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Thread: Burl question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Cambridge Vermont

    Burl question

    I have some small pieces of cherry burl given to me that have been sitting for years air drying. They were cut in the direction so the pith is in the piece and are about an 1" thick. I'm trying to think of how to use them on a jewelry box top. They look pretty stable but do have some warping. Still I'm worried about working with them and having them self destruct. I'm also wondering about movement. I was thinking of sanding one side flat on my disc sander and then gluing some 1/4" plywood onto them. Once finished I could remove the plywood if needed.

    Being as thick as they are I thought maybe I could use a raised panel bit on them and put them on the lid like an inlay. In my mind the lid would be like a picture frame out of something light colored (like maple), with two rabbits in the center. One for a mirror for the underside and the second larger one for the burl. But that would mean gluing the burl down around the edges. That goes against everything I know about movement. I could just glue up a panel and rout a place for the burl but between the way it's cut and with the grain pattern going multiple directions I don't know how to predict which way it'll move. The biggest I can see them being is 6" x 9". They aren't the prettiest of wood but anything I make I would like to last. Also I want to go through the work now and make any mistakes/ learn.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    If you want to laminate to stabilize...use cherry with the grain direction consistent with the burl. Plywood is going to cause movement issues unless the burl is pretty much veneer thickness.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Orwell, NY
    I got a few cherry burls for $10 at an auction 6 years ago and have cut up two of them to use for headstock overlays, I cut the slices about 1/8" thick and sand down to 1/16" or 3/32". The biggest I have used is maybe 3-1/2" wide and 7" long, but I have had no problem with movement after gluing the pieces of burl directly to the solid wood headstock. There isn't any grain direction in burl wood, so it seems pretty forgiving.

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