How About Sycamore

sycamore treesHow often do you hear about manufacturers using sycamore in their production?  Not much if you are like most, but sycamore can be an excellent species choice in the right situation.

In the hardwood lumber industry, American sycamore, (Platanus occidentalis), can go by many names. We have heard it referred to as buttonwood, ghost tree, American planetree, water beech and even Virginia maple.  And that is not to be confused with our buyers from Europe who sometimes ask for a substitute for European Sycamore, which we would consider a maple since it comes from the acer pseudoplatanus family.

Traditionally American sycamore has been used from everything from draw boxes and crates to tool handles.  It is not a preferred material for hardwood flooring because it can be considered a little soft, but many manufactures will seek it out for mouldings & millwork, paneling kitchenware and butcher block applications.

Sycamores grow to be large trees.  They are often over a 100 feet in height and usually average three to eight feet in diameter. When harvested, they produce excellent sized logs. The above average log dimensions result in sycamore lumber regularly being produced with good average widths and a high percentage of long lengths ideal for many woodworking applications. 

The large average size of sycamore logs also lends itself to quartering.  When quartersawn, sycamore reveals a high degree of fleck which makes it very attractive and sought after for many applications, especially decorative veneers and paneling.

Sycamore is found in pockets throughout the Eastern United States, mostly in the central area and particularly in what is referred to as the Mississippi River Valley region.  Within the Baillie Group, several of our northern sawmills like Wagner Hardwoods, Greene Lumber and the Baillie Lumber Smyrna, NY sawmill occasionally cut sycamore. If this is something you are looking for please contact us for more information!

Tony C.
The Baillie Group
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