Penetrating finish for sycamore

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Established Member
5 Nov 2004
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I know there have been a couple of threads on finishing sycamore recently (inc one I started) and through infromation that I have received from JasonB , Chris (waterhead) etc I am happy that there is a non yellowing surface coat out there eg Barfords aquacote.

However, I also want to use a finish that will penetrate the timber eg oil which doesn't then yellow. I have tried Chestnut's Finishing oil on some small test pieces but it went far too yellow for my liking. I have thought that White polish might be the answer but I have no experience in applying that and don't know whether it has to be built up like a French polish or can be just rubbed on like an oil finish.

I'm not sure I want to do a massive amount of bleaching either - the sycamore I have is very white.

What other alternatives are there for penetrating finish?

Any help as usual gratefully received.


Hi Tim

White Polish is a french polish and should be applied as such for the best results.

If Finishing Oil is too amber for you (and ours is one of the lighter ones!) then I'd suggest our Lemon Oil, which is virtually clear. It's a very low-build finish and will only give a soft sheen - I'm not sure if you were looking for a gloss finish.
Of course I'm not sure what you intend to finish and whether this is a suitable finish but if you were considering Finishing Oil then I'm assuming that it would be.
Thanks Terry,

It was more a speculative question rather than for a specific project since I like using oil finishes. I was surprised how dark the Finishing oil turned it although I think its a great product.

So really what i'm after is a penetrating finish that will make the most of the grain ie Ripple as well as ordinary while giving some protection. My pref is for a softer sheen anyway so would Lemon oil be the answer? Dees it have the same 'protection' properties as Finishing oil?


Hi Tim


Okay, sorry... :) I reckon that the Lemon Oil will meet all of your requirements; it has much the same qualities as Finishing Oil although we don't really recommend it for exterior use.
If you have a look at there are some examples of sycamore bowls, which to the best of my knowledge have been finished with Lemon Oil.

I hope this helps.