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Thread: Home-Grown Cherry Tree Burl

  1. #1

    Home-Grown Cherry Tree Burl

    I noticed what looked like a burl on an old cherry tree in my back yard, so decided to cut it off. Not having a chain saw, I used an old pruning saw; it took about an hour and a half (with rest stops). Next time I'll rent a chain saw. It weighed about 7.5 pounds, and measured roughly 12" x 10" x 7" thick. Here's a picture of it after it came off the tree:



    I e-mailed Mark at burlsource about cutting it into blocks for knife handles. He said he'd be happy to do it, but the postage would be fearful. So I went to the Sacramento Woodcraft store, where a guy named Adam agreed to cut it up for $40. He also told me it's a bunion, not a burl (it doesn't have the "pins" that create the birdseye effect in burls). I picked it up today; here's a pic of it sliced like a ham:



    The inside was actually way better than I expected; it has growth bands and even some rays (I have no idea what the proper terminology is). I'll let it dry completely for several months, cut it further into handle-sized blocks, then send it off to K&G for dyeing and stabilizing. Here's a final picture of what the inside looks like:



    It's going to be hard to wait.........

  2. #2

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Nice score!
    Let us know how it goes.
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  3. #3
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    Don't know what the exact difference is between burls or bunions but from what I can see the grain doesn't look very intertwined on that. I've seen plenty of burls cut open and you can't really discern any growth rings unlike what's shown in the above bunion pictures. It only looks about ten years old or so. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Blobby View Post
    Don't know what the exact difference is between burls or bunions but from what I can see the grain doesn't look very intertwined on that. I've seen plenty of burls cut open and you can't really discern any growth rings unlike what's shown in the above bunion pictures. It only looks about ten years old or so. Am I barking up the wrong tree?
    The tree is > 60 years old, but the bunion is probably only 5-10 years old or so. I was told that burls are uncontrolled budding, which leads to the birdseye effect, while bunions are uncontrolled growth, which might account for the rings. I wouldn't want to plant any unfounded rumors though.

  5. #5
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    That seems to make sense looking at the year rings. I'm wondering on that basis if it's suitable for handles. Would make a great cutting board.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Blobby View Post
    That seems to make sense looking at the year rings. I'm wondering on that basis if it's suitable for handles. Would make a great cutting board.
    Good point. I think when it's dyed and stabilized it will be okay for handles, but maybe I'll just leave one slab intact for a small cheese board.

  7. #7
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    You need to be careful about drying these or they will crack, aka check. I would coat them with wax and leave them for a few years! Ask Mark about this, as he deals with it all the time.
    Spike C
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  8. #8
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Now you want the drying to be slow.
    I have had mixed results with bunions. If this works out you will have nice chatoyance with the middle 3 pieces..
    Something I have done that has worked about 60%+ of the time is to take the slabs and spray them with aerosol lacquer or poly.
    Spray all cut surfaces with about 3 light/medium coats. 1 $10 can should be enough.
    Then set them aside in a closet or somewhere out of the light.
    This way slows down the drying a bit (not as slow as wax) and helps to limit movement.
    In about a year pull out the slabs and cut them into slightly oversized blocks and put them back in the closet for maybe 6 months.
    Then if you can find someone with a moisture meter, have them cut a piece in half and check the moisture content.
    If it reads under 10% you can send it in for dyeing and stabilizing.
    Mark Farley / Burl Source
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  9. #9
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  10. #10
    Sorry I forgot to mention it in the first post, but the guy who cut the bunion did coat the cut surfaces with wax, so I think we're good to go. He also brought in a couple of pieces of dried buckeye burl to show me. They were so light I thought they were fake at first, since the only ones I've ever handled were stabilized with epoxy (or whatever).

    Now we wait.

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