The term 'burl' refers to a bulb-like protrusion or deformity that develops on some trees. It is basically an abnormal growth that occurs on the root or trunk of trees. Such a rounded, knotty, tumor-like growth occurs when the tree is subjected to some kind of stress. It could develop due to an infestation by fungi, mold, or certain insects.
Most wood sculptors, wood crafting artists, or furniture makers would include items made from such outgrowths in their list of prized possessions.
Not too many trees produce such outgrowths, and that explains why furniture or decoration pieces made from this type of wood are sought after. If you are a collector of wood sculptures, you might have seen the beautiful works of art that are created from this type of wood.
The cost of the wood varies, depending on the pattern. If is pattern is intricate or interesting, it would be quite expensive. The texture and color of the outgrowth also impact the price. Its size could range from a small ball to a massive growth.
Outgrowths from certain trees are more expensive than others. For instance, Amboyna burl from Padauk trees is quite expensive. This is basically due to the spectacular patterns that are created by the erratic growth of wood grain. One of the patterns that creates a dramatic effect is the creation of small spots or eyes surrounded by swirls.
Certain varieties are more prone to getting infested by fungi, mold, etc., and are more likely to produce a larger number of outgrowths. Some of the trees that develop such outgrowths include Redwood, Oak, Buckeye, Myrtle, Spruce, Maple, Walnut, and Elm.
Uses of Burl Wood
Once the outgrowth from the trunk or the root is removed from the tree, it is cut in order to examine the ring pattern. Sometimes, the growth is so big that several objects can be carved from a single outgrowth. Though these outgrowths don't harm the trees, at times, the growth is so big that the tree might die due to its weight.
Furniture made from this type of wood blends best with the decor of country homes, but these would also blend well with contemporary interiors. Due to the rich texture, wood grain, and beautiful patterns, this type of wood produces the most amazing type of furniture.
The rarer the pattern, the more expensive would the furniture or sculptures be. Generally, wood sculptors or artists hand carve the piece or shape the wood on a wood lathe to create beautiful objects from this wood.