Preserving Cherry Burl

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Forum topic by Diamondback posted 04-26-2010 05:43 AM 2902 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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88 posts in 2560 days

04-26-2010 05:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: burl wood preservation preservation drying checking cracking cherry turning bowls vases

I have a lot of burls in cherry trees on my property and was wondering if someone could tell me how to best preserve the burl when it is cut. The burls vary in size from one foot to three feet in diameter. How do you keep it from cracking and checking, drying process, preservation, chemicals, whatever. I don’t do any bowl turning so I’d probably like to keep them “natural” probably with and without the bark, maybe both ways on one burl, maybe cut some down the middle, some in slices, etc.


-- Oshkosh, Wisconsin

2 replies so far

View JuniorJoiner's profile


463 posts in 2861 days

#1 posted 04-26-2010 06:09 AM

I don’t think you could keep a burl from checking, the gnarly grain is going to crack, and they will take years to dry properly. Shellacing the exposed wood will probably help some, as will removing the bark with a wire brush. but you may get some that may yield once in a lifetime veneer for a special project.
I’m glad you are not a turner, too many veneer quality burls are turned into plates and bowls(sigh).

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2379 days

#2 posted 04-27-2010 06:44 PM

Burl is crazy wood, it does what it wants to. I recommend drying it slowly, under cover from both rain and sun. Wrap some paper or a blanket around it for a couple of weeks to a couple of months, watching for fungus or mold, to help avoid damage from the shock of being freshly cut. It will dry relatively quickly as it is somewhat less dense than “solid” wood, making it prone to cracking that much quicker. Keep it cool. If you are going to use it yourself and do no turnings, slice it up soon to keep the drying stresses to a minimum.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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