Cherry is a domestic hardwood. The heartwood is a medium red-brown with it’s own characteristic luster. The sapwood is narrow and nearly white. The grain is straight, finely textured and close with usually a gentle waving figure. Cherry has a uniform texture, is medium heavy, strong, stiff and moderately hard. Cherry is one of the most sought after hardwoods. Cherry turns darker as it ages.
Burl (British bur or burr) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is commonly found in the form of a rounded outgrowth on a tree trunk or branch that is filled with small knots from dormant buds. Burls are the product of a cambium. A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be environmental or introduced by humans. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.
In some tree species, burls can grow to great size. Some of the largest occur in redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens); when moisture is present, these burls can grow new redwood trees.
Burls yield a very peculiar and highly figured wood, one prized for its beauty by many; its rarity also adds to its expense. It is sought after by people such as furniture makers, artists, and wood sculptors.
There are a number of well-known types of burls (each from a particular species); these are highly valued and used as veneers in furniture, inlay in doors, picture frames, household objects, automobile interior paneling and trim, and woodturning. The famous birdseye maple superficially resembles the wood of a burl but is something else entirely. Burl wood is very hard to work in a lathe or with hand tools because its grain is misshapen and not straight.
Turning Some Cherry Burl.