A: It varies from piece to piece. The sculptures take the longest. Burl is a very hard wood to work with. I take breaks from working on sculptures, much like an artist that walks away form their painting, so that when you come back you see things fresh. It's different if an order is placed and I have a deadline vs. getting to it when I can.
A: It depends on what the piece will be used for. I put myself in the buyers shoes. I cannot prevent surfaces from damage, but I can apply protection! For tables, this may include a resin sealing coat, then a top coat of polyurethane, or lacquer. To keep a thin, but durable surface, sometimes I use oil and Formby's Tung Oil that has polymers in it. I personally like this finish because you don't lose the feel of the wood.
A: Well, our neighbors are missing a few trees… just kidding! Actually, my neighbors have watched me make things and have offered up wood that they need to have cut because of a storm, or for other reasons. I have found them while on my work travels. I have made connections with tree services in the area that keep a look out. Then, there's the internet. However, people feel they have struck gold and ask ridiculous prices online. Sometimes, they don't even have a real burl! Winter time is a tease when I drive around. The leaves are down and you can see way into the woods where all the nice burls hide.
A: I use a chainsaw to get the bulk of the rough cut done. I will have large burls cut into slabs by friends that have those kinds of tools. I use a router and a jig to level smaller slabs/tops. I use attachments for angle grinders to shape and cut. Then, I sand and sand until the wood shines!
A: Please, see the Open Studio tab to find dates that I will be showing to the public. Or, if you're going to be in the area, contact me in advance. I'm more than happy to meet people and show them around.
A: Here is the long Wikipedia version of the definition:
A burl (American English) or bur or burr (British English) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds. A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. 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.
Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, one prized for its beauty by many; its rarity also adds to its expense. It is sought after by people such as furniture makers, artists, and wood sculptors. There are a number of well-known types of burls (each from a particular species); these are highly valued and used as veneers in furniture, inlay in doors, picture frames, household objects, automobile interior paneling and trim, and woodturning. The famous Birdseye maple superficially resembles the wood of a burl but is something else entirely. Burl wood is very hard to work in a lathe or with hand tools because its grain is misshapen and not straight.
Some burls are more highly prized than others, including ones originating in rural areas in central Massachusetts, northeast Connecticut, and as far south as Philadelphia. Some types display an explosion of sorts which causes the grain to grow erratically, and it is these burls that the artist prizes over all other types. These spectacular patterns enhance the beauty of wood sculptures, furniture, and other artistic productions. Burls are harvested by a variety of methods.
A: It's like looking at cloud shapes and seeing things that they look like. Sometimes, it's immediate and the mind says that it's this, or that. Other times, it's not until you take the bark off, any rot out, and stare at it until the first one blinks! Then, there's the burls for table and top making. They are large enough and have enough character to use as a surface of something.