Amazing Burls on a eucalyptus gum tree
A burl is a growth on a tree that usually has wild swirling grain and unusual grain figuring. They are caused by an irritation in the growing tree from an insect, stress, fungus, virus, etc. The tree tries to isolate the irritation by surrounding it with rapid wild growth, similar to a pearl growing in an oyster. Burls are highly prized by wood workers due to the wild amazing grain figuring often present. Burls are also prone to flying apart on a lathe due to decay, voids, and strange growth patterns. I generally buy my burls from local loggers, and many have major problems deep inside. Thus, bowls made from burls are priced a higher than bowls made from normal wood. You will note a lot of amazing grain figuring, color, texture, spalting, flame (chatoyance), and insect marks in most of the burl bowls. These burl bowls are very special and prized by collectors of wood bowls. They will stimulate a lot of conversation and reward its owner with years of visual beauty and unusual texture.
Burl bowls are not for everyone. They are for people who love wood and trees and appreciate having a very special piece of hand made art. These burl bowls are primarily for artistic display, both visually and for the feel of the wood texture. They are not intended for frequent practical use, although their finish is food safe and some customers have purchased them for serving or displaying food.
All of the burls I use are obtained from people I know and are legally harvested from private land or by permit from State or Federal land. I will not accept any burls of questionable origin. I often pay $100 for one large burl and generally make only one bowl from this burl!
Hop Hornbeam Burl
Hop Hornbeam Bowl from Burl to the left