SSS (sycamore slab score)


Recommended Posts

It's been a long time since I've used QS sycamore but I remember it being interesting to finish. I can't remember what it was but might have been oil looked bad on it and shellac great. I have a hand full of boards in my garage and I've been meaning to try some finishes on them so I can remember. Also heard that plain sawn sycamore can be pretty unstable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, estesbubba said:

It's been a long time since I've used QS sycamore but I remember it being interesting to finish. I can't remember what it was but might have been oil looked bad on it and shellac great. I have a hand full of boards in my garage and I've been meaning to try some finishes on them so I can remember. Also heard that plain sawn sycamore can be pretty unstable.

Sycamore is generally unstable until it's dried.  What I hear is that it has a tendency to fall apart during milling (even logging) and especially in the kiln because of wind shake.  (The wind shake part is a theory from a person who's been in the industry for more than thirty years, but it's not scientific fact...just a theory.)  Which is likely the primary reason it's not as commonly available as some other domestics.  Too much loss.  But if you can get it dry and it stays intact, it's fine.  QS sycamore was a common secondary wood in the old days, so I assume it has to be stable enough or the ol' boys wouldn't have used it as much as they did.  This slab will be going in the basement until I build with it so it will be absolutely acclimated and calmed by the time I get to it.

I can totally see sycamore finishing similar to poplar.  It's harder than poplar but seems to have the same "fuzzy" property to it, from my limited experience.  And we all know how well poplar takes oil-based anything.  I will certainly be doing test boards since I'm a sycamore virgin.  But my gut says...ARS would look wicked on it.  Just a hunch.

6 minutes ago, Chet said:

Thats a nice looking piece, especially from the "sold" on up.  How many Saturdays are you going to have to work to get the pink slip?

Three. :)  But I always have a fairly hefty running debt here and more wood than I know what to do with so I've kind of stopped counting.  I'm an indentured servant at this point, perpetually.  And happily.  Usually. :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, estesbubba said:

Danish oil on it - muddied the grain IMO. 

Big surprise. :D

You don't have to worry...DO will never find itself anywhere near my work again.  Aside from the workbench.

 

14 minutes ago, Mick S said:

Depending on what you're making and how much protection you need, plain Renaissance wax looks great on it. 

Interesting idea, Mick.  And I'm sure JK would approve of such a simple finish.  I'll test it when the time comes...five years from now. LOL

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I used QS sycamore on Marc's Krenov inspired display stand, as that's what he used on his. It was such a pleasure to work with. A few months ago I went back to my source to get more, just to have and they still had the remenants left from when I bought mine a year or so ago. I went to another source and they had some decent boards but were in their exotics building and were asking $9 linear ft. For 6" wide boards. It will be awhile before I use sycamore again. That's a good looking piece. Hopefully it will be resawn? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

I used QS sycamore on Marc's Krenov inspired display stand, as that's what he used on his. It was such a pleasure to work with. A few months ago I went back to my source to get more, just to have and they still had the remenants left from when I bought mine a year or so ago. I went to another source and they had some decent boards but were in their exotics building and were asking $9 linear ft. For 6" wide boards. It will be awhile before I use sycamore again. That's a good looking piece. Hopefully it will be resawn? 

I'll be resawing the parts as needed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, RichardA said:

It's pretty as all hell, but it takes 3 to 5 times longer to kiln dry, and if you mill it just before you use it be prepared for it to twist and cup, and it takes in moisture like a sponge.

It's already kiln dried so no worries there.  I'm sure it's fairly stable since it's all QS and RS.  And I don't plan on getting it wet. :D

I always leave myself plenty of meat on a resaw for warping and allowance to mill twice.  Always.  And considering the thickness of the slab and what I intend to build out of it, I should have no problem getting everything flat at final thickness.  I could get three 3/4" thick boards out of one chunk and still have plenty of meat to work with since the cabinet parts will probably be 5/8".

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Eric. said:

It's already kiln dried so no worries there.  I'm sure it's fairly since it's all QS and RS.  And I don't plan on getting it wet. :D

I always leave myself plenty of meat on a resaw for warping and allowance to mill twice.  Always.  And considering the thickness of the slab and what I intend to build out of it, I should have no problem getting everything flat at final thickness.  I could get three 3/4" thick boards out of one chunk and still have plenty of meat to work with since the cabinet parts will probably be 5/8".

My only suggestion would be..  Seal every single inch of it when you assemble.  Like I said, no matter how dry it may be, it loves moisture.  They thrive on growing near creeks.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

So $8.66 per b.f. including the pith? Hope your resaw talents are at it's prime;)

Yep that's what it breaks down to.  I have no idea what normal sycamore lumber prices are these days because we don't carry it, but I figure 10/4 would probably be in the $6-8/bf range.  So it's not insanely high, but it's certainly higher because it's a slab.  And we all know that the value of something is determined only by what people will pay.  And people will pay for these.  They're buried under a stack of zebrawood right now, but I figure once they're accessible, they'll be gone in a month or less.  They're the cheapest slabs we currently carry.

As far as the pith goes...waste happens.  I'll always buy the most interesting material I can find even if it means I have to take some unusable material with it.  I'd rather have that slab with all the color and ray fleck and 25% waste than a plain Jane boring-as-hell slab with zero waste.  Besides...it's "free." :rolleyes::D

I'll only have to resaw 8" boards if I end up making the JK cabinet with it, so I have no concerns about that.  I've done 12" plenty of times with no issues, which is my saw's full capacity.  I just take it slow.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, K Cooper said:

You have a link to the cabinet?

I haven't gotten that far yet.  I have a huge folder of them to draw inspiration from, and I'm sure I'll just build one that incorporates features from many different examples like I usually do.  Even if I settled on a design today, by the time I get to this project I'm sure I'll have changed my mind a dozen times. :)  And maybe I won't even use the sycamore. LOL  I just always try to have at least one idea in mind to justify buying a piece of wood.  And it seems befitting for this slab.  I'll yield a few projects from it most likely.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome Mike!  My own personal finish tester, love it.  I already like the varnish better. :)

Do you remember what you paid for that sycamore?

Can't tell in the pics...8/4?  Some nice boards there!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the right (shellac) was already dry and the left was wet varnish so it might be deceiving. Just went to the shop and took another pic - left is varnish.

APC_0002.thumb.jpg.a54fa57597c738bceccb0a74d08d64be.jpg

Eric I got these QS sycamore about 10 years ago and paid like $2 BF for them but no idea what it is now. They are kiln dried from a local sawyer and 15/16. This guy has some good stuff and cuts his white and red oak so it yields mostly rift and quarter sawn. His 4/4 walnut is $6 and 10" wide and 8/4 $8 which seems like good prices these days. He has a nice stash of rift sawn curly red oak and has made some nice hope chests out of it. I gotta board but have never used it. 

APC_0001.thumb.jpg.eda8887a43b07f269639f9e7d348c2cd.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   2 Members, 0 Anonymous, 129 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29652
    Total Topics
    402128
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22374
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    ExtraGrit
    Newest Member
    ExtraGrit
    Joined