When you think of Australia, the first thing that comes to mind is probably its vast array of unique wildlife. But what you may not know is that Australia is also home to some of the most fascinating trees in the world, including those with intriguing burl formations.
Burls are abnormal growths on the trunk, branches, or roots of a tree that can occur for a number of reasons, such as stress, injury, or disease. While their exact cause is unknown, it's thought that environmental factors such as temperature and humidity variations may play a role.
Let's hear about the adventures of a clever man. Graham Skilos has an adventurous journey to harvest these burls from deep within Australia’s interior forests! Recently, he took us on his story-filled trip so we could see how they are collected and what makes them such perfect materials for crafting furniture pieces like bookshelves or cabinets with their iridescent colors that change depending upon light angle.
Graham gets up at 4 in the morning to make his long journey from Canberra, Australia's capital city. He needs food and clothes for this cold weather so he packs them along with all sorts of other necessary trekking gears.
When he arrives at the forest after a 10-hour journey, it is not just any old tent that will do. You cannot put out your tent in this wilds as deadly animals and venomous snakes are around you're all threat! So Graham sets up camp behind his ute (coupé utility).
Moreover outside of town 100 miles away there isn't even anyone for company so really its own 6 feet underground where no one can hear what happens inside unless they come across him while exploring their options - but then again if something does happen who'll know?
After a good night's sleep, Graham heads into the deep forests to find burls. Along his journey, he sets up fishing lines over rivers and sets yabbie traps so that by tomorrow morning there will be delicious fish dinners ready for him on top of a campfire!
“I caughtcha a big one!” - Burl Man Graham Skillos, with a freshly caught Australian Murray Cod Fish
Common Fresh Water Yabbies caught from Yabbie Trabs
Slimy Yet Satisfying - Wichetty Wood Grubs
Usually, a burl trip lasts around four days, and on a 12-hour working day, he harvests about 1200 kg of tree burls. Then the burls are washed on the river or dams after each day's harvest.
Burls are prized by woodworkers for their beauty and uniqueness, and because they're natural defects, they're usually quite rare. They can range in size from just a few inches across to several feet wide,, and can weigh hundreds of pounds. The grain in burl wood is often twisted and convoluted, making it highly sought-after by craftsmen for use in furniture, cabinetry,, and other decorative items.
You have to stay up-to date with the weather reports as rains are common, and you should be cautious about flash floods. If it begins raining soil becomes muddy making travel difficult.
One of the Ute's of Graham got up in an accident during a burl rum
And after the harvest, he travels back to his home which is a 20 hour journey. Then, at last he weighs the burls. debark and pack them for exporting.