Sawing Sycamore

      Quartersawing reveals the grain figure and enhances stability. March 29, 2006

Question
How do I saw a 2.5' diameter sycamore log to get the maximum flame figure in the resulting boards? I would like to use the lumber to build a solid-body electric guitar.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
Don't know that I would use sycamore - even qtr-sawn, it has a lot of movement, especially if solid. How thick? Curly maple would be a better choice, or curly cherry, which I have seen a lot lately.



From contributor T:
If I remember correctly, quartered sycamore is as stable as plainsawn maple. And of course, quartered sycamore yields the figure (I assume you meant "fleck" figure, not "flame", which is not a term I have seen applied to sycamore). So quartersawing is part of your answer. Whether you can get useful quartersawn guitar bodies out of a 30" diameter log (without pith) I'll let someone else answer.


From contributor J:
Definitely quarter saw it - it is beautiful wood, and would make a great looking guitar body. I would use two pieces, either from the same board or perhaps bookmatched from an adjacent board to make the body, and edge glue them down the center of the body. As for dimensional changes due to seasonal changes in humidity, it doesn't matter - it's a guitar body - it is not being used in reference to any other piece of wood save the neck, which I assume will be attached using a sliding dovetail joint. Saw, dry, select for figure, glue, shape, finish (on all surfaces), attach all the pieces that make it a guitar, then rock on, dude!


From contributor B:
Absolutely quartersaw it. There is plenty of info in WOODWEB's Knowledge Base regarding quartersawing.


From the original questioner:
Thanks for the responses! I had actually seen a picture of what the builder said were flamed sycamore back and sides on a custom-made acoustic guitar. When I researched further, I saw a footnote reading "English Sycamore (maple)". I was actually looking at a flamed maple instrument! I think this piece of wood may yet make a cool instrument, though maybe as a laminate on top of a different tone wood like mahogany or alder.


From contributor A:
Saw it like this and watch for shake. You may need to glue up two pieces to make what you want.



Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article