Hand Tools Archive

fork in the road...

David Weaver
What I recall visiting hearne was the word "english sycamore" and then "london plane tree".

It appears those are two different things. Acer pseudoplatanus (English sycamore) and a hybrid - acrerifolia platanus.

I couldn't tell you exactly what I planed except that I go to hearne, or used to, on Christmas Even when Rick was pretty much the only guy there. Not by design, that's just when I was on that side of the state -I've never seen the business in full swing. If I tried to say he told me that london plane tree and english sycamore are the same thing, there's a 99.99% chance that I just didn't understand what he was telling me.

Whatever it is that I have, it's similar planing to hard maple. Hearne has lots of stuff. For a guy walking in the door maybe thinking of spending about $400 on a few different species to try out in 8/4, you're often below the cost many of the wide shorts in a single board.

Once I found beech and rosewood supplies, I stopped going there (but no slighting of hearne - I found the owner and the dogs friendly and helpful - you know you're not looking for home depot cull wood when you go in there).

Long story short, I'd guess what I have isn't acer pseudoplatanus, but at the same time, I've not seen any hard maple that's any brighter than this board. It's almost like smooth wax across the endgrain, but it's at least as hard to plane across the end grain as american beech (fagus grandifolia). Had I not bought it, I would tell someone it was hard maple.

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