How Does Your Burl Grow?

Deep in the woods, mysterious trees grow. They have a deformity that makes them more

valuable. No, the dark arts are not at work, but rather the magic of Mother Nature, and the growth of burls, roundish outgrowths in trees. Most burls are found in hardwood.

Once the burl is split, unique artistry stretches from one end to the other. No two burls have the same pattern. This is where the perfection lies.

Furniture makers and artists search to find the perfect burl. Due to their exclusivity, burls cost much more than normal trees. Some run upwards of $70/pound.

They are used in furniture finishing, luxury vehicles, and art sculptures. Not only is the wood rare, it takes a skilled artisan to craft it. Burls have lots of twists and knots in the wood, due to the deformed wood grain. If you are going to create something from burl-wood you should know what you are doing.

So high is the demand that burls are sometimes subject to poaching. It seems burls have become the new ivory.

So how exactly does a burl form?

When a tree contracts an excessive growth hormone, it begins to deform. A large bulge forms on the outside of the trunk. Once the burl has reached maturity, it can be cut off from the trunk, and then split into pieces. Burls vary in size, in fact, some can grow to over 20 feet wide.

They can be found in Asia, Scotland, Wales, and many regions in America and Canada. Some of the popular designs stem from oak, maple, and redwood trees. Each geographic region produces burls completely different from one another.

In the Yukon, burls have made a home for themselves.

Meet Dennis Parent, a Whitehorse resident who co-owns some burls with a friend.

“My buddy and I were on a hunting trip and that’s where we came across them,” he says.

The burls themselves are located a few hundred kilometers outside of Whitehorse and are a bit spread out. But Parent knew they were a gem find.

“A lot of people who are into crafts have been buying them, we also have made some walking sticks too,” he says.

For Parent, the majority of their burls are taken from spruce and pine trees, which take on a natural beauty of their own. He has been in the burl business for only three months, but he and his co-burler look forward to continuing it well into the future.

For more information contact Parent at (867) 336-0181 

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