How to find and harvest legal burls!

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Blog entry by OregonBurls posted 10-13-2009 05:44 PM 59250 reads 3 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everyone,
It was suggested that I start a discussion on how to find and harvest burls. Please give your input also.


I don’t deal with straight grain that often. I cut and sell burls for a living so here is what I know.

It is illegal to harvest a burl without permission. of course if it is on your own property you can give yourself permission. What I do is put an ad on Craig’s list saying I want your burls. Most people don’t know what burls are. So you don’t get that many calls. Burls are almost everywhere there are trees. I see them a lot of the times in cities where they have been damaged and contiually healed over. If you live close to BLM land you can get a permit to harvest. I dont harvest on BLM. I get my burls from people how are clearing land for building. You must get a note from the place of harvest for you to be legel (That is you need the Name, address, Phone # and Date). Sometimes the police will pull you over if they see it and you need documentation.


If you live in maple country, the maple burls like to grow in seasonal creek side or brooks. They like lots of water. So if you are walking thru the woods you need to keep an eye out for them.

They grow at the base of the tree like a big onion or up on the trunk. Don’t mistake a healed over broken branch as a burl. It will also look like a burl. However there is still good figure there.

Normally I have found that if you find one burl there are more. They seem to grow in pocket of the forest. I have found Pine burls, Maple burls, Madrone burls, Black walnut burls; English walnut burls oak burls, Manzanita burls and others I can’t remember. One thing though I live in burl country so I am blessed.
But even if you don’t live in a burl area, when you put an ad in the paper or Craig’s list, people have them in the form of tables or some other form. I bought a red wood burl table at a garage sale that was 6’ long and 24” wide by 3” for $75.00. So you don’t have to always find them in the forests.
I would be happen answer your question if you have any.
Greg Dahl

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

38 comments so far

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 5064 days

#1 posted 10-13-2009 06:10 PM

I have just networked with local tree services for the last several years…burls grow in town too. They bring me all the ones they have to remove.

View OregonBurls's profile


585 posts in 4307 days

#2 posted 10-13-2009 06:14 PM

Yes Tree services are a great resorce.

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View mmh's profile


3689 posts in 4881 days

#3 posted 10-13-2009 06:42 PM

Nice blog. I look forward to more photos of your finds. Do you know how the spiney maple burl above came out in a project? I spied that earlier when you were selling it, but it looked like it had too many voids for my needs.

I’ve seen some trees locally that have some awesome burls and have a friend who’s on a neighborhood committee to replace the aging cherry trees and may be able to acquire some when they cut them down.

So Hey, do you find burls at a Burlesque? I like them burled, burley guys. }:)~

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4736 days

#4 posted 10-13-2009 07:39 PM

Hey Greg
Interesting Blog .Looks like we are both in the southern Oregon area.


View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4426 days

#5 posted 10-13-2009 09:04 PM

i dont think the police would pull someone over for having a burl in their truck around here lol

View OregonBurls's profile


585 posts in 4307 days

#6 posted 10-13-2009 09:14 PM

It is a federal offence for the illegel harvest of burl. I have know 2 burlers who have been pulled over and arrested. Poaching is a big deal here in Oregon. I would imagine because we have so meny of them. They are easy to steal.

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4445 days

#7 posted 10-13-2009 09:55 PM

Gee, I wish we had trees in West Texas. I am envious of the access you have to all that wonderfull burl.
Do you ship to Texas?
Great to have you on Lumberjocks.


View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 4331 days

#8 posted 10-13-2009 09:59 PM

Interesting….....I’ve seen these but didn’t realize they were useful. Good post.

I’m going to go and put on some water to burl to make burled eggs.

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4980 days

#9 posted 10-13-2009 11:03 PM

Thanks for the post, Greg. This has been an informative blog.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cabinetmaster's profile


10873 posts in 4717 days

#10 posted 10-13-2009 11:20 PM

Man I wish I could find some of that burl around here. Guess I need to contact a tree service and see if they can get me some. I’m with Kent. Can you ship to NC?

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View OregonBurls's profile


585 posts in 4307 days

#11 posted 10-14-2009 12:09 AM

You bet. I ship to the East Coast all the time. It is pretty economical also.

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 4327 days

#12 posted 10-14-2009 12:12 AM

Thanks for posting, im gettideas rushing through my head now haha, no sleep for me tonight.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View tinnman65's profile


1415 posts in 4573 days

#13 posted 10-14-2009 03:18 AM

Great post, how do you pay for the burls you buy, I would think that “board feet” doesn’t always cut it when sizing small burls. Is there a going rate for them in your area?

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4591 days

#14 posted 10-14-2009 03:33 AM

What’s the process for drying burls?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View OregonBurls's profile


585 posts in 4307 days

#15 posted 10-14-2009 06:34 AM

It is different with each speice. Madrone is a pretty intense process. Maple fairly easy. If you are turning a bowl with maple you just need to rough turn it and let is sit in a cool place for a few months.

-- Greg, Southern Oregon, What can I say but God Is Good!

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