Rons Primitive Skills

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crape myrtle burl

Here are some photos of a very nice burl I salvaged from the tree trimmers scrap pile. Its from a crape myrtle tree. I'm going to let this baby dry for a few years and make something nice. It has no defects or cracks. It looks like its going to be highly figured from the swirling and bubbly appearance of the outside. In this very dry climate it should be ready to cut in 2 years or so. I've used the limb sections like the one attached to the burl for knife/tool handles and it drys very nice and I never had a problem with cracks. The wood has a nice solid grain and carves like poplar.


Michael S said...

Out of curiosity, what did you have in mind to make from it? Would you be carving the shaft/limb as well?

Ron Layton said...

Hi Michael
I will be doing a bowl from one side and if the burl figure is very nice I'll cut the other side into 1/4" thick slabs for knife scales. The only thing I'll be using the limb for is knife and tool handles. I left the limb on it to get it home and because the diameter is just right for handles. Thanks for commenting.

Jumper said...

Envious of the burl. Also thanks for the tip about crape myrtle wood. I have a surplus.

firststeps said...

Look forward to seeing what you make with the bur...Happy carving...J;-)

Savannah Granny said...

Hi Ron, I just salvaged quite a bit of burl from the crepe myrtles on our property. It was caused by improper butchering (trimming) of the trees in the past. We decided to try and cut off the gnarled portion and hopefully allow the trees to regain some of their natural beauty.
The gnarled portions and they have very interesting shapes and one would make a nice walking stick.
Since I know nothing about such things, how do I dry this wood so that it won't crack? You mentioned saving it for two years. Is that customary? We just cut it today and there was no sap. I just dumped in the wooded area of my property while I research the drying process. I realize this is an old post so I hope you see this. Thanking you in advance for any guidance you can provide.
Ginger (Savannah Granny)

Ron Layton said...

Hi Savannah Granny! I would let the wood dry out slowly in a cool, shaded area. The burl I had pictured was left in a warm room too long and it was ruined by cracking severely. So, cool and shade are the best ways to protect it. I also would go so far as to paint the ends like I did with my yaupon (see article). I also painted the ends of some fresh cut sweet gum and it has not shown a single crack. I use cheap white latex house paint. Latex is much preferred over oil base because its easier to clean off the wood and also easier to clean up the tools and yourself afterwards ;-). Thanks for your comment and let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Ron