Sycamore timber is relatively easy to work with and can be be finished to a smooth surface that takes staining well or that can be polished. It is commonly used in furniture and is good for gluing.
Generally straight grained, Sycamore is yellowish-white in colour.
Sycamore plane, great maple. Acer pseudoplatanus, Family: Aceraceae.
Sycamore is native to central Europe and western Asia. It appears to have been introduced into Britain from the Continent in the fifteenth century.
Sycamore grows to a height of 30m or more and a diameter of 1.5m. It is tolerant of widely differing soil and exposure conditions, standing up well to the fumes of industrial areas and the salt-laden gales of coastal regions.
There is no difference by colour between sapwood and heartwood, the wood being white, or yellowish-white when freshly cut, with a natural lustre especially noticeable on quarter-sawn surfaces. It is generally straight grained but may be curly or wavy grained, and the texture is fine. The average weight is 630 kg/m3 when dried.
It air dries well, but 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 wood, sometimes achieved by end-racking the boards, while slow drying gives the wood a light-brown colour, referred to as weathered sycamore, but the aim must always be the avoidance of stick marks which penetrate well into the wood, and this can only be successful if the surfaces are dried rapidly.
Sycamore has high strength properties similar to those of oak.
Fairly easy to work and machine, and capable of a fine, smooth finish when straight grained ; material with curly or wavy grain picks up in planning and moulding and a reduction of the cutting angle to 15 degrees is needed in order to obtain a good finish. It turns excellently, can be glued, stained and polished.
Turnery, bobbins, textile rollers, brush handles, furniture, flooring and for decorative veneer. Harewood is sycamore that has been artificially dyed grey, and at one time was much in demand for panelling.