How Should a Newbie Build with Blue Burl?
Issue: Issue 351
Posted Date: 5/13/2014
I have never done woodworking before, but I want to make a new speaker cabinet and housing for my power supply for my guitar amplifier, and I want the wood to look like a transparent blue burl, but I can't find a way that is inexpensive. Obviously burled wood is expensive and doesn't usually come in long plank-like dimensions because of the way it grows, so I don't know if a veneer or something would be possible? – Jedediah Pancoast
Chris Marshall: Jedediah, you could certainly build your speaker cabinet out of sheet goods like plywood or MDF, then cover it with real burl veneer and dye the burl blue. But, the veneering process (cutting, taping, gluing, potentially vacuum-bagging or pressing) will be pretty ambitious for your first woodworking project! If I were in your shoes, I'd think about it like this: skip the veneering and focus on the techniques you'll need to make a simple and solid, square cabinet. Build it from some nice cabinet-grade plywood or clear, solid wood. Take the time to fit the speaker and electronics inside of it perfectly. Focus on the construction of every joint to make your project is the absolute best it can be, and I bet in the end, you'll appreciate it every bit as much as if it were made of veneered burl. Aim for success here, not just "show." The satisfaction will come when your project is done, and done well. Gain some experience! Then, you can always build another cabinet with burl veneer when you're truly ready to take that next step.
Tim Inman: I can't pass up the opportunity to be just a little tongue-in-cheek here. Jedediah would you chuckle or be offended if I asked you how I could learn to play guitar like Andres Segovia, even though I never took lessons and didn't want to spend the time or money to learn how, and didn't actually own a guitar either? I hope you get a chuckle and also get my point here. The direct answer to your question is, yes, veneer is available, and it would be a good solution. If you're just into that transparent blue burl “look,” maybe you could find someone with a vinyl printer who could create an image of burl and turn it out blue for you.