Quartersawn Sycamore is very beautiful, but kind of hard to find around here. This is kind of ironic since the trees are very plentiful in central NJ and often grow to a very large size. I believe the scarcity of sycamore for woodworking is due to it's tendency warp and twist a good deal while drying and the added effort it takes to saw a log to produce quartersawn wood. Sycamore is not a traditional furniture wood for these reasons and there's probably not too strong a market for it.

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This is one of the first pieces I made from quartersawn sycamore. The boards I had had twisted a bit in drying which meant I could only use relatively narrow pieces if I wanted them flat and not too thin. I was also trying to get the most mileage I could out of this lovely wood, so for this piece I made it only about 5" high and used a frame and panel top.

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In this photo you can see the difference between quartersawn and flatsawn figure in sycamore. The front of the box is true quartersawn sycamore with the prominently displayed rays and flecks characteristic of this wood. The edges of the top frame members show what flatsawn sycamore looks like. It's kind of dull and ordinary.

Here's the top of the box:

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The panel is from a really nice piece of spalted maple.  It's got spalted areas, worm holes, and a few bird's eyes thrown in. I didn't use any stain on this piece and finished it with super-blonde shellac and wax which brought out the figure and only imparted the slightest amber tones to the wood.

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As usual I made a dovetailed lift-out tray for the box.  The final dimensions are about 5" high by 12" long and 9" wide.


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