Question about tree burl

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Forum topic by dhazelton posted 02-21-2014 06:51 PM 959 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2771 posts in 2322 days

02-21-2014 06:51 PM


Was snowshoeing in the woods behind my place which is filled mostly with ash, walnut, cherry, maple and lots of pricker bushes. Happened upon this tree (I remembered the bark was cherry but looking at the pic now I can’t tell for sure) that was about 10 inches in diameter. This burl was up about 10 ft as I was able to reach it with one of my poles. A developer has owned this lot for ever and has never done anything with it other than clear a road for surveyors to get in. That road is already growing over. I think I know the answer, but should I go back in with an axe and saw and get this chunk of wood?

8 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5139 posts in 1746 days

#1 posted 02-21-2014 07:02 PM

If the owner doesn’t mind then yes. Regardless of the species, it would be a worth while harvest, just be prepared to let it dry for a long time if you’re planning on using it to be turned.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2395 days

#2 posted 02-21-2014 07:10 PM

I’d try getting the owner’s OK first. Last thing you need is for them to figure out you took something that might have been of value, whether they knew it before or not.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3611 days

#3 posted 02-21-2014 07:35 PM

I agree !Otherwise this is most definitely theft, and you would never subscribe to that after all your not me are you? ,LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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2771 posts in 2322 days

#4 posted 02-21-2014 07:40 PM

How long would you let something like that dry? I tried turning a couple of bowls from rough cherry that sat for a year or so and they turned into oval wobbly bowls pretty quickly. I could put it on the shelf for a couple of years.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5139 posts in 1746 days

#5 posted 02-21-2014 08:28 PM

The general rule for rough sawn lumber is 1 year per 1” of thickness. I would think if you let it dry for a couple of years, it still might need longer. I have a burl in my shop I cut back in 07’, just checked it yesterday and it looked like there had been additional movement from further drying a year or so ago. If you know someone with a kiln, they might be able to give you a better idea of exactly how long might be needed.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2630 days

#6 posted 02-21-2014 09:29 PM

Bigblockyeti is right. It is impossible to say from the picture, but if the burl is 12 inches in diameter, then it would take 6 years to dry. Just remember to seal the ends within a few days of cutting or it will crack like crazy. There are a number of plans available for a solar kilns online. Most are big, but if you want to dry small things, the pieces become much more economical. Then you would only be looking at months instead of years.

View jdh122's profile


1018 posts in 2843 days

#7 posted 02-21-2014 09:37 PM

WHy not turn it wet, leaving it a little oversized, then re-chuck it and finish the turning once it’s dry?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2322 days

#8 posted 02-21-2014 10:52 PM

Thanks all. I do know some people with a bandsaw mill and kilns. Jdh122, my attempts at wet turning left me with ovoid pieces. I know I’m not being diligent about sealing after roughing – my bad.

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