Design blogger Alisa Bovino has long loved burl wood furniture, but she’s aware that such styles don’t come cheap. “Burl wood is classic and stunning, and it's also somewhat rare, which makes it more interesting—and unfortunately more pricey—than other wood types,” she tells MyDomaine.
What Is Burl Wood
Burl wood is a type of wood formed from the burls of trees. Burls form in areas infested by insects and mold, or spots affected by fugi and illness. The burls are known for distinctive, abstract swirls that are loved by furniture makers and artists for their style.
After struggling to find the perfect, budget-friendly burl coffee table for her living room, Bovino decided to take matters into her own hands and go the DIY route. And her research and hard work certainly paid off in the form of a beautiful piece that truly blew us away!
Working alongside her husband, Angelo, Bovino first built a table from scratch using hardware store materials including MDF, wood glue, and a table saw and then applied burl veneer that she ordered via eBay (she outlines the entire step by step process in a blog post).
However, Bovino notes that purchasing a premade table is also a viable option for those who aren’t feeling quite as crafty—just keep in mind that some pieces will make for better canvases than others. “Definitely look out for a table made of solid, quality material that will stand the test of time, and a shape that has only straight lines and edges,” Bovino advises. And, she adds, if you come across a Henredon, Baker, or Century piece, even better, as these vintage brands are known for their quality craftsmanship.
For Bovino, the most challenging aspect of the project was cutting the tops and sides of the table to size to ensure that each of the pieces were perfectly flush against one another. This would create a flat surface to apply the burl, which, as Bovino explains in her blog post, must be done with pressure (she used a rubber roller). It was then time to trim the excess veneer using a router, which she explains “is not a DIY for a beginner.”
Bovino also chose to finish the burl veneer, which greatly enhanced its appearance. “I was hesitant to use Danish oil, wax, and wood conditioner, but it really gave the burl the depth and color that it was meant to have,” she reflects.
While the project took several weekends to complete, Bovino ended up saving major cash in the process. The piece cost $525 total to make, not including some of the hardware essentials she and her husband already owned. Compare that to brand new, similar looking tables, which often retail for over $1,000, and you’ll see why we’re extra amazed by Bovino’s efforts.