Sawing Sycamore

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

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.