Turning Archive

Re: Value of raw burls
Response To:
Value of raw burls *PIC* ()

John K Jordan
Burls can be a toss of the dice, a pig in a poke. Some are beautiful inside; some not so much with rot, bark inclusions, or other problems. They might fetch more from some turners if cut to expose the inside so they can see what they are getting, but then that cut might not be the best for a particular use. How to best cut up a burl is a common question. The answer has a lot of "depends."

One that grows around the tree often has a straight-grained center, great for small things but potentially not as useful for larger turnings. A projection that grows on one side of the tree may not even be a burl but where the tree healed around dead limb. (lots of people are fooled by this) Yours look pretty "burley." You might examine closely and see if there is any sign of decay as sometimes found in cherry burls - if so the value may be small without opening it to see. A large domed burl on the side of a tree is valuable to everyone including large bowl turners, IF it is good insde.

Also, the size makes a difference. I've given relatively small cherry burls away. A guy near here told me he sold a large walnut burl last week for $500. (he said it was over 30" across) I told him I thought he did well - that was far, far more than I would have offered. You may want to measure them before advertising.

The ultimate problem is finding a buyer. Sometimes people find buyers by contacting woodturing clubs. Pricing seems tricky to me. You can ask people to make an offer but you may get more for them if you set a price and wait for the right buyer. How long you are willing to wait might be a factor! You might do an online search and see what others are asking for burls of similar size and shape.

First thing I'd do is get them off the ground. You can trim away some the extra tree section above and below and seal the exposed ends.


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