sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

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sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby gavin » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:14 am

How good or bad is sycamore to make chairs and stools?
I don't think I have ever used it.
It is certainly abundant and cleaves well.
Ash is costly because it is such good firewood even if fresh-felled.
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Re: sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby RichardDay » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:24 pm

I've used sycamore one a couple of stools and it can be a joy to use. It has a fine grain that can give an almost satiny finish. I originally used it by accident, mistaking a young sycamore for an ash. I know better of course nowadays, but I'm keen to try it again for some chair projects. Sycamore is also prone to spalting (?) and this can give a lovely effect too.
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Re: sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby Peter De Schepper » Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:10 pm

I have used it to make some little chairs for children. It's very nice for turning but it seems lighter and softer than ash. I don't know how well the joints would hold out in an adult's chair. I suppose sycamore would also not be as tough and flexible as good ash or oak.
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Re: sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby Bob_Fleet » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:52 am

Hi Gav
Most of the wood I've used in our demos has been sycamore so if you used my spindle lathe when we were out you've probably turned some.
I think it's a great wood.
Less fibrous than ash, tight grained, pale, doesn't taint food and also common so usually available.
Most under-rated and often seen as a weed.
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Re: sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby RichardLaw » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:02 pm

I've been cutting small bore sycamore and only a small portion is big enough for anything. I'm using the biggest piece for bowls, but it is hard work - seems very tough. This puzzles me a bit. When a big tree is felled you hardly need to do any snedding as all the branches break off, and sometimes the stem snaps too. This suggests brittleness to me. Maybe as growth slows down with age the timber becomes brittle, as it does with ash to a much lesser degree.
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Re: sycamore - to make chairs and stools?

Postby Donald Todd » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:45 pm

As with Bob I have used Sycamore a lot for demo's, but mostly for spoons, spirtles etc.
This chair was made entirely (except the comb) from Sycamore more than 10 years ago. I use a contemporary 4 legger a lot and it seems OK, BUT when assembling a small table from the same batch of wood I found tenons snapping off, although by the time I made the table some infection was noticeable in the wood. Sycamore doesn't keep at all well in the green.
I also found a mention in "Woodland Crafts", by Ray Taybor that Sycamore was brittle. I have never found any historical evidence for its use for chair legs in the past.
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