American Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
North American Black Walnut is, I dare say, one of the finest timbers in the world. Singularly the most highly prized of all the furniture hardwoods.
When you think of Walnut, everyone automatically thinks of its dark colour and yes it is a dark chocolate timber without a doubt, but it also has beautiful blonde streaks as well as jet black ebony-like rays and subtle purples mixed in its grain. It seems impossible that a timber so hard can be this beautiful and durable as well as very light in weight.
American Black Walnut grows throughout the mid eastern United States, from Georgia in the south right the way to Wisconsin in the north. The further south, the more purple the timber, with a more cruder more wavy grain structure. The really amazing Walnut comes from the north, places like Vermont and New Hampshire with their distinct seasons is the reason for such splendid specimens. Warm wet spring give aid to strong leaf production whilst long summer days fuel tree growth. Followed by extended Autumn vistas famous around the world, finishing with a harsh winter to tighten the timber natural grain.
It is worth knowing the difference between American Black Walnut and other Walnut found around the world. There is European Walnut, which is a paler, softer timber. They are much smaller trees in comparison to the Appalachian Region, mostly found in Turkey, which is a faster grown tree containing much sapwood and is vertically unheard of in furniture making.
There other types of “Walnut” discovered every year. At the moment, African Walnut is the most common. Nothing to do with real Walnut, it is in fact a coniferous tree with berries that look like walnuts. The dark colour adds to the myth. Sadly, it is an unsustainable rainforest tree, and a victim of the slash and burn culture in Africa which has destroyed thousands of square miles of virgin rainforest. Please do not be taken in, you will be sorely disappointed.
For unbelievable beautiful handcrafted chopping boards, Walnut is a truly stunning timber.