Would Sycamore Lumber be a Good Choice for Building a Pole Building?
Reader TRACY in SMITHFIELD writes:
“I’ve been given a lot of sycamore logs fairly newly cut. Would that be a good choice to use for building a pole building? I have read several different things and some say no because it has a spiral grain and one said yes but only if it is still green. So I’m getting a lot of yes and no and I’m not sure which to go with. Any info you could give me about using sycamore to build my pole building or the type of wood that would be a better choice would be greatly appreciated. thank you.”
Mike the Pole Barn Guru responds:
American sycamore is something of a sleeper as far as native hardwoods go. For years it was used as a secondary wood—for drawer sides, web frames, etc.—if it was processed into furniture-grade lumber at all. Often, sycamore wood has served more humbly for items not requiring high-grade stock, such as pallets. One reason is plainsawn sycamore doesn’t dry well, twisting and bowing significantly unless preventative measures are taken. Sycamore has little to no rot resistance and is very susceptible to insect attack. Sycamore is not a particularly strong wood to begin with, and once it begins to decay it can become brittle and weak.
Sycamore wood is used for many products. It’s solid, very durable and difficult to split.
People and companies use it for different types of furniture, including bed frames, headboards, dressers, and even countertops in homes. Sycamore wood can also be used for making hardwood floors.
Solid and stable, a sycamore wood cutting board among most popular choices among butchers and cooks for cutting meats and other food items. Sycamore boards are not as brittle and easy to break apart than cutting boards made of oak or maple. They are also common in kitchens as butcher blocks.
If you love woodworking or even whittling, sycamore wood is a good option for DIY projects and hobbies. It retains a hard-wearing edge great in quality, perfect for carved items. It also alleviates any concerns about durability.
You will be best served to sell your sycamore logs, rather than trying to build with lumber milled from them.
For structural framing members, best species are Douglas Fir, Canadian SPF (Spruce-Pine-Fir), Hem-Fir and Southern Pine. Whomever you order your fully engineered post frame building package from will have proper lumber specified by their engineer.