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Burly beloved

Burl of any species is probably my favorite “exotic” wood to work with, and always pick some up whenever I see it. Well, almost always.

As you know from last time, Sally and I recently enjoyed a vacation in Europe, mostly in the UK. One of our day trips was to Stratford-Upon-Avon where we visited the 16th-century home and grounds of a famous theater guy whose name escapes me at the moment. The village was picturesque, and the home fascinating, but it was something in the bard’s garden that really caught my eye.

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On the left of that photo is a very old tree with a trunk that has become almost entirely burl, right up past the lower branches. To say that I drooled over it is an understatement. Can you imagine the figure inside that trunk? Imagination will have to do, as that tree will likely remain intact and in that very spot for long after I’m gone.

I tried to find out more about the tree, but no one on duty that day knew much more than the fact it was really old. I’m terrible at identifying trees, especially before they have leaves in the spring, so the species will forever elude me.

Walking back to our train we passed a hotel with several large trees on the property, including the one on the right side of the photo. It looked something like a sycamore but, again, I really don’t know. (Don’t even know if they have sycamores in England.)

That burl was huge, and very high up – hence the steep angle of the photo – but my guess is that it was at least three feet top to bottom and jutted out maybe a foot and a half from the trunk. The thing is, this was only the largest one; four other trees on the same property had multiple burls, and all of them were impressive.

On the one hand, all I could think about was the beautiful things I’d make with those if only I could sneak them into my luggage. On the other, seeing them still alive and growing in their natural, extremely historic, locations was almost as beautiful.

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