Working with Madrone Burl

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Blog entry by OregonBurls posted 11-10-2009 04:43 AM 4203 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Journal entry 11/9/2009

Working with Madrone
Bowl turned by David Gould from NY

Proper handling and stabilizing of Madrone

Madrone in a very self-destructive wood. I will crack and twist on you in a matter of hours even minutes sometimes. But don’t let that scare you. It is a beautiful wood to turn on a lathe or what ever the application.

What you ask of the supplier:

First of all make sure that you request sealing of all sides of the burl and not a thin coat. It has to be thick.

When you get your madrone you will want to turn it wet.

You have 2 options at this point…. do you want the form to stay true shape or do you want it to distort on you. Some turners like it to twist and warp.

Let’s take it from the angle of turning a bowl.

If you want for it to stay true form you need to turn it about one inch sides and then boil it for 2 hours. Rule of thumb is one hour per 1/2”. Cool it down under water.

After you have done this then set it in a dark cool place for about 3-6 months and then finish turning the bowl and sand it. Put what ever finish you want and presto you have a family heirloom.

If you want it do distort without cracking you just turn it to about 1/8” and let her go. It will not crack but will make some interesting shapes.

Note if you let it distort you might have to turn a sure pedestal for the bowl because of the uneven base.

For more info reading go to this link: Working with Madrone by Dale Larson

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

9 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35153 posts in 4638 days

#1 posted 11-10-2009 04:59 AM

SOme interesting info. Thanks for the notes.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3960 days

#2 posted 11-10-2009 05:05 AM

I’ve only worked with it on a few projects, but it really is an unusual burl to work with The voids give an interesting character and can be filled with epoxy and sawdust or leave the expoxy clear and you get a variety of little windows to look into the wood.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#3 posted 11-10-2009 05:56 AM

Thanks Greg what a bowl wow

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 3757 days

#4 posted 11-10-2009 12:51 PM

Noice bowl wow

you should post that one

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4060 days

#5 posted 11-10-2009 01:02 PM

Thanks for the information, Greg. This is a beautiful wood and it has wonderful color and graining.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Grumpy's profile


24823 posts in 4089 days

#6 posted 11-16-2009 02:10 PM

Great piece of burl & a great piece of work.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 3151 days

#7 posted 06-29-2010 11:08 PM

I have just ordered a piece of this beautiful wood. It is at 15% MC or lower. Do I need to worry about checking if I go ahead and dive into to it when I get it?

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View OregonBurls's profile


580 posts in 3386 days

#8 posted 06-30-2010 06:15 AM

15% is pretty good. Creat what you want with it and jsut keep and eye on it. Keep some CA glue close by and if it starts to crack put some on it. If you wanted to call me my # is 541-218-0044

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

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 3151 days

#9 posted 06-30-2010 12:31 PM

Thanks a lot OB.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

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