Walnut furniture has been one of our best sellers this year, in spite of the fact that there is a 10-30% premium on the wood. Walnut wood is becoming rare (due to a disease called Thousand Cankers) so we are super careful about making sure ours is sustainably harvested from forests where re-planting is well managed.
We use a couple different types of American walnut wood for our furniture.
For thick, organic slab tables we often use claro walnut wood from huge old (up to 100 years) shade trees that have been taken down (usually from city streets) because of safety reasons. These slabs typically have beautiful, interesting character resulting from things like burls and branches.
For modern looking furniture, customers generally do not want "character wood" so we use younger walnut trees with straight grain patterns grown in managed forests in the mid-west (since walnut doesn't grow well in Vermont). This is the contemporary SoHo walnut 4 drawer chest, made by Copeland Furniture with solid, walnut wood.
Whether you're shopping for organic, walnut slab tables or Modern walnut furniture, it's important to verify that you are indeed getting real, solid walnut wood, as opposed to cheaper woods that have been stained dark to look like walnut. Be sure to ask your salesperson to confirm the wood type and its origin before you buy. Ask if the furniture has been made from solid walnut wood or walnut veneers.
Learn more about walnut wood and see photos of beautiful walnut furniture on our website. If you take the time to find real solid walnut furniture as opposed to what most stores call "walnut" you'll probably have that furniture for a lifetime. Enjoy it!
Our friend David Allard and the talented furniture makers at Lyndon Furniture are always coming up with some new, exciting wood furniture design project. Check out this huge custom walnut slab table they recently finished. It's 13.5' long and the two planks in the top are made of 1 ¾" thick solid black walnut.
The legs are made of welded steel tubes that thread through the walnut slab top like through-tenons. On the top, Dave left a gap between the 2 walnut slabs to allow for wood movement. Believe it or not, even kiln-dried wood (like these walnut slabs) expands and contracts quite a bit with changes in humidity and temperature.
Such a simple elegant design, isn't it? But as any amateur woodworker could attest, it's not one to try at home unless you've got the hand of a trained professional. And a crane
Recently the most popular designs for walnut furniture have been with natural, organic solid walnut slabs that are huge, heavy and thick. They make incredible dining and conference tables that are showstoppers when you walk into a room.
Our friend, artisan Greg Goodman made this custom live edge walnut slab table out of a one of the slabs to the left. I've not seen anything like it. I love the curved base– it gives it a modern contemporary look, don't you think?
We filmed Greg working on a similar slab table. If you're interested in these live edge works of art, you have to watch Greg's part in this video about Vermont Woods Studios craftsmen.
If you're pricing walnut furniture, you can count on spending about 25% more than for other woods. Sadly, walnut is becoming rare due to lack of forest management and disease. In fact a recent blight of something called "thousand cankers disease" is causing great concern about walnut trees all across the country. It seems walnut wood may not be available much longer. Same for the beloved walnut– a nut that reportedly boosts your brain power and provides powerful anti-oxidants.
The walnut trees we're using for live edge slab tables are harvested sustainably, with preservation of the species in mind. The trees are usually victims of urban development– once they were grand old sentinels along tree lined boulevards but age, concrete and road salt have taken their toll.
It's nice to see their beauty being preserved forever under the skilled and artful hands of craftsmen like Greg Goodman.