What Is Burl Wood And How Is It Made?

Burl wood is the product of irregular tree grain pattern growth. Such irregularities are caused due to an illness, a fungus infection, or natural injury. The tree’s grain will grow abnormally, twisting and interlocking with itself. During this process, the wood forms swirling grain patterns.

“The wood of the burl has a very unusual and beautiful abstract grain pattern that is highly sought after, especially for furniture,” said interior designer Michelle Lisac. “Burl has gained in popularity recently due to its character. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it is entirely unique. No two pieces of burl will ever be the same.”

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Burl wood is a rare natural wood species. The wood material is used to produce upscale furniture. As a wood species, it’s scarce and always in high demand, so it’s more expensive than other types of wood. If you’ve ever wondered how furniture makers produce  decor featuring intricate cuts and patterns, it’s because of burl wood.

Wood burls are also tree knots., which means there are different types of wood burls. Maple burl and redwood burl are two examples. The burls are used to make furniture.

Redwood forests are popular sources, but burl wood poaching is a problem. However, lumber companies are authorized to manufacture burl wood slabs. 

What Is Burl Wood?

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Burlwood is made from tree burls. It’s used to make high-end furniture. The wood is available in different natural shapes and designs and isn’t man-made. Burlwood is in high demand because it is scarce. 

What Is A Tree Burl?

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A tree burl is a knot on a tree that’s formed after experiencing stress. The knots are caused by injuries, a virus, or fungus. Most burls grow underground and aren’t discovered until the tree they’re connected to is uprooted. 

The burls grow a layer of bark, making them more difficult to discover. Only when they are above ground will they be noticed.

The average width of a tree burl is between a few inches and three feet. However, some burls are 30 feet wide and will wrap around a tree’s trunk like a belt.

Why Use Burl Wood?

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Burlwood is controversial for a few reasons. First, the material is defective or in some cases infected. It’s also one of the most unique types of wood found anywhere and is placed among the world’s natural hidden treasures. 

The wood is expensive because it’s difficult to manufacture and it’s scarce. Burr maple comes from maple burl. It’s used to make upscale furniture, high-end wood decor, and musical instruments.

Burlwood remains in high demand despite its exorbitant price tag. The wood is twisted and interlocks, making it difficult for furniture makers to work with without splitting. If burlwood splits or cracks, it will be rendered useless. 

Some wood burls are dense and almost impossible to break. And because the wood is harder than other types, extra pressure and sharper tools are required to cut it. 

Burlwood Poaching

Because burlwood is valuable, ancient redwoods in national parks are raided by poachers for their burls. The Redwood National Park is a popular destination among burlwood poachers.

As beautiful as burlwood furniture is, poaching is never acceptable. Cutting the burls from trees exposes them to infection. Once woodburls are removed, a tree will become infected and die. 

Never buy poached redwood burl, for example. Cutting trees should only be done on one’s property or with official permission. 

Burlwood Furniture Vendors

The best place to buy burl wood slabs is locally or at trade markets. But there are a few furniture makers that offer burlwood home decor. 

CB2

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CB2 is one of the most trusted places to buy burlwood furniture. Their selection is small but they always have a selection of upscale furniture that feels finished and modern. 

Etsy

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When you find a burlwood vendor’s page, read their reviews. You should only buy burlwood from reputable vendors.  

Crate And Barrel

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Crate and Barrel doesn’t always carry burlwood furniture, but they do have burl wood-inspired furniture. If authenticity is important, check with the manufacturer before buying. 

1stDibs

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If you’re looking for something unique and antique, then try 1stDibs or another online thrift store like it. 

Anthropologie

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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 nice pieces. Sometimes even beautiful burlwood furniture. 

Burlwood Online

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Burlwood Online is ideal for those who want to make furniture. As a burlwood vendor, they have full slabs, along with small and unfinished pieces. More than likely you’ll find the piece you need to help make that coffee table or nightstand. 

Redwood Burl

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At Redwood Burl you’ll find pure burls for your DIY wood projects or furniture and decor. Their decor is original and sells out fast. 

What To Look For In Burl Wood

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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.

Price

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. 

Original Source

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. 

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. 

Vendor

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. 

Age

Burls need  to mature before cutting them. If they are cut prematurely it could kill the tree. It also won’t be as intricate or tough. Always ask about the age of the tree. 

Breed

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. 

Emotion

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. Wood furniture offers an aesthetic that other decor doesn’t. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Who Buys Burl Wood Near Me?

Finding who buys burl wood near you isn’t an easy task. There are two ways to do this. Find out who will buy your burl wood and find out who buys burl wood that they can resell. Always do this a legal and trusted way. 

How Do I Spot Burl Wood?

Spotting burl wood isn’t difficult. If the wood is natural and it has unique, non-uniform patterns, then it is probably burl wood. If all else fails, ask the seller and they will know whether it is or not.

Is Burl Wood Expensive? 

Burl wood can be expensive, yes. But you usually only want a single feature piece of burl wood so it can be worth it. Especially if you buy it from a seller that isn’t poaching or overpricing their items.

How Do I Restore Burl Wood?

The best way to restore burl wood or harvest it is to have a professional come take a look. The last thing you want to do is ruin the wood burl or the burl wood by making a mess out of it. So reach out and ask for help.

Burl Wood Conclusion

When looking for burled wood, reach out to your local vendors. Most US cities have at least one burlwood vendor. Metropolitan cities located close to forests and other wooded areas will have greater burl wood resources.  Also, most woodburl vendors offer delivery services.

Whether you want a burl wood console table or burl wood dining table, you won’t have a problem finding one. The only thing you should know in advance is that burl wood furniture is expensive. If you’re curious about the wood, and want something smaller for your home, consider a burl wood nightstand or burl wood side table.

Wood burled walnut veneer is accented with a light coat of penetrating stain. After it’s stained, the wood’s figure is enhanced. Walnut is unique because it becomes lighter after it’s exposed to UV light. You’ll find vintage walnut furniture pieces feature warm colors. However, the process requires months and sometimes years to achieve.