Breaking It Down: The Beauty of Burl

Serving looks for generations, burl is one of our favorite furniture finishes. First gaining favor in the Art Deco and Hollywood Regency era, burl is just as popular in today's world of bespoke. Despite its popularity, the specifics of burl remain a mystery to many.

What is burl and why do we love it?

Burl is a growth that can occur on the base, side or trunk of many types of trees. It is formed from unsprouted bud tissue that undergoes stress, causing large growths to form on the base and trunk of a tree. This stress, whether from a fungal infection or forest fire, results in unique movement and colorful irregularities that look pretty damn cool.

As you can see, trees are a bit like us - they've got scars that tell a story. In the same way that carbon undergoes pressure to transform into a diamond, so must a tree undergo stress to create a burl. Whether it's a vintage before-and-after, or a metamorphosis of nature, y'all know we love a transformation!

Once a burl is harvested, it is cleaned at a processing facility and the outer bark is removed. A veneer is then created by thinly slicing or rotary cutting the burl and bonding these thin sheets together against a more stable substrate. This makes the veneer less susceptible to warping or splitting. Finally, these veneers make their way to our Dallas Warehouse, where our in-house carpentry team book matches them onto each piece of furniture to ensure a symmetrical look throughout the finish.

Book matching is the process of flipping and facing sequential leaves of veneer towards each other like pages in a book.

Due to the organic nature of burl, veneers often have natural variations in texture like holes and cracks. Once a veneer has been applied to a piece, our team fills any cracks or holes with expert precision to ensure a smooth and even finish.

Our Burl Offerings

Beginning with a natural option and gradually getting darker in stain, each of our burl shades are sealed with a clear coat for shine and protection.

Our Mappa Burl is harvested from the European Poplar Tree and offers high-contrast visual intrigue. Featuring an array of naturally occurring wood knots and swirls.

Our Olive Ash Burl is harvested from European Ash Trees and is known for its organic movement. Visible grain lines give each veneer a distinctly dramatic look.


The Beauty of Burl?

Real talk y'all: Burl isn't just rare, it's proof that flaws can stun. Many of our burl finishes have small knots and cracks, but we don't think that these imperfections detract from a piece. Rather, we think it's these blemishes that make the wood all the more attractive. Every single piece is special, possessing a rustic beauty that can only be found in nature. Our team takes care to ensure that none of the knots or cracks affect the integrity of a burl veneer.

So the next time you're admiring a burl finish, recognize that there's never been (and never will be) a piece exactly like the one you're seeing. And THAT is something to cherish.