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Big Burl ? New member

2093 Views 14 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  J Thomas
Hi everyone!!

I just signed up and just started browsing the forum.
Looks like some very useful info to be had on this site.I am a hobby woodworker.Actually just started in the last few years.Have done quite a few successful projects so far.I have been starting to incorporate antlers into my projects as well.

I just found an incredibly large burl and am looking for some advice on how to deal with it.I assume a considerable drying time is needed but am not sure.
My plan is to cut it into slices and make table tops out of it with Elk antlers for the legs.Any advice for a burl newbee would be much appreciated.

What is the best way to cut it into slices?How thick should it be sliced etc?
Thanks for responses in advance!!!!


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Welcome-what kind of burl??
Welcome. How in the world did you get that in the back of that truck without tearing the truck up?
I believe it to be a pine burl.It came from a standing dead tree that I believe was a pine tree.It is a very solid chunk.

Used a picker to put it in the truck.I thought it would weigh about 1000lbs but when we set it in the back of the truck it was quite evident it was at least 2000lbs.The truck was a little light on the front end.

Here are a couple pics of my last project.


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Wow that's a big one. Do you have a sawmill in the area? Repost in the Forestry & Milling section and they'll be able to help you out. Nice antlers. I've been wanting to do something with antlers, too, but it is hard to find shed's (Whitetail) in our area.
Do a search on the forum example put this string in a search engine, since the site search decides what words to drop.

Host:Woodworkingtalk.com how thick cut burl

Many threads.

I am not sure what a pine burl grain will look like, however burls normally have wild grain patterns.

Nature is against you once you cut this into slices we call cookies.

They will likely crack and warp. The bigger the diameter of the cookie, the more it wants to crack as it dries. The lack of straight grain in a burl means they will warp as they dry since they will shrink different amount in a given direction.

Forum member Dominick made a router sled to flatten his burl slabs. I have not seen updates on whether these cracked.
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Those tables look great. How do you attach the antlers to your work? I have been pondering doing some piece of work using antlers. I don't have elk antlers but do have lots of white tail. I like the "cabin" look and especially some of the lamps, chandeliers, and other items that incorporate antlers. Awesome work!
Saying that burl is impressive is a huge understatement. That is just awesome. Excellent find. I'm glad it found its way into a woodworkers shop.

If you are going to plan on making table tops out of the burl, I would cut it into cookies two, to three times thicker than what you want your finished thickness to be. Next sticker them and let them air dry. Once dry and you start to mill them to their final thickness, make sure to do it in a few sessions, allowing it to acclimate between milling sessions. The idea is to bring it to thickness slowly. Even doing it this way, you will still get some cracks, but hopefully the cookies will stay flat. The cracks can really add to the design if handled properly. You could add bowties to them to prevent them from cracking any further. Filling the cracks with epoxy that is died to a color of your choice.

Mike Darr
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To attach the antlers to the table top I used screws.I made the table top 1 1/4 thick so I had lots of meat for big screws.I also put glue between the antler and table top.
Cutting the 4 legs is one of the hardest things I ever did.It was incredibly hard to get 4 legs the same length with the proper angles to make the table level.If all the antlers had the same shape it would be a lot easier but they are all uniquely shaped.

Thanks for the replies everyone.
I have gained some good knowledge from it.I like this site already!!!
Absolutely re-post this in the Forestry and Milling section. The folks in there can give excellent advice on how to cut and preserve most of it.

Expect some loss in the drying process. Also slice em twice as thick as you will use them, since they will warp and will need re-sawn. 2'' to 3'' thick as a minimum. You can't run burl thru a planer since it will just chip out.
You will also need to stack and sticker the wood after sliced. I would use bar clamps to hold the stack tight. Then starts the slow drying process. Get a moisture meter from Lowes for $45.oo and keep a check on them. You want to allow the surface moisture to dry down to 8-10%, which means internally is a lot higher. Then go for the kiln and hope for the best.

Great find.
Back away from that truck! !! What you have there is very dangerous peice of wood .
You should load it on a pallet and ship it me and I will dispose of it for , at no charge to you except the shipping cost .

Really nice find .You could soak the " cookies " in denatured alcohl in a large garbage bag for a short time . Can't remember the exact time but someone on the Turning forum could help you out. Turners do this with roughed out bowl blanks .

Good luck .
Really nice find .You could soak the " cookies " in denatured alcohl in a large garbage bag for a short time . Can't remember the exact time but someone on the Turning forum could help you out. Turners do this with roughed out bowl blanks .
Denatured alcohol is used as a method to reduce the time to remove moisture from a rough turned bowl. It will not help with dimension changes.

The moisture is replaced by the alcohol, which evapourates faster than water alone.

You will have similar results due to the dimensional changes, such as cracks, warps, etc.

There is a product called PEG (polyethylene glycol) which replaces the water in the cells and minimizes dimensional changes. Effective but expensive.

So a search for PEG Green Wood Stabilizer.
WOW.. That thing is huge!!:eek:
And I thought I had a good'un growing in the pasture..
This is on a spruce tree.. About 3 ft across x 2.5 high

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