What's Inside a Maple Burl?

January 09, 2019



Photographer: Dale Hugo 
Summary Author: Dale Hugo 

The burl shown above is from a soft maple, which was approximately 55 years old when it was felled near my home in Arlington Heights, Illinois. With a thin hand saw I sliced off the branch it was growing on. Burls are essentially slow-growing benign tumors. Big burls are highly prized for their beauty, especially from hard maples. Note that the grain in this wood is quite complex. The tangle of grains make for beautiful veneers for table tops, wall panels and furniture as long as they're unblemished by voids. Even in rather dim light the satin hue of a good burl veneer seems to glow, giving a depth and sheen unmatched by any other surface. Photo taken in early December 2018.

Photo Details: Top - Camera: Apple iPad; Exposure Time: 0.067s (1/15); Aperture: ƒ/2.4; ISO equivalent: 80; Focal Length (35mm): 35. Bottom - same except: Exposure Time: 0.017s (1/60); ISO equivalent: 64.