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What is burl wood - explanation and examples

If you like the usage of solid wood in home interiors, you will surely get excited by this special type: burl wood. In this article, we provide some insights of burl wood and show some examples how it can be used in design and furniture making - also, we take a look at our burl nightstands (one of our most exciting floating nightstand projects!).

burl wood veneer

Understanding burl wood

As Wikipedia says, a burl (also known as bur or burr) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds.

This type of deformation is called burl in American English and bur or burr in UK English - meaning the same.

Usually, burl occurs not too high, sometimes on the bottom part of the tree trunk, but even more often under the ground, as part of the root system. In fact, the texture of burl and root materials are often very similar.

As it turns out, burl is not a wood type, it is part of a tree - but not all trees have it, it is rare.

Cost of burl wood

Burl is praised for its highly figurative look and its extraordinary wood grain that cannot be found in regular solid wood materials. Though we could not gather precise statistical data, it is agreed amongst all woodworkers, furniture makers and wood suppliers, that burl is indeed rare, therefore it is much more expensive than regular solid wood. In fact, the same amount of burl wood can be multiple times as expensive as common hardwoods.

Gathering burl wood material therefore is a happy moment for all who work with wood and appreciate such characteristics.

burl veneers

Which trees produce burl

Various types of trees can develop burls, but some species are more prone to forming these growths than others. Some common trees that are known for producing burls include walnut, elm, maple, oak, chestnut. The specific characteristics of the burl wood depend on the tree species, environmental conditions, and the causes of stress or injury that led to the burl's formation. 

Examples of burl wood decor and furniture

Burl wood is regularly used by woodturners and woodworkers, making bowls, knife grips, cutting boards, picture frames, but also by furniture makers for making really premium furniture such as nightstands, end tables, coffee tables, etc.

To keep these projects financially feasible, burl materials are often used in a form of veneer, applied to solid wood, or fiberboards (such as MDF or plywood).

About mybettershelf burl nightstands

When we started our first burl wood project, our long-term dream became true. As our main profile is making floating nightstands, it was evident that the burl will be a part of a nightstand - and as its most attractive part is the drawer front, it was an obvious choice.

To avoid prices getting too high, we also decided to use burl in a form of veneer. Currently, we offer American walnut and chestnut burls, this way providing a quite dark and a medium-tone color option to our customers.

burl nightstand

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