Making internal doors - Tulip Wood Vs Sycamore

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CrazyArsedMonkey

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Hello folks!

I am after some advice please - hoping to draw on people's experience :)

I have completed several projects with Tulip Wood, and I really enjoyed working with it. It cut well, finished well, and took paint nicely - exactly as I had read it would.

I have recently made some bandsaw reindeer out of sycamore logs I had been drying. I was impressed by the wood - the grain was nice and straight, the colourings were light, and it was quite easy to work to a nice finish - it reminded me of Tulip wood.

As Sycamore is native to the UK, it got me thinking that perhaps I should use it instead of Tulip wood in future projects (next up is 12 internal doors). Has anyone used British Sycamore for doors - if so, would you recommend it?

I have already done some research, so am fully aware that it is for internal use only (rots outside). Other than that, it seems like a sound alternative, but would love to benefit from experience before I invest several hundred pounds...

Door plans below - actually thinking about using loose tenons, will be more convenient, and less wasteful.

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Many thanks!
 
Sycamore is too nice if you are painting it. I would use tulipwood if you have some anyway or joinery grade redwood or southern yellow pine.
 
Sycamore is too nice if you are painting it. I would use tulipwood if you have some anyway or joinery grade redwood or southern yellow pine.
I need to buy one or t'other i am afraid. Seems crazy to ship wood half way round the world if a suitable alternative is already on our shores.

I have decided against pine, but hadn't considered Redwood - i will do some reading, thanks Ollie!
 
Tulipwood, or poplar as its known is quite soft and prone to cross grain scratching, which is a pain in the bum to sand oout. Also doors are traditionally through tenons, sometimes wedged. It's all about making a strong product.

Loose tenons are ok and easy to do on stiles, but on rails its a bit harder as you've got to find a way to hold the rail upright unless you have a machine that cuts horizontal slots, but either way its usually a lot extra faff.
 
Loose tenons are ok and easy to do on stiles, but on rails its a bit harder as you've got to find a way to hold the rail upright unless you have a machine that cuts horizontal slots, but either way its usually a lot extra faff.
As all the doors will be the same width, I was planning on making a snug router jig to ensure vertical mortices in all pieces. I will then thickness the loose tenons to fit properly.

It may be necessary to pin the tennons on either end, i will decide on this during assembly of the 1st door. I was hoping that decent glue, coupled with well prepared tenons would provide strong enough joints.

Am i barking up the wrong proverbial tree?!

Thanks for the replies!
 
How stable is Sycamore to the joint lines opening up. The Tulipwood is VERY stable. I use an acrylic eggshell paint finish over everything I have made with it and cannot recall any joint line showing.
With modern adhesives I've never resorted to through tenons, typically making the joint about 2/3 rds the depth of the timber on the side verticals.

Colin
 
How stable is Sycamore to the joint lines opening up. The Tulipwood is VERY stable. I use an acrylic eggshell paint finish over everything I have made with it and cannot recall any joint line showing.

Colin
Agree Colin - Tulipwood gives excellent results!

I am also curious about the stability of Sycamore - this thread is seeking advice from anyone who has built furniture/doors from Sycamore 👍
 
I have always used "tulip wood", we called it poplar in Ireland and Toulipier here in Italy to make internal doors. Stable, easy to work and takes paint well.
 
If you decide to use Sycamore make sure you ask for CND (colour no defect) Sycamore it should be a lot cheaper, same wood just not so pretty.
 
If you decide to use Sycamore make sure you ask for CND (colour no defect) Sycamore it should be a lot cheaper, same wood just not so pretty.
Top tip - thanks Chrispy! I like of idea of using locally sourced materials, so will price some CND up, see how it compares...
 
I like a good old traditional full length wedged tenon but loose tenons will be okay. If you go down the loose tenon route might be worth getting a Domino XL? The Domino is expensive but if you are making 12 doors it will save loads of time and it won't lose much value if you sell it when the job is done.

I've never used Sycamore so can't comment on that but if the doors are painted I would be tempted to use MDF for the panels.
 
The few times I have used Sycamore I have found it frustratingly " cotton wooly" to machine and rout. to the extent of getting fluffy areas irrespective of the direction of machining. My experience, however, has been with thinner stock, so I have no idea how dimensionally stable it is in thicker sections.
To put it in perspective: Sycamore has been in use for centuries - even millennia - but to date - I have never seen it used for domestic joinery. Perhaps there is a good reason for this. :giggle:
 
I have used poplar, sycamore, maple and aspen - all from the same family but they are very different. For a painted door poplar is probably the optimum wood as it is relatively cheap and takes a finish well. Even if you buy sycamore there is no guarantee it is grown in the UK.
For 12 doors I would definitely invest in a profile and scribe router bit set which are only about £30 these days. It will save days of routing mortices and the joints are virtually self squaring. I am assuming you have a router table and 1/2 " router. :rolleyes:
 
I have only used Sycamore and Tulip wood for painted kitchen cupboard doors/drawer fronts and plant on frames, and to be honest if I pulled a either piece out of my wood rack It would be difficult to tell them apart.

IIRC I did find sycamore "stringy" when being planed, and as has been said a bit
" cotton wooly"

Would I use Sycamore for painted internal doors, my simple answer is no, I'd probably choose to use joinery grade Redwood, far more of a range of stock sizes and suppliers.

I also noted your suggestion that:
before I invest several hundred pounds...
I'd guess you'll need to buy at least 2 cu ft if not more, with wastage, for each of your door "frames", not including the panels, and at probably +£40.00 a cu ft you could be spending close to £100.00 a door unless you have a good priced supplier already lined up.

I'm with @Doug71 using trad joinery for doors, I accept the trend is for "loose" tenon joinery bit I stick with the methods I know work.

I would definitely invest in a profile and scribe router bit set which are only about £30 these days. It will save days of routing mortices and the joints are virtually self squaring
Sorry, @recipio, not a solution I would advocate for this type of door.
 
I have only used Sycamore and Tulip wood for painted kitchen cupboard doors/drawer fronts and plant on frames, and to be honest if I pulled a either piece out of my wood rack It would be difficult to tell them apart.
This surprises me, the Sycamore I have used has been much harder than tulipwood, very like Maple really.
Its one of my favourite woods with curly patterns and chatoyance.

Ollie
 
Fantastic replies folks, thank you very much for your time and opinions!

I will run the figures for Tulipwood vs Redwood vs Sycamore - cost will be a prime factor as there are several other projects we want to do in 2024.

Thanks again!
 
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