Walnut Burls


Climbing Up
Aug 25, 2005
Ceres, CA
I don't if this is the correct section for this post but here goes. I have been thinking about getting into the harvesting of walnut burls but the problem is I don't know how they need to be treated to prepare them properly. I also don't know how to tell if a tree has a burl. Is anyone in the forum doing this?
I am not, but I do know it is a big problem in the valley. Guys are coming in to the walnut orchards with a back hoe and a chain saw and cutting down walnut trees, digging out the burls and leaving.

Some of the walnuts have been there for many years.

When I dig out a burl, the folks who buy them take them right away. They do all the curing. All they want is the raw burl.
Steve, what I know about burls is this :
People feel like they need to cut the burl off of the trunk wood... like, shear it off. This is a mistake.
Cut the burl out atleast 1 ft. above & 1 ft. below the trunk wood of the burl.
Capish ?
There's all kinds of cool swirly-grained wood in there !!!
Also, wood-turners like to use green wood to control the drying. Most projects are dried right in with the chips to control the moisture. Green wood is desirable.
TC's technique is sound, (cutting 1' above & below the burl). Only thing I would add to this would be to use some type of end sealer to slow down & control the drying.

Laytex(sp) paint will work in a pinch on the ends...apply as soon as possible after the cuts are made,(within 5-10 minutes max)!

The idea is to have the wood dry from the sides and NOT from the ends!;) Carefully removing the bark is something that should be done as well for air drying.

When we dig out burls, we dig out the entire root flair. This extends down pretty far but is different for each species.

When the Madrone burls are dug out, they extend far below the surface on the bigger ones.

Often you can see the flatbed semis hauling them down the freeway.

They look like monster Macadamia nuts
I know a guy here that makes a lot of bowl and he tells me the same thing....he wants the raw wood (walnut is the preference, but he likes euc, too)