My First Burl

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Project by Ronbrush posted 234 days ago 683 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My brother is an avid outdoors person (and a first class wildlife carver!). Recently, he brought me a burl that he had found on one of his trips through the bush. His only comment was, “See what you can do with this.” I’m a novice wood turner so it sat in my shop for six months and became a source of intimidation. Finally, I took the plunge, cut it and ended up with three pieces that I could get on my lathe.

The largest finished piece is about 9.5” in diameter and has a walnut base (I thought it would be a good counter to the natural edge). We’re not sure about the burl but it’s probably pine or spruce, based on the location where it was found. The two larger pieces are finished with polyurethane and the small one with tung oil sealer. Mother Nature supplied the bug and worm embellishements.

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

11 comments so far

View poospleasures's profile


289 posts in 1070 days

#1 posted 234 days ago

I like them alot. I hope one day to find some burl to try. I better find a bunch as I will probably destroy a bunch before having a piece I would want someone to see. You have a great handle on what I have just thought about.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning. Vernon

View doubleDD's profile


2285 posts in 629 days

#2 posted 234 days ago

Very nice turnings. Great color.

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

View aussiedave's profile


3014 posts in 410 days

#3 posted 234 days ago

Three very nice bowls the burl wood looks great. I like the natural edges.

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


100 posts in 673 days

#4 posted 234 days ago

Great job! The walnut was a great choice for a base.

-- Xyloid Curt

View helluvawreck's profile


15288 posts in 1453 days

#5 posted 234 days ago

Magnificent! The wood is beautiful and done very nicely.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View GeneR's profile


146 posts in 524 days

#6 posted 233 days ago

very nice , the only constructive criticism I could give you is that I think the smaller 2 would have looked better with the same walnut base as the large bowl making them more of a matched set. other then that they look great, keep up the excellent work.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

View Ronbrush's profile


28 posts in 237 days

#7 posted 233 days ago

Thanks to everyone for your comments and encouragement. You are all very kind and gentle!

I agree with your comment about using walnut for bases on all three –– the idea came to me too, but only “after the fact”! Still being a novice turner, I wasn’t even thinking of creating a matched set but rather, I just hoped to get something out of the burl without destroying it. Remember, I noted above that the burl sat in my shop and intimidated me for quite a while.

The two smaller pieces came from one side of the burl which had a crack (that’s after I had cut it in half at another crack). I separated the pieces at the crack and turned those ones first without any plan except to end up with two bowls – if I was lucky! Only when I got to the larger one, did it occur to me that the base would make a nice addition.

I guess that kind of thinking comes earlier with more experience – which I hope to get if I can get the material.

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

View Fishinbo's profile


11210 posts in 762 days

#8 posted 229 days ago

All three look amazing! The burl is gorgeous and the natural edge. I’m sure your brother is proud that you did justice to it.

View Cousinwill's profile


123 posts in 1476 days

#9 posted 229 days ago

N—-I—-C—-E !!!!!!!!

-- William from the oldest town in Texas

View palaswood's profile


559 posts in 338 days

#10 posted 81 days ago

excellent work man. you turned a VERY intimidating hunk of wood into some nice bowls. I know what you mean. I have several large Black Mulberry logs with SO much good wood for turning, but again. Intimidating.

Is the wood very dense? I dont know much about spruce, but it doesnt look much like pine. Looks more like maple or something

-- Joseph, Lake Forest, CA,

View Ronbrush's profile


28 posts in 237 days

#11 posted 81 days ago

”but it doesnt look much like pine. Looks more like maple or something”

Thanks again for the compliments!

I’m sure no expert at identifying wood species but it’s definitely not maple. The wood was too soft and not dense enough. Because it was a burl, the grain patterns are somewhat unique and don’t really help – me at least – to identify the species.

My brother and his buddies will look for more burls on their next trip north; maybe they will take a closer look at the trees around them to see if there are more clues for burl identification!

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

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