Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why is Walnut Furniture More Expensive?

Since starting with Vermont Woods Studios, I had been asking Peggy, "why do we have an increase in prices for the walnut furniture?" So Peggy sent me on a mission. Find out why walnut wood is more expensive than other woods for furniture. This is what I found out.

  1. Walnut wood often has a curved curly grain that most people find more desirable in furniture then a straight grain.
  2. Walnut is so hard, strong and durable that furniture makers find it more desirable for their furniture. It can also be easily carved making it a great choice for ornate furniture that requires intricate woodworking.
  3. In pre-colonial days the walnut tree was plentiful, but specimans were used recklessly for solid walnut furniture and exported to Europe. The wood was also used for railroad ties, and fence rails because of it's durability when in contact with soil. This started the depletion of good walnut tree specimans. speaks about this more.
  4. In the mid-1700's black walnut was used and favored for gunstocks in the Connecticut River valley so much that the high-quality black walnut tree population was wiped out by 1795. It is no longer found in New England. (Too bad they didn't have sustainable forestry practices back then.)
  5. Gun manufacturers had to start getting their hardwood walnut from as far away as the Ohio Valley, west of the Alleghenies. Making good specimans of walnut rather rare.
  6. The rare good specimans of walnut are so desirable that they are used as a veneer for furniture. The process brings out the best of the grain and allows for more to be used. Using the veneer also makes the furniture more affordable.

Those are the reasons why walnut is a premium priced wood for furniture. We have depleted the good speciman trees in our past and they have not ever recovered. When I first started this post, I never knew that I would also be talking about a reason for good forestry and sustainable practices for trees. This definitely shows a good reason for us to make sure these practices are followed in the future.


PS. The walnut slabs pictured here are from one of our Vermont artisans. For more, take a look at this artisans Large Live Edge Table.  To view more of our talented furniture makers, visit our Custom Walnut Furniture section.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds extremely useful and functional wood to me along with it's magnificent look.I love walnut fiurniture...they are often carved and intricate i their look.The color of the wood is this the original color?