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Author Topic: Staining a Sycamore stock  (Read 3679 times)
40Haines
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« on: February 21, 2009, 03:07:52 PM »

Sorry guys, there used to be some info here on this subject.

Can't seem to find it now.

In a couple weeks I will be staining a Sycamore stock on the current project.

I just wanted to see if there was anybodies experience to build on before I start my test strips.

This would be good - Maybe a little darker

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Metalshaper
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2009, 07:11:08 PM »

THAT is my Buddy's Gun.. Search for posts by MRW, to find his profile and send him a PM.. IF you have trouble locating it.. hit me a note offline,, and I'll give you his e-mail addy.

and to up the ante a bit.. I'll send him a note, to come in here and find you!  Wink

That should do it, I think???

Respect Always
Metalshaper
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 08:13:19 PM »

I'd be curious to know what your thoughts are on working sycamore, and which type of sycamore it was.  American sycamore - the big flaky white trees along streets and riverbanks?  Or Euopean 'sycamore' which is something a bit different I think?  Have seen some wild english 'sycamore' which is also sold as curly english maple.  Huh
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Acer Saccharum
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 09:08:31 PM »

Sycamore and maple are related, I believe. American Sycamore is also called buttonwood, for its delicious woodturning attribute. I think the English variety is called Plane tree, or something like that. http://www.2020site.org/trees/plane.html
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40Haines
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 12:38:46 AM »

I have had this blank for 30years or more and it was old when I got it.

It is infact American Sycamore, 1/4 sawn

I believe some call it lacewood but I think that is a western US variety.

The wood cuts really well (Bandsaw-Router).

Your hand tools need to be very very sharp and you work pretty slowly.

Splintering has not been a problem.

I tried a little carving on a scrap piece and the wood goes from hard to soft to hard very quickly and I am afraid of a lot of chipping with the detail work so there won't be much carving going on, I wish I was a better carver, but, have learned to live with my short cumin's

I was thinking of using tea (source of Tanic acid) and then fuming the wood with ammonia but I don't think it will bring out enough pop in the wood.

I have been told AF will make it to dark and vinegar/iron is just about perfect.

I think first I will just try a sample with 4-5 coats of Tung oil and use that for a base line and go from there.

I like to use 5-6 coats of highly diluted LMF stains and have had good results going that route, but to be honest, you really don't know how that will end up - although it always looks pretty.

With some help from the members, a little luck and some crossed fingers it will turn out just fine.

The next project I plan to see what happens when you use a 400 year old piece of elm - but first things first.

Thanks guys !

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George F.
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 08:06:46 PM »

I was told at a lumber yard that deals with just about all species of wood, both exotic and domestic, that Lacewood was a sort of Austriallian oak.   ...Geo.
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Stophel
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 03:41:27 PM »

American Sycamore wood doesn't look like English sycamore, which looks all the world like maple.

On a TV show, the guy was turning a wooden bowl.  He said the wood was sycamore, and I thought, "That ain't sycamore, that's curly maple, sycamore is orangey with zillions of rays", but then he said it was English sycamore, which is something else.
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I'm sorry, I thought we were building flintlocks...not fiberglass stocked, tactical bolt action sniper rifles.
Acer Saccharum
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 05:05:46 PM »

I looked up in my tree book, and then forgot almost everything except that: English sycamore has 'acer' in its Latin name, because the leaves look like maple leaves. So it's not a relative, just a look-alike in the leaf department.

Stoph, you going to Dixon's? I'll share a sixer of Yueglings with ya. Oh, please say yes.

(here we go again)

Dixon's......huzzay! Hurrah!

Acer
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Stophel
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 05:17:54 PM »

I really don't think I'm going to be able to this year.  I would like to, though.
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I'm sorry, I thought we were building flintlocks...not fiberglass stocked, tactical bolt action sniper rifles.
MRW
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 10:10:02 AM »

Ok finally had the cyber police get this site unblock , they installed a new filter and it got all of my BP sites blocked, you know how it is in schools we sure wouldn't want kids to be able to research a worthwhile hobby and develop interests in something other than Xbox games. Anyway that pic is of my UH rifle and the stock is plain old Kansas sycamore that is 1/4 sawn. I have made two stock from this plank the first one was for a mule ear rifle for my son which i stained with a tar paint thinner stain which looked ok but I then redid somethings on the rifle and the second time used aqua fortis on it which is what the UH has on it as well I'll try and post some more pics of the stocks as soon as I can acess photobucket which is also blocked where I have the pics stored
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Robert Wolfe
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 10:10:17 AM »

OK. In England "sycamore" or "sycamore maple" is Acer pseudoplatanus (a true maple). American sycamore is Platanus occidenatlis. In Europe, the genus Platanus (our sycamore) is called "plane tree." Note the species name of the sycamore maple is "false plane tree".

This is why scientists use fixed latin names rather than variable common names. I know, more than you wanted to know!
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Robert Wolfe
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 11:22:28 AM »

I have used american sycamore on a knife handle and stained it with Feibings leather dye--worked for me. 
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Mike Roberts, Louisiana Territory
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 01:32:57 PM »

I have seen where traditional hand tool makers refered to "plane tree" wood (American Sycamore) as an "unfortunate" choice of wood to make wood planes out of...that scared me out of ever trying it for much...but what gives? Why the name if it wont make suitable planes? Sure would like to know the deal...( no pun intended...I know "deal" is English pine right?)
TCA
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MRW
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2009, 01:59:56 PM »

I am guessing here but plain probably means what it looks like plank sawn. Unless you 1/4 saw it  straight grained sycamore has about zero grain pattern just look at the inside of a old set of dresser drawers and look how plain that wood is most of it is sycamore
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Stophel
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2009, 03:22:47 PM »

Pallet makers around here use Sycamore a good bit.  Pretty much it ain't used for anything else.  Light orange-ish color, FULL of rays and rather gaudy.
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I'm sorry, I thought we were building flintlocks...not fiberglass stocked, tactical bolt action sniper rifles.
rich pierce
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« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2009, 03:25:14 PM »

Nice thing about sycamore is it doesn't split easily for awood of medium hardness (about like red maple, maybe a little softer than some red maple).  I've tried splitting it for firewood and it's a challenge.
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Ben I. Voss
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2009, 10:11:00 PM »

I remember reading an article in a gun magazine back in the seventies(?) about a guy who built a five or six pound 458 magnum bolt action and used sycamore for the stock because he said it wouldn't split under that type of recoil- don't know about that, but obviously he had no nerve endings in his upper body!!
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Dpeck
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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2009, 06:53:01 AM »

If splitting were a problem one can go to elm also.  I cut enough firewood to vouch for that.  As we do not have any Sycamore in my country I cannot say much about it.  As for an alternative wood, I still look at some Aspen firewood chunks that have curl in them that makes a builder drool.  Have been considering working one out for a gunstock, even if they are a little soft.  Would make a nice squirrel rifle maybe?

DP
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rich pierce
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2009, 09:06:36 AM »

Alternative stock woods are usually alternative woods for good reasons.  Aspen is too soft.  It would dent very easily even if it was possible to inlet well into such a soft wood.  It would be much more likely to break if you fell with it etc.

Dimensional stability is another factor important in guns- resistance to warping and swelling and contracting with changes in moisture, etc.

When considering alternative woods for gunstocking, it's good to see what the wood is normally used for.    A gunstock is a tool handle, perhaps, and so a wood strong enough for a tool handle is a good place to start, then look at the other characteristics of the wood.
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2009, 03:08:46 PM »

Anybody used Hornbeam or Hophornbeam?  I know it's supposed to be wickedly hard.  I've never seen it...well, I've seen it plenty while still in tree form, I've never seen the wood though.  What does it look like?  I can imagine it's probably pretty plain white...

I've seen persimmon (looks like really plain, light colored coarse walnut), and it apparently was used on occasion.  Supposedly, mulberry makes a decent stock wood, but I've never seen it either.  I'm told it is kinda yellowish colored wood.

 Huh
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Robby
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« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2009, 03:18:37 PM »

I have used hop hornbeam for bows. It is a pretty, plain, nondescript, pale, white. Tough as all get out. I have never seen a tree big enough to make a gun stock, seems like it would be a little heavy too, maybe they get a bigger diameter in warmer climes.
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2009, 03:27:48 PM »

Never saw a hornbeam much bigger than 4" dia around here.

Hickory, grows really well here in the NE.
How about Yellow Birch? That's a great hardwood, probably work nicely for a military jaeger.
Red, Sugar, Silver maple abound.

I guess you have to look at what wood was available in the region where your gun was originally built, if you are following historical precedent.
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2009, 03:29:08 PM »

Maybe Holly. Anybody ever try that?

Basswood is soft, along with Poplar. They would work if that's all you had.
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rich pierce
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2009, 03:46:06 PM »

Many woods that might otherwise be suitable are not often used because good sized sawlogs are not available in quantity.  Other woods are hard to work or are plain (which is fine for military guns).  Red elm might be a good stock wood in many ways, for example, but the interlocking grain makes it hard to work.  I am making a yoke out of elm and it is a pain to work compared to some other hardwoods.  But it probably will never split.

here's a good site for some physical properties of different woods.  Most stock woods have specific gravities of .45-.60.
http://www.woodbin.com/ref/wood/strength_table.htm

Tree Species   SG   Elasticity (E)       Compress. Parallel    Compress. Perpen.     Max Shear Strength
   (0-1.0)   10^6 psi      psi   psi   psi


Alder, Red   0.41   1.38      5,820   440   1,080
Ash, Black                   0.49   1.60      5,970   760   1,570
Ash, Blue                   0.58   1.40      6,980   1,420   2,030
Ash, Green   0.56   1.66      7,080   1,310   1,910
Ash, Oregon   0.55   1.36      6,040   1,250   1,790
Ash, White   0.60   1.74      7,410   1,160   1,910
Aspen, Bigtooth   0.39   1.43      5,300   450   1,080
Aspen, Quaking   0.38   1.18      4,250   370   850
Basswood   0.37   1.46      4,730   370   990
Beech, American   0.64   1.72      7,300   1,010   2,010
Birch, Paper   0.55   1.59      5,690   600   1,210
Birch, Sweet   0.65   2.17      8,540   1,080   2,240
Birch, Yellow   0.62   2.01      8,170   970   1,880
Butternut                   0.38   1.18      5,110   460   1,170
Cherry, Black   0.50   1.49      7,110   690   1,700
Chestnut, American   0.43   1.23      5,320   620   1,080
Cottonwood,    0.34   1.1      4,020   300   790
Cottonwood, Black   0.35   1.27      4,500   300   1,040
Elm, Eastern   0.40   1.37      4,910   380   930
Elm, American   0.50   1.34      5,520   690   1,510
Elm, Rock                   0.63   1.54      7,050   1,230   1,920
Elm, Slippery   0.53   1.49      6,360   820   1,630
Hackberry   0.53   1.19      5,440   890   1,590
Hickory, Bitternut   0.66   1.79      9,040   1,680   -
Hickory, Nutmeg   0.6   1.70      6,910   1,570   -
Hickory, Pecan   0.66   1.73      7,850   1,720   2,080
Hickory, Water   0.62   2.02      8,600   1,550   -
Hickory, Mockernut   0.72   2.22      8,940   1,730   1,740
Hickory, Pignut   0.75   2.26      9,190   1,980   2,150
Hickory, Shagbark   0.72   2.16      9,210   1,760   2,430
Hickory, Shellbark   0.69   1.89      8,000   1,800   2,110
Honeylocust   -   1.63      7,500   1,840   2,250
Locust, Black   0.69   2.05      10,180   1,830   2,480
Magnolia                  0.48   1.82      6,310   570   1,340
Magnolia, Southern   0.50   1.40      5,460   860   1,530
Maple, Bigleaf   0.48   1.45      5,950   750   1,730
Maple, Black   0.57   1.62      6,680   1,020   1,820
Maple, Red   0.54   1.64      6,540   1,000   1,850
Maple, Silver   0.47   1.14      5,220   740   1,480
Maple, Sugar   0.63   1.83      7,830   1,470   2,330
Oak, Black   0.61   1.64      6,520   930   1,910
Oak, Cherrybark   0.68   2.28      8,740   1,250   2,000
Oak, Laurel   0.63   1.69      6,980   1,060   1,830
Oak, Northern Red   0.63   1.82      6,760   1,010   1,780
Oak, Pin                   0.63   1.73      6,820   1,020   2,080
Oak, Scarlet   0.67   1.91      8,330   1,120   1,890
Oak, Southern Red   0.59   1.49      6,090   870   1,390
Oak, Water   0.63   2.02      6,770   1,020   2,020
Oak, Willow   0.69   1.90      7,040   1,130   1,650
Oak, Bur                   0.64   1.03      6,060   1,200   1,820
Oak, Chestnut   0.66   1.59      6,830   840   1,490
Oak, Live                   0.88   1.98      8,900   2,840   2,660
Oak, Overcup   0.63   1.42      6,200   810   2,000
Oak, Post                   0.67   1.51      6,600   1,430   1,840
Oak, Swamp Chestnut   0.67   1.77      7,270   1,110   1,990
Oak, Swamp White   0.72   2.05      8,600   1,190   2,000
Oak, White   0.68   1.78      7,440   1,070   2,000
Sassafras                   0.46   1.12      4,760   850   1,240
Sweetgum   0.52   1.64      6,320   620   1,600
Sycamore, American   0.49   1.42      5,380   700   1,470
Tupelo, Black   0.50   1.20      5,520   930   1,340
Tupelo, Water   0.50   1.26      5,920   870   1,590
Walnut, Black   0.55   1.68      7,580   1,010   1,370
Willow, Black   0.39   1.01      4,100   430   1,250
Yellow-poplar   0.42   1.58      5,540   500   1,190
                    
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St. Louis, Missouri
Stophel
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Chris Immel


« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2009, 04:17:57 PM »

Holly and dogwood both I think have been used to imitate ivory for inlays/veneer work.  Supposedly both are super hard and tight grained and off white.

I don't know how much good Elm is available anymore, after Dutch Elm Disease....

The Swedes used elm quite a bit, and probably most of the Swedish guns I have seen (pictures) of were stocked in elm.  The English used elm on rare occasions too.  The Germans used European walnut almost exclusively, but sometimes you see maple, ash, and pear wood used.  On military guns, they would use plain maple and beech (though I've read that the gunsmiths HATED using beech...I certainly don't like working with it!) along with walnut.

The Spanish seem to have really liked to use maple.  Lots of Spanish guns stocked in maple.  I think their walnut is generally pretty coarse, so they didn't like to use it much on nice guns.  I have an old Oveido Spanish Mauser that is stocked in what I presume to be walnut.  Very coarse, plain wood, though it is hard and rather heavy.
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I'm sorry, I thought we were building flintlocks...not fiberglass stocked, tactical bolt action sniper rifles.
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