Black walnut wood is the only dark North American wood. It's prized by woodworkers for it's strength, grain and color which is a rich chocolate brown-- with occasional purple tones. There are over 20 species of walnut trees but it is the Eastern Black Walnut tree (aka: American Walnut) that is native to North America and is used for our walnut furniture. Vermont is home to a limited number of walnut trees as our soil is too acidic and our climate too cold, so much of our black walnut wood comes from Ohio, Indiana and other mid-North American states where it grows well and is sustainably harvested.
In pre-Colonial days, in its preferred habitat, black walnut trees reached heights of 150 feet tall and diameters of over 6 feet. Unfortunately in the US we have a history of unsustainable logging of the black walnut tree and it is now considered somewhat rare in North America. The American Mid-west is the main source for sustainably harvested walnut, where trees typically grow 75-100 feet tall with diameters of 2-4 feet. The trees grow slowly and can take up to 150 years to mature. As such, walnut furniture typically carries a 25-50% premium price over other North American furniture woods such as cherry, oak and maple. To learn more about walnut trees check out this article at Northern Woodlands.
Black walnut wood is dark, hard, dense and tight-grained. It polishes to a very smooth finish and the color ranges from creamy white in the sapwood to a dark chocolate color in the heartwood. With our furniture, we use walnut heartwood & sapwood and do our best to keep the grain color consistent. You may notice grain color variations however, particularly on the bottom of table tops and on table legs. These natural variations make each piece unique and are considered hallmarks of quality.
Black walnut is often straight grained but is enjoyed for more figure variations than any other wood. Mineral deposits and pitch pockets are rarely a concern in black walnut. Over the years natural walnut wood develops a lustrous patina. Because it is the only dark brown domestic species it has a large following of devoted woodworkers and fine furniture afficionados.
Recently walnut wood has become a very popular wood for natural live edge tables. Aged urban walnut trees that have been taken down due to poor condition and safety considerations are being milled for large wood slices. The walnut slices or slabs are then fashioned into artfully designed free-form live edge tables that showcase the natural beauty of walnut grain.
Check out a selection of our walnut wood furniture here and throughout our website. Each piece of fine furniture on our website (except for dining chairs) can be custom made in walnut wood, even if the feature photos show cherry, oak or maple wood.
Learn More About Walnut Wood Furniture on Our Blog