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Tetraclinis articulata

The dictionary defines burl as an abnormal wart-like growth or excrescence, often produced by stooling. Stooling refers to the throwing out of shoots from a tree stump to produce a second growth from the original roots. Irritation or injury results in the stunted growth, which develops into a contorted and gnarled mass comprised of dense and woody tissue. The surprise is that this contorted and twisted specimen can be unearthed and sliced to yield a dramatic and often beautiful piece of veneer.

Burls from thuya trees are generally found underneath the ground. In the case of thuya trees, the pieces are dug out rather than cut down. In looks, it closely resembles the burls of redwood.

There is much speculation about what creates the interesting swirls and circles of the thuya burl. One theory is that the wood's contortions account for the distinctive appearance.

The uses for this very beautiful wood are extremely high end. Unlike other veneers, thuya burl is priced by the kilo and sold by weight. The wood is scarce and sold mostly in the veneer form.

Thuya trees are coniferous. They thrive in dry and shallow soil. The trees yield the sandarack resin and so are sometimes referred to as sandarack pines. The resin is used to make varnish.

The wood needs slow kiln drying and care. The wood must be prepared before working because of its brittle nature. Care is needed to prevent curling. Thuya polishes and glues well.

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