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Thread: How to cut and process a fresh burl for handle blocks

  1. #1
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    How to cut and process a fresh burl for handle blocks


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    This is a step by step guide on how to cut up a fresh burl for knife handle blocks.

    The burl I am using is a Western Big Leaf Maple burl.
    This burl was growing on the side of a maple trunk.
    The burl cap was cut using a chain saw cutting parallel to the trunk to slice the burl cap off the tree.
    This affects the tree much like trimming off a branch. The tree continues to live.



    1st thing I do is place the burl on the bandsaw table and position it so I can make a straight cut along one side of the burl.





    This cut gives me a straight edge that I will use against the fence for future cuts.
    It also gives me a glimpse of what I am going to find inside the burl.



    Here I have cut the burl into 4 slices. One of them I cut wider, right at the crown of the burl.



    I laid the slices flat and marked a straight line along the edges.



    Next I trimmed the edges straight.

    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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  2. #2
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    I have a feeling this is gonna be cool as a polar bear's backside. Thanks for sharing, Mark!
    Terrio HandMade Knives subforum

    Beckerhead # 350

    Member, AKTI and KnifeRights

  3. #3
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    This straight edge goes against the fence so I can cut the slices into strips.



    This was the thick (2&1/2") slice, so I cut narrower (1&3/8") strips to make the wood against the fence the faces of the blocks.



    Turned to lay flat to show the surface that will be the faces of the blocks.



    Now I am cutting the 3 narrower (1&3/8") strips. The area against the table will be the faces of these blocks so I am cutting wider (2&1/2") strips.



    These are the strips cut from the narrower slices.





    Last step is to trim the strips into blocks.



    Everything has been cut slightly oversized to allow for what I will have to trim away to true up these blocks after they are finished drying.
    To air dry these they should be put on a shelf out of direct sunlight. If you stand them on edge air can flow around the blocks for more even drying. Flip them over every several days. Normal rule of thumb for air drying is about 1 year for each inch of thickness.
    Last edited by Burl Source; 11-19-2011 at 04:38 PM.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Mark very cool. That is great info. Your saw an old meat saw? My dad had one similar.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the lesson

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horsewright View Post
    Thanks Mark very cool. That is great info. Your saw an old meat saw? My dad had one similar.
    You are correct. Good tough old bandsaw.
    We have a few of them here that we use for the rough, utility type cutting.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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  7. #7
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    Sweet Mark, seems like there's a lot of hype about burl lately

    Wished we had better trees around here.. I'd go hunting every day..

    do you have to let it dry or can it go straight to the stabilizer??
    BeckerHead #13

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  8. #8
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    What type of blade do you use? It looks to me like a steel blade would dull quickly cutting burls straight from the woods.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battle Creek Knives View Post
    Sweet Mark, seems like there's a lot of hype about burl lately
    Wished we had better trees around here.. I'd go hunting every day..
    do you have to let it dry or can it go straight to the stabilizer??
    The wood needs to be dry before being stabilized.

    Quote Originally Posted by woodwrkr221 View Post
    What type of blade do you use? It looks to me like a steel blade would dull quickly cutting burls straight from the woods.
    On the meat cutter bandsaws we just use the cheap generic blades.
    Green wood cuts a lot easier than dry wood. The problem comes when we cut a rock.
    The underground burls will often have dirt pockets with rocks so it is only a matter of time before you hit one and ruin the blade.
    That is why we use the cheap $15 blades instead of a $50 bi-metal.

    I have another bandsaw that I use with clean dry wood when I need precision cuts.
    On that one I use the better bi-metal blades.
    Mark Farley / It's a Burl
    Phone 541-592-5071, Email burlsource@gmail.com
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  10. #10
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    Good info Mark, I'm sure I would have got a lot more out of the ones I cut knowing this
    instead of "By guess and By Golly"
    Ken.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for sharing, a peek inside your world!


    Thanks for looking!
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  12. #12
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    Very cool tutorial, thank you, I'm goin' out with the chainsaw now to see what I can find, have a lot of black walnut to cut up.
    "Of the knives I own, the ones I'd buy, are considerably less in number." (Ted)TAE 11-02-12
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