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Black locust burls

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I suppose this question would have been aimed at WDH, may he rest in peace. Any how here goes; today picking out locust saw logs to cut a good sized order I found some nice fat ones, good on both ends, no brown heart. These logs have burls and it hit me that the best locust I have cut in the past also had burls that I cut off and kept wet for a wood turner friend. What is the relationship here? Do burls on the side of a nice locust tree tell me to expect a healthy saw log?

doc henderson:
good question, no idea! :)

Ron Wenrich:
I haven't seen burls on black locust in my neck of the woods.  I have sawn some pretty nice locust without burls.  It may be an indicator, but you have to have a bit larger sample size.  Its real easy to remember the ones with a burl, but forget about the nice ones without the burl.

We've had some discussion about burls in the past.  We had one guy that suggested that the burls came from some sort of injury.  He was turning a cherry burl and came up with bullet on the inside.  So, he thought they formed from bullets and shot up a bunch of cherry trees, just for the burls.  We never did find out how his experiment ended.

Others have suggested that it comes from some sort of stress on the tree.  Bacteria,fungus and insects have also been suggested.  There are a few posts that talk about hollow trees and burls. 

I would speculate that no one really has figured it out.  What is interesting is that burls appear on many different species. 

doc henderson:
there is some sort of pine pole they build with in the south west or maybe it was Deadwood.  porch poles and stuff, and they seem to have a bulge or burl every 3 feet.  seems like they are "produced".

I should age these nice logs. What I generally find is the young small logs produce the sound lumber. Just when the log gets good dia. the heart goes rotten and most times you can't box it out. Then you have the monster logs that are heart rotten but have enough good wood on the outside [hence the top saw].   A member here once said that the tap root dies and causes the heart rot so common in locust.  Locust is a pioneer ment to be replaced by another tree species. Most times they have poor form from being open grown. A good third of the logs are no good for lumber but there is constant demand for locust planks and I charge a high price. A mill as small as me needs this type of specialty.  This is not the first time the burly logs where the best.


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