How to find great figure wood other than Burl

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Blog entry by OregonBurls posted 10-24-2009 05:33 PM 4471 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is in addition to the burl blog I put on a week ago. Thank you for all the reads.
This is to the best of my knowledge and I am still learning.
I have found crazy figure in tree crotches. A tree crotch is where two branches come together. It is usually the piece that fire wood people don’t want because it doesn’t slit.
That is because the crotch is the hardest part of the tree and the grain in going in different directions. It’s where you get what is called “feather”. “Haring bone, rays or fiddle back are found in other part of the tree and I am using those 3 terms synonymously.

This piece is for sale. It is 36×24 x 5” roughly.

Now the feathering is where the two braches have grown together. The Haring bone or fiddle back is on the underside just below and above the smaller branch growing out. The larger the branch the larger the feather, the more the fiddle back. I have had them 16” wide and for 48” long. Some time there isn’t any feathering or rays but a lot of times there is. Some of the times you have to put up with inclusions in the feather.

Another part of the tree where there is good figure is at the base. You can even see it thru the bark. If you see a rippled or waving thru the bark this is the compression point of the flare. If it has ripples this is called curl. This grain is not as dense as the crotch but it will have a wavy pattern that can go all the way to the pith of the tree. I like this part also. And it is the part that most people leave in the grown or dig up and burn or get hauled off.
Well I hope this helps some of you. Keep hunting for the beautiful wood and if you don’t like the hunt you can always purchase from me!

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#1 posted 10-24-2009 05:35 PM

Amazing wood

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View OregonBurls's profile


580 posts in 3171 days

#2 posted 10-24-2009 05:37 PM

You are a fast reader I just posted it!

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View rosewood's profile


234 posts in 3364 days

#3 posted 10-24-2009 06:00 PM

great figures


View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3928 days

#4 posted 10-24-2009 06:26 PM

Crotches are my favorite pieces to mill. Walnut-elm-cherry-white oak-honeylocust…usually all show great figure. I always tell the guys cutting trees (mostly tree services) that I get them from ”Leave the forks on !”. I have posted a few as I was milling them in my blog here and some projects made from them too.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3293 days

#5 posted 10-24-2009 07:36 PM

Crotch wood is great…and mostly less likely to have inclusions and checks then burl. They are great turning for lathes…or resawing for vaneers…but I more enjoy the turning. The other benefit is that the crotch pieces are more likely to be given away by tree cutters as they are hard to spilt for firewood…or not that easy to mill for lumber…..

Thank you for the informative post.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 10-25-2009 01:02 AM

reggiek, i have been building a bandsaw mill for sometime now , as money or a good price on something that is needed comes along .that post makes me want to get starded . the weather is finely in my favor.i have a big mesquite chotch stump just waiting . i kid my wife that tree is why i had us buy this house.

-- gagewestern

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3581 days

#7 posted 10-25-2009 03:06 AM

Wow how I love that wood. I wish I could find some to turn myself. I have used a lot of crotch mahoganey veneer and it is beautiful.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3293 days

#8 posted 10-26-2009 05:35 AM

One of the most beautiful pieces of wood I’ve seen was a crotch piece of black walnut. The guy turned the most beautiful bowl I’ve seen from it….the grain was so wild it looked surreal…..

I’ve turned alot of burl caps and some nice crotch pieces….the crotch pieces usally turn out much better as the wood is alot more stable typically…I got a few really nice pieces I have waxed and stored from a guy that trimed a few of the walunt trees by the power lines by the railroad tracks nearby (they had some beautiful pieces – I am just waiting for the right moisture content to turn them).

I’ve told alot of friends that I know who cut wood for fire wood….if they want to sell me the crotches and the burls I will certainly take them….I’ve seen several on Ebay…and they usually fetch a decent price – alot of times they will give them too me so they don’t have to split or cut them.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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