Sculpted Birch Burl Bowl

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 01-31-2011 09:04 PM 4195 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found this birch burl laying on top of my brush pile. I have no idea how it got there because I thouroughly screen the brush for stuff like this before anything goes on the pile.

The burl is probably 8-10” across. None of the wood was rotten, but the outside surface started to get some spalting. I wanted to keep the outside color, so I didn’t do much sanding to it. There are still some gouges and marks on the outside, but that’s now part of the character.

I carved the inside with a pair of 1/2” carbide carving burrs (ball and flame tip) driven by a Dremel with a flex shaft. They were the biggest burrs I could get in an 1/8” shank. I tried to get the walls to a uniform 1/4-3/8” thick. Some of the undercut areas were really hard to get to. I sanded the inside smooth with several abrasive buffs and flap type sanders.

The finish is several coats of hand rubbed tung oil (wiping varnish). Many people seem to go for the dipped in plastic look on their burls. I was not going for that look at all. The inside has a high gloss (but not buried in a layer of plastic) because it was sanded smooth and the outside has a semi-gloss finish because it was still a little rough. I wanted it to be like looking inside an oyster and finding a pearl.

I probably have somewhere around 60 hours on this project. I listened to a lot of podcasts under my ear muffs while carving away!

-- Tony -

8 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

20580 posts in 3127 days

#1 posted 02-01-2011 12:25 AM


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 2934 days

#2 posted 02-01-2011 01:37 AM

Man those skittles look good. Ummm, taste the rainbow,haha. That is an awesome burl and you did a great job carving it.

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

View AttainableApex's profile


347 posts in 2854 days

#3 posted 02-01-2011 01:55 AM

dam must of taken a long time to hollow that out.
really nice though.

-- Ben L

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3086 days

#4 posted 02-01-2011 02:27 AM

Wow!!! Beautiful.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View deucefour's profile


285 posts in 3275 days

#5 posted 02-01-2011 04:48 AM

Love it, sure would have been a shame to burn it!


View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2141 posts in 1085 days

#6 posted 07-24-2015 07:02 PM

I’m looking at this thing, trying to figure out what human organ I’m seeing. I get to the last photo, and there it is. It’s full of Skittles. It’s a stomach.
Seriously, this is a gorgeous bit of work. It is very pearlescent on the inside, innit?

-- Mark

View helluvawreck's profile


31340 posts in 2888 days

#7 posted 07-24-2015 07:20 PM

Tony, that is beautiful and what an interesting piece of wood.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3145 days

#8 posted 08-16-2015 09:22 PM

I always thought this one looked like a brain…

-- Tony -

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