All About Wood Burls

Maple burl on whitespace background

We love working with wood burls, but what exactly are they??

Burls are the gnarly growths and deformities on trees. You may hear them described as "tumors" or "warts" on trees. They can be in the ground as root burls, at the base of the tree, or even sticking off the tree halfway up. We take these deformities and see something incredible inside of them. Working with each piece is like opening a birthday present, every day!

From Wikipedia: A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.

Sourcing & Sustainability

We buy our burls directly from the people who harvest and collect them. We work with only a few suppliers to ensure that the burls we are using have been responsibly harvested, never from illegal areas and never from endangered species.

The two most common types of burls we work with are Buckeye Burl and Maple Burl.

Large Buckey Burl on white background

Buckeye Burl

Our Buckeye Burl comes from a single supplier, based in Northern California and is sustainably sourced from private land. Buckeye is primarily a root burl that is only found in California (and some small parts of Oregon). It produces a beautiful range of colors and the valleys and rifts we find in the live edges are amazing!

Large maple wood burl on white background

Maple Burl

Our Maple Burl is sourced from Northeastern Oregon and is collected from trees left behind by loggers or trees on private land that need to be taken down. We primarily use Big Leaf Maple because it tends to grow the largest burls and has some wild and crazy live edge patterns. The wood is very hard and dense and is easy to work with.

Oak burl on green grass lawn

Other Burls

We also source burls locally after trees have died or fallen over from weather or wind damage. Northern Indiana does not produce very large burls but we have made some amazing products from local Maple, Oak, Willow and Elm burls. We have also sourced burls with some pretty interesting back stories. We found a small collection of Redwood Burls that were from trees burned in the 2018 forest fires. When we received the burls at our shop, they had various areas of charcoal and burn throughout them. This made for some really interesting color and grain patterns in the finished products!

The Burl Lookbook!

Yes, we are perfectly aware of how silly it might be to be so obsessed with random tree growths. But trust us! If you got to see the crazy grain patterns, knots, twists and swirls that we cut into each day, you'd start to get a little obsessed too. Here are just a few of the burls we've worked with...

Small buckeye burl on white background
Overhead photo of buckeye burl on white background
Very small piece of wood burl
Wood Tree Burl
Wood Tree Burl on white background
Wood Tree Burl on white background
Wood Tree Burl
Wood Tree Burl
Wood Tree Burl

I get to work with some of the craziest looking things that grow in nature. Each burl yields something a bit different than the last one, it never gets old just walking around our shop and seeing all the unique products being made from this amazing material. I also get to travel around the country (and sometimes the world!) meeting with the other small businesses that we get to work with. We love telling our story but it's also great to hear the stories of how other small businesses got started and found their niche. Keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages to see more of their stories. Here are a couple of photos from 2019 during our visit to Oregon to meet with our supplier...and explore Ecola State Park and Hug Point.

Signature of John Webber Founder of Carved
Man and son standing by large tree
Large maple tree with burls in the woods
Maple tree with burls
Beach photo of Oregon coast and mountains