Q: What is a burl?
A: A burl is a bulge, bump or growth that forms on the base trunk or a branch of most species of trees. Woodworkers prize burls, which tend to cluster near the base of a tree, for their swirling grain patterns, particularly the circular shapes called “eyes.” Craftsmen turn the burls into furniture, bowls, clocks and knickknacks.
Q. Are burls worth a lot of money?
A. Burls have worth, however no one is going to get rich off of one burl. There is lots of overhead and the market has been down for the last six years dramatically. It also depends on if it is what I call Craft burl or Veneer quality burl. Veneer being the best quality. Price depends on how much work is involved and how far I must travel to harvest and pick the burl up.
Q. How do you get burls?
A. I will go out and harvest my own if it is a larger one, on private property. I have many calls a week from people who have burls to sell. Some people bring them to my shop. If someone brings them to my shop I need to determine to the best of my ability if it is legal.
Q. How do you determine whether the burl is legal?
A. I have a Burl Purchase Agreement form. It requires a picture ID, address of where they harvested the burl, phone number and how much I paid for the burl. If it is an illegal burl they will not give me their ID to photocopy. No ID no purchase!