For those that don't know, a burl is a growth in a tree where the grain has grown in a deformed manner. I have attached a picture of a very large burl. Woodworkers like to use these deformities to make projects as the grain has really interested patterns in it. My local hardwood dealer happens to sell small bits of these burls by the pound and I bought a small piece and made this succulent planter.
I really like how the bark (or live edge) of this planter looks. It adds a lot of dimension to the project. I hope you can find some interesting pieces of wood to make a cool planter too!
- Maple Burl (or any piece of wood that you think would make a good base for your succulent planter)
- Drill (preferably a drill press, but a hand drill can be used)
- 5 Minute Epoxy (optional depending on your piece of wood)
- Wood finish (I used Watco Teak Oil, but there are many great wood finishes available)
- A small succulent plant
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Step 1: Sand the Wood
The piece of wood I purchased was pretty rough. It had a lot of bandsaw marks left on it and none of the sides were flat.
In order for it to sit flat on a surface, I attached a piece of 40 grit sandpaper to my workbench using double sided tape. You could also tape it from the edges using other types of tape.
I then spent a long time sanding the bottom of the piece of wood until it was perfectly flat.
I switch to an orbital sander and sanded all of the other sides. I used the following grits 60, 80, 120, 180, 220. I also wet down the wood to raise the grain, and then let it dry and sanded it again with 220 grit.
Step 2: Drill a Hole for the Plant
I used a 1-1/2" forstner bit attached to my drill press and drilled a hole approximately 2 inches deep. This worked out perfectly for my plant. That being said, I suggest you measure your plant and choose the drill bit size and depth that works best for your situation.
When drilling with such a large bit it is really important to securely attach the work piece to your table. As you can see in the pictures I used multiple clamps to do this.
Step 3: Add Epoxy to Any Holes/voids Discovered When Drilling (optional)
When dealing with burl wood, you will often find voids in the wood or even areas that connect to the outside. In my case I found a void that I wanted to fill to ensure water would not leak out when watering the plant.
I mixed up some 5 minute epoxy (tip: use a few strips of masking tape as a mixing surface, it makes it easier to clean up in the end) and added it to the void.
If your piece of wood does not have this issue, you can skip this step.
Step 4: Apply Finish to the Wood
This is my favourite step of any woodworking project, applying finish. I choose to use Watco teak oil as it is a good finish to use when the wood may come in contact with water and I really like the way it brings out the grain.
For an oil type finish such as this, the application is easy. Put some finish on a rag and wipe it on the wood.
Other finishes may have different ways of applying them to the wood, so make sure to read the directions on the can.
Step 5: Adding the Plant
First I added some small pebbles to add an area for water drainage, then I popped the plant into the hole drilled earlier. It's just that simple!
You may need to add dirt or more pebbles to get the plant to sit correctly, it all depends on the plant you buy and the hole you drill.
Step 6: Enjoy Your New Planter!
It is now time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, or if you choose, to give the planter as a gift. If you make one these I would love to see it in the comments below.