Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: er, Ives?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,749

    er, Ives?

    Could you explain a couple of things about burls to me? How rare are they? If I went into a tract of boreal forest, how long could I expect to look for one? I understand they can get very, very large. Are they difficult to work? Most people who talk about them seem to be turners, but can you do flatwork with them? Is it possible to remove a burl from a tree without killing the tree?

    I have to admit I've been in a lot of woods but I don't remember ever seeing a burl, but then, I've never been looking for one.

    Thanks for any clarification of my muddification.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,014
    My knowledge on burls is somewhat limited, but I'll toss out a few answers as I understand things, and let others correct me if I'm wrong.

    Despite the dictionary definitions, as I see it there are two kinds of burls. One is the true burl, which is a growth on the trunk or a branch of a tree. I've heard it referred to as "tree cancer" since it's an unruly group of cells growing abnormally, resulting in wood with a wild, varied grain pattern. The other is a root burl, which is generally the twisty. knotty, wild-grained portion of the tree at or a bit below the ground level (depending on the particular tree). So to my way of thinking, "burl" wood can be from either of these two sources. There is often other wild-grained wood in the crotches of trees, too, but I wouldn't consider it a "burl".

    Assuming you're asking about a true burl, their rarity will vary from one species to another and one location to another. In some forests they can be nearly impossible to find, and in others they'll be more common. I have no idea why it varies, but just that it does. The very large ones are indeed rare, but I'll bet if you walked around most forests looking for burls, you'd see some small ones pretty quickly.

    A lot of burl wood is used in flatwork, but it's often veneer instead of solid wood. Burls are usually too small mill lumber of any substantial length from them. But a single board foot of lumber can make quite a few dollars worth of veneer. I've also seen pieces of solid burl used on smaller work like jewelry boxes and such. Some burl is very stable as it dries, and other species move a lot. The wild grain can make the movement pretty unpredictable. Burls also vary quite a bit in hardness. Cutting maple burl is easy as butter compared to something like mallee or manzanita burls. Some burls can also be pretty punky and rotten inside, especially if they have been on a dead tree for a while.

    I believe removing a large burl from the trunk a tree will almost always kill it. I would think one growing on a branch could be removed (along with the branch) without killing the tree.

    That my
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,749
    Thanks! that's very helpful. The hardest woods we've got locally would be maple and oak in various varieties. Maybe in the sppring I'll look for some Crown Land forest and see what I can see.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,251
    Roger not sure if you have ever been to Penetanguishene North of Barrie but the Awenda provincial park is in that area.

    Here is what a burl looks like on a tree.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Burl Awenda reduced.jpg 
Views:	6 
Size:	99.9 KB 
ID:	72131Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Burl Awenda 2 reduced.jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	96.1 KB 
ID:	72132

    I only really woke up to what they were when i began learning what burl was in wood. Now i had desires of carrying a chainsaw with me but its not allowed in a Provincial park.

    Once you see one you see them all over.
    cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Posts
    4,698
    And sometimes the burl takes over the whole tree like these ones my cousin found:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/1071607...url14300Pounds

    The main reason a lot gets turned into veneer is because you can really stretch it out then.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •