Finishing Quarter Sawn Sycamoe


I need some finishing suggestions for some quarter sawn sycamore. The guy I bought it from said not to use oil - it muddies the grain. He suggested shellac, possibly with Transtint dye if more color was needed.
I'll be using this wood for the panels in a sideboard that I want to build and really want to show off the beautiful grain this stuff has.
Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
TIA
Scott in KC
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Scott Lemonds wrote:

Hi Scott,
I know a cabinet maker who uses all of the sycamore he can get for drawer sides. He says it's better than poplar and looks tons better. He likes the rays, that kind of prismatic effect of the wood grain, so, he shoots it all with clear laquer. That seems to preserve the grain and the rays he is so obsessed with. It yellows with time, probably not the finish you want though.
Tom in KY, checking out a few rays myself today, rays of sunshine that is. While it's still around.
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Sam Talarico of Talarico Harwoods uses Waterlox and it is beautiful.
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Do you have some scraps to experiment with? My experience is that Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) will highlight the grain, not diminish it. I have had good results with BLO/Shellac combinations on several projects although none with sycamore. Seems around here, and in general, that finish preferences are widely varied. Everyone has their favorite. You may get lots of differing opinions. None are right and yet they all are right. Bottom line - pick what finish you like the look of, experiment and pick one that is suitable for the intended purpose of the piece.
Merry Christmas

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My family's home has a couple of walls of sycamore paneling - was finished with varnish about 50 years ago - it has yellowed slightly and some of the boards have a faint green cast - rather nice appearance.
The nicest wood we have is a couple walls of sassafras - beautiful exotic grain on this wood. Had to be filled as the grain was quite open.
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Oil finishes usually highlight grain. Semi-gloss finishes, whether oil- or water-based, will obscure it somewhat; matte finishes will obscure it a lot.
I've achieved good results on QS sycamore with Arm-R-Seal (an oil-poly blend).

It *is* beautiful, isn't it? Love it.

Try several different finishes on scraps and see which you like best.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Having a woodcutter come over between now and New Years to drop a sycamore. The tree has been throwing limbs at the neighbors and hit one of thier cars. Well better the car than a kid. Sorry to see the tree go but the wood will be put to good use. Anybody know if one can obtain sycamore veneered plywood?
regards 9 Finger Jer
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Sycamore is relatively soft and open pored. My personal preference is a sealer of thinned blonde shellac, then build up the finish with coats of shellac which you can tint with aniline dyes if desired. Bugs
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