Figured Sycamore

Acer pseudoplatanus

Trade Names

Figured Sycamore

Similar Woods

Figured Anegre

Origin

Europe

Range

Sycamore is to be found all over Europe but very seldom as Figured Sycamore. Top quality logs can yield prices of more than EUR 10,000 per cubic meter. The wood fibres are wavy which gives this species of wood its typical pattern.

Uses

Logs free of defects are used for the production of exclusive veneers. Figured Sycamore veneers are mostly produced for the American and Asian markets as neither the European furniture trade nor the end users of that region accept the figured effect at the moment. Short lengths are sold as so-called “Fiddleback wood” to musical instrument makers (for string instruments).

Properties

This almost white wood yellows under the influence of light and air if the veneers are not dried quickly enough. Heart discoloration is possible but since the logs normally have large diameters this is not such a problem. Worse is the tendency of annual rings to develop green stripe in certain growing areas.

Machining

Machining is difficult, mainly because of the figure. A slower rate of feed and sharp tools are indispensable to prevent the surface grain from getting torn. It is very difficult to produce profiles in particular. Surface burns can occur if the feed speed is too slow.

Seasoning

The wood has a great tendency to check and warp. Color changes can occur if dried improperly.

Finishing

Figured Sycamore is excellently suited for polishing and staining. Varnishes resistant to UV rays are recommended to prevent premature yellowing.

Jointing

Joints are easily produced with glue, screws and nails and are very durable. Pre-drilling is recommended when using screws.
005