Mahogany Burl Tray

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Project by ous posted 03-21-2011 07:07 PM 4434 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The question came up about how to handle spalted, very loose grain or even small missing segments of wood in a work piece. Here is how it works for me. The tray is a 16 inch cut of a Mahogany burl that had missing or fractured face before it was turned. I duck tape the back of the burl. This traps any liquid that leaks completely through the wood. I warm the burl slightly, warm my two part epoxy then mix the epoxy and pour it over the burl. It would surprise you how much liquid a burl will soak up. After is is hardened you can turn it or sand it for a end table top. If you turn it it will be strong enough to withstand the centrifugal force better and you may need to duplicate the application when you turn to the center of the burl and close to your desired design. Do the same on spalted wood. Incidentally the log that this burl tray came from was floated down the Rio Chucanogue out of the Diaren Jungle of Panama and Columbia in 1975. We cut 32 burls 2 in. thick from the log and the rest was made into furniture grade plywood and lumber.The burls came home to Montana with some lumber and veneer too. Please ask if you have any questions

-- Roy Montana

7 comments so far

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3328 days

#1 posted 03-21-2011 09:54 PM

A beautiful tray you have there Roy, nice job

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4529 days

#2 posted 03-22-2011 12:41 AM

That’s a neat stabilizing trick! I never thought of heating the epoxy. I’ve always had problems with large, flat burl pieces like that, and for some reason deeper bowls don’t seem to be as much trouble. I’ll have to give that a try next time. Nice work.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3590 days

#3 posted 03-22-2011 03:23 PM

Beautiful burl, and a wonderful tray that you made from it. I have heated epoxy to make repairs easier,
but never thought to extend it to woodwork. I now have one more item in my must try file. Thank you
for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Deedee's profile


21 posts in 3687 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 05:19 AM


View ous's profile


64 posts in 3160 days

#5 posted 03-24-2011 06:49 PM

Thank you for your comment. It has a lot of sentiment value in our house. The log that it came from took me four days floating it out of the Diaren Jungle of Panama and Columbia to tide water. It hung up on ever submerged thing in the river because of the burls. With only poles and working from a from a dug out it was difficult. It was a rare log and I cut 32 burls off of it, the tray being the first. I would do it all over again just for the smile on my wife’s face when I surprised her with the tray.

-- Roy Montana

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3198 days

#6 posted 03-24-2011 07:00 PM

It’s spectacular, no doubt about it. I like the story as well. I’m curious what took a bite out of that table?!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View ous's profile


64 posts in 3160 days

#7 posted 03-24-2011 07:44 PM

Bertha Thank you for taking the time to Comment. The table has several other companion pieces. It came from a Big Leaf Log that washed up on the Whiskey Run Beach in the Seven Devils are of the Oregon Coast jut north of Bandon in 1955. I cut it out with a chain saw and carried it out on a board pack for about a 1/2 mile. It had a lot of rot in it and the reason to post it was to show how to stabilize wood with a two part epoxy mix. The bite was two rotten to stabilize so I cut it out. There a pair of these. You are an observing lady.

-- Roy Montana

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