Small Maple burl shelf

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Project by peterrum posted 12-21-2011 07:43 PM 2414 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I milled up some maple burl last year, most of it being 2” thick. This was a small piece that was rough cut at 1” and after drying for a year had a bit of a twist in it. I have never worked with burl before so it was time for a bit of experimenting and practice. I removed the bark with a variety of nail punches and a hammer being careful to remove only the bark. I then put it onto a piece of plywood and hot glued some wedges under the high spots to give the burl some support. Then with very light cuts I ran it through the helical planer. This did a very good job of levelling the one side and planing the vertical grained areas was not a problem. Then I removed it from the plywood, flipped it over and levelled the other side.

Lots of sanding work after that and then to the finishing.

Since this was really a practice piece I tried two different techniques, one on the top and one on the bottom of the shelf. On the top I gave it a wash of black analine dye, sanded that off then applied multiple coats of golden oak Minwax. On the bottom I just applied the golden oak Minwax. After it all dried I mounted it into a dado cut into a scrap piece of Mahogony and that is it. I will put some keyhole slots in the back of the Mahogony to hang the shelf on the wall of my cabin.

Overall I found that the burl patterns are fabulous. I did not like using the black analine dye. This technique is supposed to highlight the grain and in spots it did well but in other areas it made the piece too dark in my opinion. Next time I would use a light brown, a reddish brown, or more yellow.

On the bottom of the shelf you can see the pressure lines caused by the carbide blades on the helical sander. Alot more sanding would be needed to get rid of these. Next time.


-- Carpe Diem

1 comment so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4045 days

#1 posted 12-21-2011 07:57 PM

Next time, just sand a little deeper on the side with the black dye. Keep sanding till the color you see is just the highlights with most of the piece back to just the original maple colors. It’s still a beautiful shelf.

-- Hal, Tennessee

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