Timber of-the-Month: Brown Mallee Burl

Timber of-the-Month: Brown Mallee – Eucalyptus Dumosa (?)

The inaugural timber of-the-month from Brad’s Burls is a piece of Brown Mallee Burl, which looks very interesting in it’s as-cut state, and stunning when given a quick sand and oil (let alone any serious finishing).

Brown Mallee Burl as-cut

Brown Mallee Burl as-cut

There is always a lot of tortured, gnarly grain in a burl which always leads to some very striking patterns.  The edge of the burl has a much lighter shade which will make for an awesome natural-edged object.  In this case, I am considering turning it into a dual lidded box, with the edge of the burl actually meeting at the centreline.

Edge of Burl

Edge of Burl

This piece was approximately 400mm x 400mm x 10mm, costing $33.

Once sanded, some checking near the centre became apparent, and the piece has a slight warp which can be flattened out by storing the piece with some weight resting on it.  (Typical of a burl which has been bought from a NSW to Victorian climate – it needs to acclimatise to the local conditions, and allowing it to do so is a critical step.  The process of acclimatisation will take a few weeks, and it is better to allow it to happen now, than to have it happen uncontrolled in the box or whatever you’ve made from it!)

Sanded to 1200 Grit

Sanded to 1200 Grit

Sanding very quickly revealed more of the character in the timber, and even at the lower grits a sheen was quickly produced.  I continued sanding up to 1200 grit, using a ROS (random orbital sander).  There was a surprisingly little amount of dust produced, and no particular smell to note.

Lightly Oiled piece

Lightly Oiled piece

Next, a light oil was applied (Triton in this case), which really revealed the rich, warm mid brown/orange tone.

Centre Portion, Oiled

Centre Portion, Oiled

The centre area of the burl is also worth noting, and shows a very interesting character.

Closeup of Centre Region

Closeup of Centre Region

Getting in very close, and the texture becomes quite fascinating, with a real 3D effect to the surface – this still looks and feels smooth to the touch, but I spent a long time just looking at the macrostructure that is revealed here.

(Macrostructure – a term I’ve nicked from metallurgy, which is used to describe the general crystalline structure of a metal and the distribution of impurities seen on a polished or etched surface by either the naked eye or under low magnification of less than x10.  Seemed quite appropriate here as well).

So a very promising material, and one that will make a great inlay box lid or similar (once I have the confidence to actually cut into it!)

Thanks to Brad’s Burls, and hopefully this will become a useful photo-resource as the list of timbers covered grows (pun intended!)

Brad's Burls

Testing a New Input Method

I’m trying out a novel way of creating blog entries, and at this stage not sure if it is entirely successful or not.

It is using voice dictation software, but I am unsure whether I can actually think any faster by speaking than I do when I’m typing. Let alone, the number of small mistakes this product is currently making that I have to keep going back and correcting.

I guess with practice, that both it and I will learn how to work with each other to improve the overall accuracy, and once I become somewhat more familiar with writing by speaking, then everything might become a little smoother. Irrespective, it is rather disconcerting to watch one’s words appear on the screen just by speaking. I have used these sorts of products in the past to varying degrees of success, but never have gotten to a point where I felt that it was a superior method then typing.

I suspect, that this will again proved to be a short lived experiment.

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