatsawn, because it’s not only much more stable, but also far more attractive with its distinctive ray fleck.

Full PDF file here:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.woodcraftmagazine.com%2Fonlineextras%2F41_sycamorewoodsense.pdf&ei=neowU4yzB4v1oAS9-oHQCQ&usg=AFQjCNGGufApaQYvgv_xkA9CThYmQ1gj6w&sig2=ySOhZmYr0cZuE_hG854_tA

-- I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13336 posts in 940 days


#3 posted 126 days ago

QS Sycamore is awesome. QS on most wood makes it much more stable.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 695 days


#4 posted 126 days ago

Since my shop is (essentially) outdoors I get concerned about wood stability. Mostly because much of the beech I got turned itself into a pretzel in a matter of days.

The only other quartersawn wood I’ve gotten is African Mahogany (in very small quantities).

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1076 posts in 1078 days


#5 posted 126 days ago

Quartersawn is very stable. The flatsawn stuff is definitely not.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

411 posts in 1966 days


#6 posted 126 days ago

QS Sycamore is very stable. You need to exercise care when planing to avoid tear out. A clear finish works nicely on the amazing grain. Check out my project page to get an idea of what it looks like.

View alohafromberkeley's profile

alohafromberkeley

248 posts in 1007 days


#7 posted 126 days ago

The quarter sawing adds tremendous stability to some properly dried stock….QS Sycamore has an amazing ray fleck pattern that really grabs the eye….people have mistaken it for QS Maple, Leopard wood and Lacewood…although once you see QS Sycamore you won’t mistake it for any other wood. It really pops with an oil finish (just my preference)................Wes

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

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Purrmaster

774 posts in 695 days


#8 posted 126 days ago

I was wondering about what kind of finish I should put on it. Not all of my boards are the same color. Which actually doesn’t bother me. But I would like to stain it if I can. But I’m reading some horror stories about sycamore blotching very badly. I recently mixed up a batch of garnet shellac so perhaps I’ll use that….

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Vincent Nocito

411 posts in 1966 days


#9 posted 126 days ago

I use satin Arm-R-Seal on my QS sycamore projects and don’t worry about the color variation.

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

338 posts in 1420 days


#10 posted 126 days ago

Take a look at: http://www.woodcentral.com/bparticles/woodmove.shtml

This tells you how much various American species shrink from green to oven-dry in both flatsawn and QS wood. It will not help you judge whether a species tends to cup, warp etc as it dries, but it is useful for judging how much the wood will expand and contract seasonally (because a wood that shrinks more as it dries from green will tend to move more seasonally, all things being equal). QS sycamore seems to be about in the middle for QS domestic hardwoods.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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