Have you ever wanted to know how to find unique cuts and patterns of wood that are natural and authentic? Well, that’s where burl wood comes in handy. Burl wood is made from the wood that comes from a tree burl.
Tree burls are knots on trees. That may sound quite silly, to make gorgeous furniture out of a part of trees that were previously tossed aside. But over the last couple of hundred years, they have become the best part of said tree.
What Is Burl Wood?
Burlwood is wood that is made from tree burls. It is used to make some of the most beautiful wood furniture in existence. The wood has curves and designs in it that were created by nature, rather than by man.
The wood is highly sought after and quite rare considering it comes from the large knots, or burls, of a tree. If you’re not familiar with burls, then you may be interested in finding out more about them.
What Is A Tree Burl?
A tree burl is a knot on a tree that is formed from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus, or fungus. Most burls begin growing beneath the ground and aren’t found until the tree is uprooted.
What’s strange is that the burls are covered in bark, even if they are underground. So they are even more difficult to spot. Only when they are on the surface above ground can you see a tree burl in nature.
Most of the tree burls that you see are probably only a few inches up to a couple of feet wide. But some burls can grow up to 30ft wide! They can even wrap all the way around the tree’s trunk like a belt.
If they are a mutation or injury, then why would people want to use the wood that is known as defective? Well, there are very special reasons for that! Tree burls are no longer a nuisance, but a blessing!
Why Use Burl Wood?
Burlwood has often been called controversial for a few reasons. First of all, burlwood is defective wood or even infected wood. But they are also one of the most unique types of wood still found on earth.
Burlwood is very expensive because of its beauty and rarity. Some wood, like the burr maple, is made from a maple’s burl and is one of the most beautiful woods used in making furniture and other wood designs.
Another reason burlwood is highly sought after, yet expensive, is because it’s difficult to work with. The wood is twisted and interlocks, making it difficult to cut and whittle without it splitting. When it splits, the entire project is ruined.
Some types of burls are very dense and nearly impossible to break. This also makes it hard to work with because you need more pressure and sharper tools to cut through the wood. But it also means a very sturdy finished project.
Because burlwood is so valuable, ancient redwoods in national parks are often poached by thieves for their burls. The most famous poaching being done at the Redwood National and State Parks, a truly tragic event.
As beautiful as burlwood furniture is, poaching is never okay. Cutting the burls off of these trees exposes them to infection and can result in killing trees that are hundreds or even thousands of years old.
Do your best to never buy from poachers and report any unusual activity you see going on around redwood forests. Or any forest, in fact. Cutting of trees should only be done on one’s own property or with official permission.
Factors In Choosing Burl Wood
Choosing the right burl wood or burl wood furniture can be tricky. If you’re looking for burl wood so you can use it for your own projects, then make sure you know all you can about it. But the same goes for already made projects too.
Burlwood is expensive. If you find some that cost the same as regular wood with straight grains, it probably isn’t real. That said, you don’t want to be overcharged either. If someone pressures you before you start comparing prices, drop them.
You want to get a good price, good quality, authentic burlwood. Knock-offs are fine if you only want the look of burlwood, but not if you’re overcharged for it. So pay attention to the price.
Ask where the wood came from. You don’t want poached wood as it encourages bad behavior and will cause more poaching. If they can’t tell you where the wood came from then again, you don’t want it.
If they fumble around, then walk away and do your research. You should be able to find references for the company or seller in question. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Who is the seller? The seller should be reputable. Unless the wood was gotten from their own property, they should probably have their own business in the lumber or wood industry. If not, then they may not be trustworthy.
If it’s a new seller, and they sound trustworthy, then you may be able to trust them. Ask them if they have a return policy. New companies almost always will so they can build trust with customers.
How old is the wood? Burls need time to mature before they are cut. If they are cut prematurely or could kill the tree before it has lived out its life. It also won’t be as intricate or tough. So ask how old the tree was.
What species of tree did it come from? Redwood trees have beautiful burls and so do maple trees. But it’s important that only certain kinds of trees be used for burls or else you won’t have proper burlwood.
How does the burl make you feel? This may seem silly and it isn’t something you have to say aloud. But think about it. If something doesn’t feel right or if you don’t love the cut of the wood, don’t get it.
Just like a paint color, wood furniture has a certain aesthetic to it that you need to love. You don’t want to get used to it. You want to fall in love right away.
The best place to buy burlwood is locally or at trade markets. But there are a few online stores that sell burlwood and burlwood furniture you can trust. This burlwood furniture will surely inspire you and have you craving more.
CB2 is one of the most trusted places to buy burlwood furniture already made. Their selection is small but they always have a selection of high-end furniture that feels fully finished and modern, rather than rustic.
Etsy is generally more trustworthy than eBay. You can check out the seller’s page and read reviews before buying to make sure that you are getting what they are advertising. This is a great place for really unique burlwood.
Crate and Barrel doesn’t always have burlwood furniture, but they do usually have a few burl wood-inspired furniture that is just gorgeous. If authenticity is important to you, check with the manufacturer before buying.
This website, 1stDibs has some of the best furniture on the internet. If you’re looking for something unique and antique, then try 1stDibs or another online thrift store like it. Who doesn’t love flea markets?
Anthropologie is often an underrated store for furniture. Though their furniture won’t be as high-end or authentic as others, you can still get really nice pieces. Sometimes even beautiful burlwood furniture.
Now we’re talking! If you want to make your own furniture, then Burlwood Online is a great option. They have full slabs, small pieces, and unfinished pieces. You can probably get the perfect piece for any project here.
Redwood Burl is another authentic store where you can buy either pure burls for your projects or furniture and decor. Their decor is unlike any other and it sells out fast. So get it when you see it or you may miss it.
If you believe that you want burlwood or burlwood furniture, then start searching in your area. Most cities have amazing vendors, especially in cities close to natural resources. If you don’t find any nearby, don’t worry.
Most vendors will deliver all over the country. So, contact them online and see what they have in mind. You may even be able to get custom pieces made, no matter how unpredictable burlwood may be!
That’s what makes it so special. You can get a custom piece and it still is even more unique than you can imagine. No wonder it’s so highly sought after! There’s nothing more inspiring than the perfect of imperfections.