Burls - Deformed Beauty of Nature
Date Posted:26 October 2015
Why are products created from burls so expensive? Why can’t you get matching product?
These are some questions consumers concerning products created from burls, to answer these questions we need to explain what a burl is and how it is formed into beautiful wood pieces.
Burls are deformed growths on the sides or roots of trees. They are caused by the tree undergoing some form of stress caused by injury, virus or fungus. Some trees are more susceptible to forming burls whereas others are not, this means there a species of trees that are more prized than others.
There are not that many suppliers of burls with many woodworkers sourcing their own from forests. This has led to a certain amount of illegal milling of burls from protected species and forests. It is important that this does not occur as it may lead a depletion of supply due to further regulations.
Burls contain intricate and dense colours that make it ideal for decorative pieces created by furniture makers, artists and wood sculptors. The wood is very hard to work using hand tools or a lathe due to its grain being twisted and interlocked, causing the timber to chip or shatter unpredictably. Once these complications are resolved then you can produce very valued and quality work.
So to answer the original questions is that burls are not readily available and aren’t normally available from the local timber store. There are specialised suppliers around which do stock a variety of burls and they will be more expensive than normal timber. If the woodworker is sourcing their own burls then there are costs associated with milling that need to be recovered.
No two burls are the same therefore no one can guarantee you can get matching colours and grain if you reorder a product. If the woodworker was able to create a few pieces from the same burl the colours and grain will match but not if from another burl. Anyway, each burl should be treasured for its own beauty, pattern and colour. In this writer’s opinion, timber needs to complement each other not necessarily match.