Solid Redwood Burl Stand

Brian Underwood

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Well, since quality stands are very difficult to come by and/or incredibly expensive, I have decided to make my own for this year's REBS show. I did find ONE maker with some skill in the stand-making department currently in business, I'll try to find his contact info and some pictures at a later date. His work ranges from $150 for shohin to $300+ for a stand suitable to my trees, and I am not very fond of the quality of leg joints and method/style of finish on any of the larger stands I have seen so far. The shohin ones are usually very nice though.
So, the stand I want to make is a one-piece carved burl such as the picture below. It will be carved out of solid redwood burl and should measure around 18"x12"x3" and will be for displaying my coastal redwood (also pictured). Redwood on redwood! Seems kind of sadistic, but should look very nice. Any thoughts/suggestions?
 

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woodguy

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That's a beautiful stand and an ambitious project. Being a professional woodworker specializing in high quality custom furniture, I can say it would be very difficult to make stands with high quality jointery and finish in the $150 -300 range. Making a large number as a production run would help but there is still so much time that goes into each piece. If you have the skill making your own stand is the way to go. Make sure you get a nice solid/structurally sound piece of burl. Redwood is one of the more stable and easier burls to work with. It also comes in some pretty large pieces. Look forward to seeing pictures of your work. Good luck.
 

Si Nguyen

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That's a spectacular stand! Is it Japanese? I would be scared to put a tree on that.
That redwood bonsai is fantastic too! I'd love to see how you develop the foliage and apex for that tree.
Si
 

Brian Underwood

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Thanks guys!

Woodguy, I agree it would be very difficult to produce quality stands unless you had a production line of some sort. I used to be a Luthier in both a custom shop, and a production one for a very famous builder, and I have always wondered if I could make a business out of producing quality stands. Solid stands could be CNC milled out of various burl, then hand finished for lower cost, and larger traditional stands could be made using jigs and keeping everything consistent. This idea has intrigued me for some time. First we'll have to see how I do with this one though...

Si, the apex is proving to be a bit of a challenge on that tree, but with this year's growth hopefully it will become more refined and I'll have a better idea of exactly where it should go. The stand is Japanese, shohin size, and is made by Rikizo.

Some stands; http://bonsai.ocnk.net/index.php/product-list/5?page=2
 

woodguy

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Thanks guys!

Woodguy, I agree it would be very difficult to produce quality stands unless you had a production line of some sort. I used to be a Luthier in both a custom shop, and a production one for a very famous builder, and I have always wondered if I could make a business out of producing quality stands. Solid stands could be CNC milled out of various burl, then hand finished for lower cost, and larger traditional stands could be made using jigs and keeping everything consistent. This idea has intrigued me for some time. First we'll have to see how I do with this one though...
CNC'd burl stands would be pretty efficient. I've thought myself of doing limited production runs of stands. The issue then becomes selling greater numbers of stands and is there enough demand, etc. None of that matters though if you are just making them for yourself. Given your back ground I can't wait to see what you come up with.
 

Bill S

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Ok, how you guys going to justify the price of the milling machine?? Home Depot doesn't rent them the last I looked;);)

I know, nice stand by the way.
 

Fangorn

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I haven't worked with redwood burls so I don't know anything of the properties of the wood, but I would be wary of it warping when you hog out the underside of the stand and would leave it as thick as possible. A CNC would definitely be easier, running it upside down you could program everything but the top "reveal" in one program.
However, I believe this could all be done with a hand router with a collar and some templates.
 

Brian Underwood

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Yup, thats exactly what I will be using. I like to make jigs out of MDF so I can use them in the future if I ever feel like doing a production run. I'm not super worried about the burl warping, as there is no grain direction, so my guess is that it would be fairly slight. Anyone else know the dangers of burl warp-age?
 

rock

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this could all be done with a hand router with a collar and some templates.
Thats makin redwood forest ( sawdust) products the hard way. LOL

Ahead warp factor One, B-underwood

ITS all about the moisture in the wood, but the design you are using should offer a lot of stability for warpage stoppage.

Fun stuff
 

Fangorn

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Thats makin redwood forest ( sawdust) products the hard way. LOL

ITS all about the moisture in the wood, but the design you are using should offer a lot of stability for warpage stoppage.

Fun stuff
One good thing about being in the business before there was AutoCad, CNC's and the like, is I can make almost anything in my basement with a table saw, router and assorted hand tools.
Not too long ago I had someone come in my office asking me to program a 45 degree cut on a counter.
Kids these days, they just want to push the button :rolleyes:

I agree about the moisture thing, as long as it's been dried right and there's not a huge difference between the center and outside it should be OK
 

greerhw

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I love beautiful stand too. What I hate, when you display a tree on them, no one see's the beauty.

Harry
 

woodguy

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You could always combat some of the warpage issue by roughing out the shape first and allowing it to sit. Then doing the final shaping after the burl has had a chance to warp a bit from the rough shaping.

I'm also a low tech guy. The fanciest piece of machinery in my shop is a vacuum press. I could live on a table saw, bandsaw and router. There isn't much you can't do with a good jig and a router or table saw.
 

Brian Underwood

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Rock - The wood is quite dry, so I doubt there will be a huge problem with moisture. We'll see when I get into it though...

Fang - I know what you mean, and I feel very similar. Even though I am young, I was taught with hand tools in a very old shop building archtop guitars. The technology part was only introduced when large-scale production was needed. The only power tools in my garage are a table saw, band saw, router, and drill press...

Woodguy - Ooh, a vacuum press is pretty fancy ;) Have you made any stands you could show off here? I'd like to see what others have made. I know Al K. has made many, and they are beautiful, but what does everyone else have?
 

woodguy

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Woodguy - Ooh, a vacuum press is pretty fancy ;) Have you made any stands you could show off here? I'd like to see what others have made. I know Al K. has made many, and they are beautiful, but what does everyone else have?

Maybe fancy but pretty low tech really.

I've thought about making stands for the last couple years. Being a furniture maker and bonsai hobbyist it seemed inevitable. But between being too busy doing woodwork for clients and various home projects, I haven't gotten around to it. Besides that I have very few if any trees that are ready to be displayed. This thread however has gotten me motivated and while I had some down time at the shop yesterday I started putting aside some materials for a couple stands. I'll post up what I come up with.
 

Fangorn

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Maybe fancy but pretty low tech really.

I've thought about making stands for the last couple years. Being a furniture maker and bonsai hobbyist it seemed inevitable. But between being too busy doing woodwork for clients and various home projects, I haven't gotten around to it. Besides that I have very few if any trees that are ready to be displayed.
I'm pretty much in the same boat. I made one out of corian recently for one of my trees (no pics available at the moment) and this one for a friend of mine a few years back
I will be making the cascade stand I posted in the thread below this one someday.
 

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Smoke

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Yup, thats exactly what I will be using. I like to make jigs out of MDF so I can use them in the future if I ever feel like doing a production run. I'm not super worried about the burl warping, as there is no grain direction, so my guess is that it would be fairly slight. Anyone else know the dangers of burl warp-age?
Obviously have not worked with alot of burl. Warpage is abundant.

Lacquer products are out since they shrink when drying. You will probably have to use an oil finish (tung oil) and pray....



I have a whole bag of burls that I aquired in Oregon three years ago. So far, the only way to get them flat is to insert a straight pin in the edge, tie a piece of dental floss on it, submerge the burl in a dish large enough with lacquer and let it dry equally from both sides. It works pretty well but is a mess.

This photo represents the unfinished group. I have finished about 7 so far with differing methods. They have to be extreamly flat when finished or they are useless. These burls are myrtle, redwood, huckleberry, ash, olive and maple. They average just under 1/4 inch thick.
 

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Smoke

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Here is a solid redwood stand made from two inch think 150 year old flume board. It is carved and relieved on the back.

This stand was a gift for a friend who hosted the first and only bonsaiTALK BBQ. The owner is a member of Boon and went by Javascott. Scott Straley. I wonder if he ever used it or was it too out there....we may never know.

I saw him at Boons show in Jan....I never even thought to ask.
 

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woodguy

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Nice stands Smoke and Fangorn.

The warpage issue has more to it than moisture level. The grain in a piece of wood, whether burl or not, holds tension. Sometimes a great deal of tension depending on the grain. When you cut through the grain or remove part of the board the tension is relieved or at least changed. The more you remove from the piece or worse, the more unevenly you remove material, the more possibility for warpage. When you change the tension in the wood the board has to adjust to it's new state. Now if the wood is not dried to a stable moisture level, when you cut and expose wood the drying will increase the amount of warpage. For these reasons I always thickness my wood from rough stock in stages. Rough cut and then allow to sit for a bit to acclimate to the change in tension. Then shape again.

Burls have a very wild grain and can be tricky to deal with especially when they are very thin as Al has seen. Those 1/4" slices can turn to potato chips really quickly. Al have you tried wetting the warped ones with a spray bottle and stacking them on a flat surface under weight? You'll want to seperate them slightly with some sort of sticker to allow air to get around them. Dowels work great. Space them pretty close together. I've used this technique with some success on burl. Unfortunately getting flat thin slices from burl is one of the harder things to do.
 
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