English Sycamore Experience

Will be getting 200 bf of 4/4 S3S QS English Sycamore soon. This is Acer Pseudoplatanus in the maple family and not the American sycamore, which is apparently much less stabile. English sycamore is the stuff often used for violin backs. It's tangential expansion is 5/5% and radial value is 2.5% - pretty stabile.
Anyone out there played with this stuff? if so any problems and tips to solve them? I'm thinking of using it for kitchen cabinets - raised panel doors - to be done on a router table.
charlie b
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charlie b wrote:

European sycamore for instruments, IMHE English would be a bit low-end (but I'm no luthier)

Lots of it. It's not a common plantation timber, but there's a lot of odd trees to be had as urban clearance and storm damage. Pretty stuff with an attractive and small-scale figure, so I keep using it for small boxes and the like.
You'll be wanting a scraper plane to finish it. Oils are a definite good idea in finishing too - you want something to draw out the figure before you slather a film over the top.
Seems pretty stable as timber, even when thicker than instrument bodies.
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I've made a welsh dresser out of Sycamore, and I'm in England, so I guess it was English.
I did have some problems with it. In particular I made lower cupboard doors, that twisted after I made them up (and before I put in the panels). Probably only about 5mm out of true, but I had to put in magnetic latches to keep the door shut.
Having said that, its a lovely piece of furnature, and having managed to match the grain on the surrounds of the drawer fronts, with the drawer front itself, I love the look of the grain.
The furnature has proven very durable. I finished it off with three layers (properly sanded / wire wolled between layers) of varnish, as I was starting a family and I felt I needed a tough surface.
Good luck!

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PS. I used a router, table mounted, plus a wood rat. It was fine.
No regrets.

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