sycamore tree trunk - what to do

My parents had a huge sycamore tree cut down in their yard years ago. My Dad saved a piece of the trunk - 12+ inches in diameter, 18 inches long. Well, my Mom died in June and my Dad cannot live alone. So my siblings and I have been going through the family possessions and getting the house ready to sell. I found that tree trunk in the garage and thought it would be really nice to make something from it for my Dad - something to remember Mom and remember the house. The trunk has been sitting out there for probably 4 or 5 years. And I have a new, honking 18" Jet bandsaw that is aching for a new project.
So, before I go cutting away, what do I need to know about cutting up this trunk and drying it if necessary so that I end up with whatever wood I do to make something? That "something" will probably be a dovetailed box, as he doesn't have much room where he is staying. Plus, it's something he'd use every day.
I'd like to have this done by Christmas, but only if the wood condition permits it.
Thanks.
Bob
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Bob wrote:>My parents had a huge sycamore tree cut down in their yard years ago. My

4-5 years since felling, go ahead and slice the outermost as a start, about 3-4 inches. Let that set for a couple weeks, and then get going on the box(es). Handsawn? Tom Work at your leisure!
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This is a great thing to do for your father, and for the family.
Sycamore seems to look best when quartersawn, revealing really nice flake pattern. I have some which was given me by a friend, from a street tree that needed to come out. It's on the list for this winter's projects, for something like this.
So the first cut is end to end, through the pith, using something to make the rip cut. A chain saw comes to mind, but so does a good sharp handsaw. A nice flat surface to take to the bandsaw is what you're after, but this cut will also tell you how badly the log may have checked, cracked, split or rotted. I have no idea how well sycamore will split, if approached with a wedge and sledge hammer, although that's an option.
Thereafter, it's just bandsaw work. You probably have a book which describes quartersawing, and you'll want to put a pretty aggressive blade on the bandsaw, like you would use for resawing.
Worst case, you have firewood. Best case, you have what you're after. There's a photo of a great sycamore box in Doug Stowe's recent Complete Illustrated Guide to Box making that will be an inspiration for you to finish this project.
Take pictures. Ask questions. Spend as much time as you can with your dad.
Patriarch
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