Maple burls are naturally occurring growths in the trunk of the Northwest Big Leaf Maple tree. Artisans seek after this finely patterned wood so that they might fashion it into unique pieces of fine art, hand crafted items and musical instruments. A maple burl is a growth that most commonly develops at the base of the tree, although it can be found in the branches. Maple burl formations are thought to be caused by injury, stress and infection or by an unformed bud or sucker that is trying to sprout but is deformed and unable to grow normally. The cells of this bud then divide and divide again, over and over, growing unevenly and excessively. These tumorous growths are called by various names that describe the figure found in the burl: cat’s paw, cluster burl, sunburst and eye. Figured Maple Burls developed by trees in the Northwest are among the highest-grade burls to be found in the world. For over 100 years, they have been sought after by veneer buyers around the world, who often describe them as “gem quality.” The uniqueness of the maple burl means that no two clocks will be the same, and placement of the image and clock workings will depend on the shape, grain, and character of the burl.