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Wood burls- highly figured wood

Two sure places to find lots of figured wood in logs are in crotches between branching limbs and in burls. Crotches can produce remarkable figure, but I want to discuss burls in this post. Burls are sphere-shaped growths that occur on the sides of tree trunks. The photo below is of a burl growing in a large American elm tree in my front yard. Burls contain bird’s eye, quilted , and pin figure when cut in one direction and long medullary ray figure when cut in the other direction. While burls are usually too small for furniture makers (unless they slice it into veneer), bowl turners love burls and they command a high price on the bowl blank market. The Russian olive “bowl” pictured above came from a log section that was covered by burls the size of onions. I turned this piece with the base oriented near the center of the log so that the rim was at the outside of the log, following the contour of the burls. It was a fun piece to turn, and is unusual due to the rising and falling rim and figure. This piece will be on display at the Louisville Fine Art Show, September 5 – 13, Louisville Center for the Arts in Louisville, CO. I'll be attending this piece at the art show reception, Sept 5, 6 - 9 pm. Please stop by and say hi if you are in the area. More information can be found at Michael O’Donnell’s book “Turning Green Wood” is an excellent source of information on finding highly figured wood for bowl blanks in logs.

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