What is Burl Veneer?
Burl veneers have a beautiful and often wild grain pattern. They are often denser than the wood in the trunk of the same tree. Burls occur as a growth on the tree, either as something like a tumor or sometimes as a reaction to damage, such as the loss of a branch or damage to the bark. The tightness of grain and pattern in the wood of burl veneer varies from tree to tree, and even within the same tree. Burls are valuable because of their rarity and unique beauty, and because of their exotic look.
Burls are often put together in “tiles” or squares. They are often installed “book matched,” meaning that at the intersection of four tiles, the tiles will make a pleasing matching pattern. There may be plugs where some of the burl literally falls out and it can be too big to fill with putty. Higher grades of burl wood veneers are called sound grade with a uniform burl throughout the sheet. Because of the rarity of burls, compared to other types of veneer, and also due to the labor and skill required to create a good-looking sheet of burl veneer, prices can be somewhat costly.
Types of Burl Veneer: Mappa Burl, Walnut Burl, Carpathian Elm Burl, Ash Burl, Myrtle Burl, Redwood Burl, Laurel Burl, Beech Burl, and more.
Use: Because Burl veneers are both beautiful and rare, they are generally used for decorative projects such as jewelry boxes and humidors, musical instruments such as pianos, drums and guitars, also for antique furniture reproduction and refinishing, pool tables, interior decorations, yacht interiors, and also used as focal points in entertainment centers and kitchen cabinets.
White Oak Burl veneer has a coarse grain with tight clusters and a very swirly pattern. As with most burls, it can be pricier but can really make a stand-alone piece.