How to Finish Burl Wood

By Patti Perry
Burl wood forms where an outcropping grows on a tree.

Knotty burls have interesting colors and textures hidden inside of their gnarly exterior. They can be finished with urethane, if they are not to be used with food. This creates a glassy appearance and allows the fascinating patterns to shine through the varnish. Food grade finishes are needed for all containers that will hold fruit or other edible items. This finish needs to be reapplied after every few uses, to maintain the finish and keep the wood from drying out.

Seal all crevices and pockets with sanding dust and epoxy glue. Mix the two components to make a filler and press into the splits and cracks.

Sand the surface to smooth it.

Finish with 100 percent tung oil varnish. Tung oil is slow to cure and will appear wet as it dries.

Polish with carnauba wax. Use a soft cloth to buff the surface.

Tip

Butcher block oil may also be used in place of tung oil.

About the Author

Patti Perry is currently attending West Virginia University and expanding her knowledge base. She has worked as a freelance visual artist for 30 years, with specialties in watercolor and scherenschnitte. Originality of creation is her motivation and she continues to pursue this avenue in her writing. Perry is currently contributing articles to eHow.