My First Burl

  • Advertise with us
Project by Ronbrush posted 11-20-2013 11:25 PM 1647 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My brother is an avid outdoors person (and a first class wildlife carver!). Recently, he brought me a burl that he had found on one of his trips through the bush. His only comment was, “See what you can do with this.” I’m a novice wood turner so it sat in my shop for six months and became a source of intimidation. Finally, I took the plunge, cut it and ended up with three pieces that I could get on my lathe.

The largest finished piece is about 9.5” in diameter and has a walnut base (I thought it would be a good counter to the natural edge). We’re not sure about the burl but it’s probably pine or spruce, based on the location where it was found. The two larger pieces are finished with polyurethane and the small one with tung oil sealer. Mother Nature supplied the bug and worm embellishements.

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

11 comments so far

View poospleasures's profile (online now)


862 posts in 3497 days

#1 posted 11-21-2013 12:01 AM

I like them alot. I hope one day to find some burl to try. I better find a bunch as I will probably destroy a bunch before having a piece I would want someone to see. You have a great handle on what I have just thought about.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View doubleDD's profile


10159 posts in 3056 days

#2 posted 11-21-2013 03:00 AM

Very nice turnings. Great color.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2838 days

#3 posted 11-21-2013 10:32 AM

Three very nice bowls the burl wood looks great. I like the natural edges.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


131 posts in 3100 days

#4 posted 11-21-2013 01:54 PM

Great job! The walnut was a great choice for a base.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3880 days

#5 posted 11-21-2013 05:17 PM

Magnificent! The wood is beautiful and done very nicely.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View GeneR's profile


152 posts in 2951 days

#6 posted 11-22-2013 08:45 PM

very nice , the only constructive criticism I could give you is that I think the smaller 2 would have looked better with the same walnut base as the large bowl making them more of a matched set. other then that they look great, keep up the excellent work.

-- Failure is always an option. :-)

View Ronbrush's profile


29 posts in 2664 days

#7 posted 11-22-2013 09:35 PM

Thanks to everyone for your comments and encouragement. You are all very kind and gentle!

I agree with your comment about using walnut for bases on all three –– the idea came to me too, but only “after the fact”! Still being a novice turner, I wasn’t even thinking of creating a matched set but rather, I just hoped to get something out of the burl without destroying it. Remember, I noted above that the burl sat in my shop and intimidated me for quite a while.

The two smaller pieces came from one side of the burl which had a crack (that’s after I had cut it in half at another crack). I separated the pieces at the crack and turned those ones first without any plan except to end up with two bowls – if I was lucky! Only when I got to the larger one, did it occur to me that the base would make a nice addition.

I guess that kind of thinking comes earlier with more experience – which I hope to get if I can get the material.

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3189 days

#8 posted 11-26-2013 03:05 PM

All three look amazing! The burl is gorgeous and the natural edge. I’m sure your brother is proud that you did justice to it.

View Cousinwill's profile


131 posts in 3904 days

#9 posted 11-26-2013 03:43 PM

N—-I—-C—-E !!!!!!!!

-- William from the oldest town in Texas

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2765 days

#10 posted 04-22-2014 11:21 PM

excellent work man. you turned a VERY intimidating hunk of wood into some nice bowls. I know what you mean. I have several large Black Mulberry logs with SO much good wood for turning, but again. Intimidating.

Is the wood very dense? I dont know much about spruce, but it doesnt look much like pine. Looks more like maple or something

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View Ronbrush's profile


29 posts in 2664 days

#11 posted 04-23-2014 12:31 AM

”but it doesnt look much like pine. Looks more like maple or something”

Thanks again for the compliments!

I’m sure no expert at identifying wood species but it’s definitely not maple. The wood was too soft and not dense enough. Because it was a burl, the grain patterns are somewhat unique and don’t really help – me at least – to identify the species.

My brother and his buddies will look for more burls on their next trip north; maybe they will take a closer look at the trees around them to see if there are more clues for burl identification!

-- Ron Tourangeau, Ottawa, ON –

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics