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The 800 Lb Iron Oak Burl

by Paul Mazuchowski

Fifteen years ago, a tornado damaged an Iron Oak tree in the area of Jacksonville, Texas. Over the course of the last 15 years, the tree developed a 4-foot by 3 foot by 3-foot burl at the damage area. The owner had to remove the tree and decided to sell the burl.

Rich Sarama found it listed for auction on Ebay. He and I went in on it together and through the bidding won the burl for $130. The problem was that it weighed 821 pounds and it was in Texas.

The owner removed the burl from the tree. It was so large that he had to finish cutting it free with a hand saw after cutting it from both sides with his biggest chain saw. He used a tractor to lift the burl onto a skid and into his truck. After delivering it to the local Yellow Freight terminal, it spent two days in transit to Buffalo. Our $130 burl cost $195 for shipping.

The freight company used a tow motor to load it into a pickup for us and we brought it to my house. It took 2 hours to cut it in half using a 14" chain saw and then a two handled saw to cut where the chain saw couldn’t reach. Once in halves, we slid them down ramps to get them out of the truck. On the garage floor, the halves were cut in half and then everything was Anchorsealed. The whole effort was over 4 hours of hard work. We now have 4 manageable pieces, if you can call 200 pound pieces manageable.

We bought it because we had never seen anything like it before and might not see something like this again. The original owner says that Iron Oak is extremely hard and durable once it is dry. He has used it in place of Teak for outdoor projects. We plan to use every piece of it. It turns well and cuts nicely with sharp tools. Almost all of the burl is curly. There are small areas of straight grain, some areas of spalting, and some with bark inclusions. All of the "defects" will make each piece very interesting.

 


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