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

November Already


Plenty of stuff to look forward to this month I think.  In the next day or two, I will be starting a new section on here for “Timber of-the-month” as I start to try to improve my knowledge of all things wooden (or at least get to know some of the range of timbers out there, and hopefully start to be able to recognise them, both in an as-cut as well as in a finished form).  Brad’s Burls as I mentioned have been very supportive of the concept, and I’m really excited to see how this project progresses.

The first timber that I have to look at is a fascinating piece of Brown Mallee Burl.

I also have a new router bit from Linbide to review for “Router bit-of-the-month” which is the first bit I’ve had with replaceable carbides.

I haven’t decided on “Tool of-the-month” yet – there are a few potential candidates, so will see what takes line honours.

We are also preparing for a garage sale for next weekend, so it is all go around here!

Melbourne Woodshow Wrapup

Trying something new – polls are now available in my blogging software, so that’s very cool – will have some more interesting polls in future, but this is a good test one to get the ball rolling.

As to the show, I had a blast.  Feeling a little weary today, and my voice has gotten rather strange, but it was definitely fun!  It was also great getting to meet up with so many of the site’s readers – thanks for coming over to say hi.  I’m glad to hear people are still getting something out of this, and while you do, I’ll keep going 🙂

I got to play with a lot of cool toys (tools), and meet lots of people, both in the industry, and then a tonne of us who do what we do simply because we enjoy working with wood in our spare time (what is that anyway – having spare time seems a distant memory!)

So in no particular order, and with every chance of missing some out (I am pretty hazy today!) these are the sorts of things I got to play with at the show / industries (etc) I got to talk with:

Professional Woodworkers Supplies (obviously, seeing as I was demonstrating on the stand), but I did get to play with some Incra rules etc that I hadn’t had a chance to as yet.  That digital router height readout certainly looks interesting, and the simple upgrade for the drill press giving it a laser positioning is a must.  I could have used that just the other day with a forstner bit – working out where the centre of the hole was going to be.

MagSwitch (again obviously), and I’ll have a separate post about it, but I had arrive for Sat and Sun of the show the absolute latest products from MagSwitch, sent over to me directly from the States.  Had to give them back at the end though (but not before I took some photos for you)

Lidwig Clamps – some really interesting stuff there, and particularly a very easy cable hanger that is ideal for bandsaw blades.  I have one at home now, so will do a proper review soon (but will at least post some photos this week).  Am going to buy at least 3 more (and given they are only about $8, it isn’t going to break the bank!  Also have some of their clamps to try out, so that is also coming.

Actually, I have so much content to get through now, it will probably take till the next Melb Wood show to catch up, but I’m not complaining!

Festool, and I now have a Cooltainer (their esky Systainer) (thanks heaps to Ideal Tools!) to keep my drinks cold in the shed – perfect for what feels like is going to be a hot summer coming. Also got to play with a ProTools drill which was simply quality, and some incredible Festool forstner bits.

Brad’s Burls – we are working on a new Stu’s Shed feature called “Timber of-the-Month”, getting to look at the wide range of timbers out there, in both their raw and finished states and building a photo library here on Stu’s Shed to be a bit of a reference guide.  I’m very excited by this, as I really need to increase my knowledge of the range of timbers out there.  I also bought some pen blanks from them, and some Silky Oak planks that they had to quickly use to nail their bins shut for shipping down to the show.  I certainly wasn’t complaining!

Chris Vesper and his stunning hand-made tools – squares and marking knives particularly

SawStop / Gabbett Engineering – and I now have (as I mentioned) a couple of post-incident (aka- they met the sausage) blades for the shed wall.  I also got a video of one of the firings, so will get that into SS.TV as soon as I can.  Amazing stuff.

I’ve probably missed a whole heap (I certainly got to a lot more stands than the above list!), but that’s why I find the show great – so much to see, and talk about / find out about all in one space.

Melbourne Wood Show, Day 0

My head is buzzing – I LOVE the wood show!  So much to see, so many people to get to chat to, and you get to find out so much too just by listening to the presentations etc.  My first wood show that I went to (a few years ago now), I came away dumbfounded – it took a few days to absorb everything I’d seen and heard. By the end of the week when I had processed it all, I was shattered to think I had to wait a whole year for the show to roll around again.

I called this Day 0, because the show actually starts tomorrow – today was the continuation of setup (I didn’t go yesterday because I was in my shed getting everything ready)

Saw some amazing timbers at Brad’s Burls – bloody dangerous for the wallet!  Might have to pay them another visit…. There are a whole heap of timber places, and plenty of great stock.  And of course lots and lots of tools!  SawStop are setting off their saw 4 times a day, so that is definitely worth seeing in person.  I’ll have to remember to take my video to get at least one shot of the activation.

So much to see, I really can’t cover it all here.  The location (at the Melbourne Showgrounds) is really good – has a great feel, and is much bigger (physically) than Jeff’s Shed, so it doesn’t feel all crammed in together, and also because it is not alongside 5 other Expos running simulatenously, it doesn’t have the feeling of a trade-show turnstile, with one show churned out to replace anohter to keep the $$s rolling.  So quite impressed with it so far, oh, and none of this $15+ parking crap.  $5 all day (afaik).

If you come up to say hi, I’ll certainly try to return the courtesy, but please forgive me if I don’t get to chat for long – I have a pretty full-on demo schedule!

Anyway – roll on tomorrow!  The only sad thing about the show starting means that in 3 days time it will be all over, and I’ll have to wait another year for the next one!

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