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
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
I'd like to have this done by Christmas, but only if the wood condition
Bob wrote:>My parents had a huge sycamore tree cut down in their yard years
Sorry about your Mom. You've got plenty for smallish boxes, and if it's been
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).
Work at your leisure!
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
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