Northern California is home to some of the most impressive trees on the planet. The coastal redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, holds the record for being the world’s tallest tree, and some have lived over 3,000 years and grown to be nearly 380 feet tall. These trees are prized for their size and rarity as well as the durability and unique color of the wood. They also produce some of the largest burls, and, in our opinion, some of the most beautiful. Redwood burl is popular worldwide for furniture, veneer, bowls, home decor and more. In this blog post, we’d like to talk about what makes redwood burl so unique.
Characteristics of Redwood Burl
Woodworkers around the world love redwood for its color, rarity, and durability. Though redwood is a softwood, old growth trees have much denser wood than most other softwoods. It is also highly resistant to rot and insect damage. The burl wood found in these trees has astounding character as well as astounding size – it’s not uncommon for us to see burls weighing in at over 20,000 pounds in our shop. Because these pieces are so large, we often use redwood burl for table tops and counters. Redwood can show a wide variety of grain patterns, including lace burl and birds-eye.
One of the qualities redwood burl is best known for is its amazing regenerative capacity. Live redwood burl can sprout new growth even after being cut, and will eventually grow into a new tree. These burls are often sold as novelties to tourists and are easy to keep alive with plenty of water, low light, and moderate temperatures.
Redwood Burl Furniture
Redwood burl can be used for all kinds of furniture, from bed frames to dining tables to rocking chairs. It is especially popular for live edge coffee tables and end tables like the example shown.
Ethically Sourced Redwood
Because of the rarity and beauty of a redwood burl, poaching is a serious problem. Poachers cut burl wood from living trees in protected areas, which can cause serious damage and even kill the tree. The scars left behind when cutting burl from live redwood trees are an unpleasant sight, especially in our national parks. Burl wood poaching is illegal and detrimental to our local ecosystem. Because of this, we strongly encourage anyone interested in buying redwood burl, especially old growth redwood, to always check the source.
All the redwood we use in our custom burl wood furniture is ethically sourced, harvested legally on privately owned land. We salvage stumps and logs left behind by previous logging operations – instead of being left to rot on the forest floor, these long-dead pieces of wood can be given new life as furniture. We never cut down any living redwood trees or harvest burl from live trees. Ethical sourcing allows us to provide this beautiful burl wood to craftsmen worldwide while still protecting the old growth redwood forests that make California’s north coast so special.