Walnut Burls: What Are They And Why Are They So Valuable? (Videos Below)

Walnut burls are remarkable growths that occur on walnut trees.

Burls are prized in woodworking for their unique grain patterns and the unparalleled character they add to wood projects.

Formation and Characteristics:

A burl is an abnormal growth where the grain has grown in a deformed manner.

It is commonly found on the trunk or at the base of a tree as a rounded outgrowth filled with small knots from dormant buds.

Burls can form due to stress, injury, or a fungal infection, causing the tree’s growth hormones to go awry and produce the dense, twisted configurations.

In walnut trees, these burls are especially sought after for their intricate patterns and rich, dark coloration.

Woodworking Uses:

Walnut burls are a gem in the woodworking community, often turned into veneers used for high-end cabinetry, luxury car interiors, fine furniture, and intricate decorative pieces.

Solid burls can be crafted into bowls, platters, or sculptures, allowing the natural contours and figure to dictate the final design.

Project Examples:

  1. Veneers: Sliced thinly, these burls can be applied to surfaces to create visually striking patterns that are unique to each piece.
  2. Furniture: Tabletops, desk insets, or doors made from walnut burl make for one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
  3. Turning and Carving: Woodturners seek out walnut burls for creating bowls or vases, where the unpredictable grain creates stunning visuals.

Value and Cost:

Due to their rarity and the complexity of their patterns, walnut burls are among the more expensive woods.

The price is reflective of the burl’s size, the beauty of the grain, and the difficulty in harvesting and processing them.

Woodworkers often consider walnut burls an investment, both for the value they add to the finished product and for their potential to become heirloom pieces.


Working with walnut burls requires an appreciation of their natural form and an understanding of their properties.

Each burl tells a story of survival and resilience, adding a layer of depth to the woodworking pieces crafted from them.

While the cost may be high, the resulting works are often unparalleled in beauty and are a testament to the wood’s journey from a knotted growth to a crafted masterpiece.


Check out this incredible turned walnut burl bowl!

Here is a video explaining how a burl is formed…I found this very interesting.

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