Burl describes the presence of dormant buds in a live tree.
These dormant buds create a sunburst effect in the wood when the wood is
quarter sawn as shown in the sample on the left. The sample on the right
displays how burl appears when flat sawn. Dormant buds contain all the genetic
information to grow new wood tissue. Why they are created by the tree and
remain dormant is a mystery. Some experts believe they are formed due to
injury or disease, while others believe it has to due with genetics. One
thing is for certain, the effect these dormant buds have on the appearance
of the wood after it has been sawn is truly a thing of beauty. For centuries
burl wood has been considered a prized possession. Trees are like oysters,
not every oyster produces a pearl and not every tree produces a burl. The
greatest demand for burls in the wood market today is for use as veneer,
these veneers adorn many of today's most expensive automobiles and are also
used in the production of fine furniture.