How To Finish Burl Wood? [4 Step Guide]

A burl is an attractive, superfluous growth on a tree. These valuable wood pieces can be used to make lots of things. For example, you can make veneers, furniture, artwork, bowls, and even wood watches with it. 

Now, you might be wondering how to finish burl wood?

Finishing burl wood can be done only by following four steps. First, you have to do the sanding. Then oil the burl wood. After you’ve finished oiling the burl wood, build up successive coats. Lastly, remove the excess oil that has accumulated in the burl wood. This is how you can finish burl wood.

Now, these will not be enough for you. Therefore, we request you to read the step-by-step guide on finishing burl woods. 

So, without further ado, let’s get into the details!

Table of Contents

4 Steps Of Finishing Burl Wood

How To Finish Burl Wood

Finishing your burl wood is important. This way your wood will be protected. Plus it’ll look much better too. 

Now, these four steps will help you to finish the burl wood. Just follow the instructions to achieve your ultimate goal-

Step 1 of 4: Sanding The Burl Woods

The first step is to properly cut the burl. Now, continue to apply paint sealer. Keep sanding between layers of the wood. Until the surface is perfectly level and there are no visible imperfections. Be very careful about little cracks, you might not see them easily.

Now, apply wet sand with 400 grit between layers. Then, over the top, apply three or four coats of a gloss finish. By then, the finish should be rather appealing.

As a result, working your way through the grits up to 400 grit is adequate for most woods. Because normally the Woodblocks get sanded to 400 grit easily. 

Step 2 of 4: Oil The Burl Wood

After the wood has been sanded to 400 grit, prepare it for oiling. Use an air compressor and an air nozzle to blow off any sanding dust. You can produce your own oil by combining-

  • 1/3 Linseed 
  • 1/3 Varnish
  • 1/3 Paint thinner

However, you may achieve similar results by purchasing a can of Danish oil. Once you have the oil, apply a generous coat of oil to the wood with a brush.

Then let it dry for about 15 or 20 minutes. Once dried, apply a second coat. Next, wait for approximately an hour before wiping it down with an old cloth.

Step 3 of 4: Build Up Successive Coating

Building up successive coating is the standard method for applying an oil finish. If you want a satisfactory result, this can take several days. This allows you to forego the time-consuming process of applying a hand-rubbed oil finish.

Now, when you oil the wood, you may find some sanding marks you didn’t notice previously. As long as the scratches are not deep, the oiling should have fixed minor flaws. But if not, you would have to re-sand and re-oil the wood.

Step 4 of 4: Removing The Excess Oil In The Burl Wood

You can use the compressor and air nozzle after completing the preceding steps. These will blow away any excess oil that has accumulated, such as checks, voids, and open grain.

This step is critical so you have to be careful. Otherwise, the extra oil will flow out. As a result, the finish will be uneven.

First, you have to apply a top layer of lacquer without waiting for the oil to completely dry. It is entirely up to you whether or not to let the wood dry overnight.

When you build boxes. Then you just wash away any extra oil before proceeding to the lacquer phase. We prefer using aerosol for washing that extra oil. 

These are the four effective steps you need to take to finish burl wood. Please let us know if you require any further support.


Question: What is the best type of burl wood?

Answer: Redwood, oak, ash, maple, madrone, elm, and walnut are all common burl species. Mappa poplar burl, thuya, and imbuya are just a few of the exotics with popular burls. 

Question: Can You Stain Burl Wood?

Answer: Yes, burl can be stained. However, the darker the stain, the less visible the burl appears. There will be less contrast between light and dark wood in the grain. Therefore you can easily stain burl wood to make it more good-looking.

Question: How do you sand a wood burl?

Answer: You can sand a wood burl by using a Flatmaster. The Flatmasters has sandpaper in it which will sand the wood burl and make it smooth. And then you can start finishing the wood burl. 

Question: How do you finish a burl veneer?

Answer: Here’s what you should do, you have to apply sealer and keep sanding between layers. Until the surface is properly aligned and there are no visible faults. Apply 3 or 4 light “mist” coatings of your favorite sanding sealer. This is done to seal the veneer without spraying a wet coat through it.

Question: How much burl wood is worth?

Answer: The majority of burl woods, particularly layered burl woods, are not highly valued. A block of bigger-eyed burl wood in good condition should fetch $25 to $200. And it also depends on the condition, size, and species. A burl wood as large as 8 feet in diameter, as well as numerous in the 4-5 foot range. These can be worth up to $500.

What is burl wood?

Burl wood is a type of wood that comes from a growth on a tree. The growth is usually caused by a fungal infection or other stress to the tree, which causes the grain of the wood to become distorted and twisted. Burl wood is highly prized for its unique and often beautiful appearance.

Why is finishing burl wood difficult?

Burl wood is difficult to finish because its irregular grain can cause the finish to be absorbed unevenly. This can result in a blotchy or uneven finish. Additionally, burl wood can be very porous, which can also affect the way the finish is absorbed.

What type of finish should I use on burl wood?

The type of finish you should use on burl wood depends on your desired outcome. If you want a natural look, you can use a clear finish like shellac or lacquer. If you want to add color to the wood, you can use a stain before applying a clear finish. Some people also like to use an oil-based finish to bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

How should I prepare the burl wood before applying the finish?

Before applying any finish, you should sand the burl wood to a smooth surface. This will help the finish absorb evenly. You may also want to use a wood conditioner to help the finish absorb more evenly. Be sure to wipe the wood clean of any sawdust or debris before applying the finish.

How many coats of finish should I apply to burl wood?

The number of coats of finish you should apply depends on your desired outcome. Generally, you should apply at least two coats of finish, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. You can apply additional coats if you want a thicker or more durable finish.

How should I apply the finish to burl wood?

The best way to apply the finish to burl wood is with a brush. Be sure to apply the finish evenly and in thin coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. If you see any bubbles or brush marks, you can lightly sand the surface before applying the next coat.

How should I care for burl wood after it is finished?

To care for burl wood after it is finished, you should avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures and moisture. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as these can scratch or damage the finish. Instead, use a soft cloth to wipe the surface clean as needed.

Bottom Line

These steps are little-known ways on how to finish burl wood. However, these are quite effective steps.

We hope we were able to assist you with the information you required. Now, it’s you who has to make a move and finish the burl wood. 

Also, contact us if you have queries. We will always assist you in this matter. Good luck!

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