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English pedesals
MFA# 1984.111
Grey harewood (Dyed English sycamore)(Acer pseudo-platanus)
White harewood (English Sycamore) (Acer pseudo-platanus)


An unstandardized name use for the following timbers:

1) Sycamore maple or English sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). Harewood is a deciduous tree native to Europe that has a fine-grained, cream-colored wood. It is used for musical instruments, furniture, inlays and veneers.

2) West Indian Satinwood (Zanthoxylon flavuum). Satinwood has an irregular grain an a yellowish color that darkens as it ages.

Synonyms and Related Terms

1) Acer pseudoplatanus; sycamore maple, English sycamore; sicomoro, arce blanco (Esp.); padreiro (Port.); Sicomoro (It.); acero montano (It.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

1) Sycamore maple

  • Grows to heights of 35 m (115 ft).
  • The smooth, gray bark flakes when the tree is older.
  • Broad, 5-lobed palmate leaves have long leaf stalks.
  • The greenish yellow flowerheads dangle in panicles.
  • Seeds are winged and occur in pairs.
  • Sapwood is most commonly used - it is white to light brown; Heartwood is darker reddish brown
  • Grain is generally straight with a fine even texture
  • Rated as non-durable

Working Properties

  • Fairly easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though maple has a tendency to burn when being machined with high-speed cutters such as in a router.
  • Turns, glues, and finishes well, though blotches can occur when staining, and a pre-conditioner, gel stain, or toner may be necessary to get an even color.

Resources and Citations

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954

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