WOOD ID POSTER:
co-created by, and sponsored by, HobbitHouse


240 woods on a poster (24"x36")


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SYCAMORE

Platanus spp.



An illustrated discussion on the confusion among the names
lacewood, leopardwood, planetree, sycamore, silky oak and others




my samples: (colors are all accurate):


plank and closeup


pair of planks and a closeup


small plank and end grain. The intracies of the pattern show more clearly if you expand the side-on picture.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above --- color is too dark; should be more like the update directly below but slightly more pale:


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank sold to me as sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- because this piece is flat cut, the characteristic flakes which show up so well in quartersawn pieces are so tiny on the faces of this piece that you have to go to the 2nd enlargement to see them clearly. Sycamore planks are not normally knotty, but getting a sample plank with a knot in it is about par for the course when buying samples directly from the IWCS.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of flat cut sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of flat cut sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. All the pics of this piece have a slight pink tint which is not in the wood.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of flat cut sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


quartersawn surface of one edge of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of rift cut American sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Because the piece is rift cut, the characteristic ray flakes on the face are very small.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of "quartersawn" sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Although listed as quartersawn, this is really rift cut, so the ray flakes that are so strong on ACTUAL quartersawn pieces are tiny here.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of "quartersawn" sycamore / Platanus occidentalis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Although listed as quartersawn, this is really rift cut, so the ray flakes that are so strong on ACTUAL quartersawn pieces are tiny here.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of California sycamore / Platanus racemosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I don't know if the stain throughout this piece is blue stain or mineral stain, but I'm guessing it's blue stain.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of California / Platanus racemosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. I assume the dark areas are blue stain.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Arizona sycamore / Platanus wrightii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Arizona sycamore / Platanus wrightii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above. A perfect example of boxed pith.


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


a reasonably good showing of the ray figure that is typical


both sides and end grain of a plank contributed by Chris Arvidson, whom I thank for this and other contributions. The ray flakes are there, but they are tiny and you have to go to the 2nd enlargement to see them clearly.


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


the same plank as directly above but moistened with water.


small plank and end grain


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


several views of a turning stick, also contributed by Chris Arvidson --- unfortunately the end grain just doesn't show up.


same stick as directly above --- a two-side view both dry and moistened with water


both sides of a plank


closeups of the plank directly above


both sides of a plank


end grain shots of the plank directly above


end grain closeups of the plank directly above


both sides of a plank


end grain and end grain closeup of the plank directly above


both sides of a plank and a closeup


two sides of a plank


3 planks and a closeup


small plank and end grain --- this was cut from the middle of the 3 plank shown directly above


end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


pair of planks


closeup from the pair directly above


plank


plank


plank with what appears to be (I'm not positive) wide sapwood with bluestain


closeup from the plank directly above


quartersawn plank and end grain --- color has just a hint of orange that is not in the wood


end grain closeup of the piece directly above


planks


both sides of a small piece that I got in a mixed lot --- HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a little piece that was sent to me for identification. On these pics and on the ones below, HUGE enlargements are present


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above.


large slab (about 4' wide by 10' long) that I shot at a craft studio, and a closeup. This piece nicely exemplifies that on a really large flat cut piece, the angle of cut at the edges can still be close to quarterawn even when the middle is pretty far from the pith, thus the rays at the edge of this piece


I have read that freshly cut sycamore frequently exhibits a red or pinkish color that fades quickly as the planks dry, but I have never seen, or even heard of, such as spectacular example as this one submitted by Bart Bisscheroux from Holland (where sycamore is called "plataan" which I believe probably corresponds to the British name "plane"). At any rate, thank you very much, Bart. This log is about 12 feet long and 4 1/2 feet in diameter. Bart reports that the red color, spectacular though it is (and he was surprized by it as well), did fade rather quickly to a much more sedate pink.


a burl section from the log directly above. The pink/red of this freshly exposed burl faded to a mild pink.


another plank pic submitted by Bart (see the red log directly above) to show the contrast between normal freshly cut sycamore, which does show some pink, and the red log which is just amazing.


veneer --- this is the "planetree" variety, which is what one of the sycamore species is called in England/Europe. I believe it is probably Platanus orientalis. This pic has just a shade too much red.


veneer with rays that are larger than what I normally expect in sycamore. The color is one of those yellow shades that defy my best efforts at color correction ... the actual wood is off-white with a yellow tint, not TOO far from what you see here but definitely with a little more yellow.



The Wood Book pics


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
sycamore (Platanus occidentalis, also listed as buttonwood, buttonball, and planetree) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn, end grain
California sycamore (Platanus racemosa) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views


flat cut, quartersawn (actually, more like rift cut judging from the small flakes), end grain
Arizona sycamore (Platanus wrightii) from The Wood Book --- both levels of enlargement are available for each of the 3 views



web pics: --- colors are highly suspect in many instances


Three kinds of sycamore: sycamore / Platanus occidentalis, Arizona sycamore / Platanus wrightii, and California sycamore / Platanus racemosa


planks --- these colors seem reasonable


planks and a couple of closeups, the second of which shows some nice black-line spalting. I think the colors are a little too red on these pics.


freshly cut log section showing some of the pink one frequently finds in fresh wood


plank with both wet and dry sections


flat cut planks


quartersawn planks


planks


both sides of a slab with a crotch section --- both enlargements are present


both sides of a slab


planks and closeup


plank and closeup --- colors seem too red


planks and a closeup


plank with a color that is just outrageous (impossible)


plank and closeup


plank and closeup


moistened plank


bookmatched quartersawn planks


turning squares --- orange color seems unlikely


unseasoned turning squares still showing some of the red/pink that sometimes occurs in fresh cut sycamore


one of those web shots that I just can't resist putting in to show how badly wood is sometimes shown on the web. I have no idea where this yellow came from, but I'm confident it didn't come from the wood.


fairly rare ambrosia sycamore


plank affected by the Columbian Timber Beetle, which, based on the appearance of the resulting stain, must be one of the many species of beetle that are generically called ambrosia beetles


advertised as "lacewing" sycamore, but I really don't see any distinction, and the orange color is unlikely


American sycamore, two planks, a veneer sheet, a flat cut plank and a quartersawn plank, all with color that is likely too red/orange


pen blanks --- color looks good to me


scales


turning stock


figured American sycamore veneer


European sycamore, a burl and a curly piece


European, a quartersawn piece and a flat cut piece


European veneer


quartersawn, a plank and a veneer sheet


burls


veneer just listed as sycamore


veneer, all from the same vendor


veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement available --- these are from the same vendor as the set directly above.


cluster burl veneer


burl veneer


figured veneer


numerous samples of "Planetree" sycamore veneer. This is the English designation for one of the subspecies of sycamore, which I think is Platanus orientalis.


planetree sycamore veneer (probably Platanus orientalis) closeups


"Planetree" veneer (probably Platanus orientalis) from a vendor whose pics make many woods appear green regardless of the true color of the wood


"planetree" (probably Platanus orientalis) burl and turning stock from burl


"planetree" burl veneer


English burl veneer


this is the kind of "sycamore" that is actually maple even though the British call it sycamore --- see the "hard maple" page for more




a sycamore bowl




book-match spalted planks


spalted planks


spalted plank with color that is unlikely. Spalt lines don't really show up clearly until the 2nd enlargment


a set of spalted planks and a closeup. The first pic is dry wood, the 2nd pic is with the wood moistented with mineral spirits. Both pics are WAY too red, and this is typical of this somewhat dishonest vendor. The closeup is a much more realistic color.


another set of spalted planks from the vendor who makes her pics too red.


misc spalted pieces


spalted turning stock and end grain of same


spalted pieces and end grain of same


spalted turning stock


spalted pen blanks


a hollow form, a box, and a vase made from spalted sycamore


spalted sycamore bowl --- pic submitted by Bill Mudry


bowls


spalted sycamore bowls


rough-turned bowl blank