The unique properties of European Sycamore make an ideal wood for use in interior joinery and turnery. Sycamore timber is rarely used for exterior purposes, predominantly found to be used in flooring, worktops and furniture. It is however possible to treat European Sycamore using a process known as thermal modification, in order to allow it to be used for exterior purposes such as cladding.
General Description: European Sycamore is a temperate hardwood that is creamy in colour. With sycamore wood there is no colour difference between the sapwood and it’s heartwood. Sycamore timber is white, or yellowish-white when freshly cut, with a natural lustre especially noticeable on quarter-sawn surfaces. Sycamore is generally straight grained but may be curvy or wavy grained, and the texture is fine. The average weight is 630 kg/m³ when dried. It is also one of the hardest and strongest pines in existence making it resistant to wear and decay.
Good - European Sycamore wood is fairly easy to work with and machine. The nature of Sycamore means that it is capable of a fine, smooth finish when straight grained; material with curly or wavy grain picks up in planing and moulding and a reduction of the cutting angle to 15º is needed in order to obtain a good finish. Sycamore timber also turns excellently and can be glued, stained and polished.
Although European Sycamore air dries well, it is inclined to stain, and rapid surface drying is necessary to prevent this. The use of thick stickers helps, but kiln drying at low temperatures is probably the best treatment. Rapid air drying preserves the white appearance of the sycamore wood, sometimes achieved by end-racking the boards, while slow drying gives the wood a light-brown colour. This is referred to as weathered sycamore. The aim must however always be the avoidance of stick marks which penetrate well into the wood. This can only be successful if the surfaces of the Sycamore wood are dried rapidly.
In terms of durability, it is not recommended that European Sycamore is used for external purposes. It does however have high strength properties similar to those of oak.
Family Name: Aceraceae
Latin Name: Acer pseudoplantanus
Distribution: Sycamore is native to central Europe and western Asia. It appears to have been introduced into Britain from the Continent in the fifteenth century.
Also known as: Sycamore plane, great maple
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