View Full Version : Go Figure: How Do You Know?

Dream Burls
06-03-2012, 06:21 PM
Just starting to get an education in wood burls. Especially love amboyna and ironwood burls. What puzzles me is how to know (if you can) what the finished product will look like. I suspect that the figuring and patterns shown on the surface of a turning blank will change as the wood is worked. So is it just a crap shoot as to how the end product will look or are there ways to know, or have an educated guess, as to what may be in store?

06-03-2012, 09:28 PM
My limited experience suggests -- you never know until you start sanding. But at the same time, if what you can see looks good, what you can't see will probably look good too.

Dream Burls
06-03-2012, 10:33 PM
Thanks for the response. That's what I thought might be the case. I guess that's part of the fun of woodworking.

06-03-2012, 11:42 PM
I have seldom had a piece look worse, but often had it look better after removing some wood, or splitting a block. I am not sure there is any rhyme or reason to it, sometimes just the luck of the draw.

06-04-2012, 12:07 AM
Well, when the wood is in a block, or scales, you see one side of the wood. When you shape it, the shaping shows the grain from all different angles. And when it gets polished, even more grain shows. Thats why I love working burls, you never know what's inside!!!

06-04-2012, 12:08 AM
Gambling is illegal in Hawaii, so working with wood is as close as I can gat to that :) After a while, you get a feeling for what it might look like, but you can never tell exactly. I just finished a handle that I call the 'Jekyll and Hyde' handle because it started out with a nice block, but by the time I was done sanding, one side looks great and the other one doesn't. But in most cases you will be fine it the block itself looks nice. After all these years, my favorite moment is still after sanding to a high grit, when I put some finish on the wood and the colors pop out and aLmost always look better than I imagined.


Dream Burls
06-04-2012, 08:42 AM
Thanks to all for your responses. I figured (pun intended) that that was the case, but I was hoping there were some inside tips that might give me a better shot at picking a good piece. Nothing wrong with being pleasantly surprised at the end.