How to process a large burl?

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Forum topic by Riversalvage posted 01-06-2015 10:22 PM 731 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 687 days

01-06-2015 10:22 PM

So, I’ll start off by saying I have never worked with a burl before. My friend who runs a skidder for a small lumber company always keeps an eye out for me and passes on interesting wood that doesn’t make the lumber pile but is too nice to send for firewood. Last week he cut down a bunch of ash, he mentioned he had cut a tree with an exceptionally large burl and I said I wanted it. The picture is what I ended up with. The burl is roughly 2.5 feet across, has no obvious rot and is fairly symmetrical.

I have no concrete idea what to do with the thing and to be honest I’m not interested in turning it. How about cutting it into slabs? Do I let it dry for years first then cut it? Can anyone recommend a good projects that would be a good use for it? Do I sell it as it was delivered for merely a case of beer?

I have a large barn to dry the thing in for as long as it takes before I can work it.

General advice would be greatly appreciated.
If anyone could point me in the direction of helpful literature, I’m always interested in a read about woodworking.

Thanks in advance,

2 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3059 posts in 1706 days

#1 posted 01-06-2015 10:52 PM

If you have a local mill in your town, you can take it to them to have it cut and professionally dried. Burl has tension in it and will likely curl, bow, twist all at once so you might need to set it outside for a year or two first. Then you can have it cut an dried with a minimum of problems. I’ve found that burls have lots of voids inside them, so bear that in mind. Have your friend look for some crotch pieces if you really want something usable. He’ll be cutting lots of ash due to the Emerald Ash Bore.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Riversalvage's profile


8 posts in 687 days

#2 posted 01-07-2015 05:08 PM

RussellAP, what would you do with the crotch pieces? I asked him and they always end up as firewood, if I wan’t them all I have to do is pick them up and they would be free.

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