American Black Walnut Furniture
We have long had a love affair with the walnut tree. From its original home in Central Asia, the walnut was introduced to the Mediterranean by Alexander the Great. The Romans then spread it across Europe as far as the British Isles. The British and the Spanish then introduced it to the New World. Meanwhile, the original American walnut, (the “black walnut”) spread in the opposite direction when it was introduced into Europe in 1629.
In the first decade of the eighteenth century, James Moore, working for George I, supplied exquisite walnut furniture for the royal household, the royal yacht and even for the king's servants and mistresses. Organic walnut or not, walnut wood has been prized for centuries for making fine furniture as well as sturdy farmhouse fare, from Georgian extravagance to modern American walnut furniture such as the sophisticated yet earthy Robin Wade walnut pieces.
What is it about walnut timber that has excited wood workers for generations? Walnut heartwood is heavy and strong while also easily split and worked. Not only does the dried lumber have a rich chocolate-brown to black color, but it also often features interesting designs such as "bee's wing", "bird eye" and "rat tail." Woodworkers also love its durability and luster, especially since the expert application of certain finishes will produce a beautiful and much sought-after sheen with a three dimensional effect known as chatoyance. No matter the form, walnut-made furniture is durable, naturally beautiful and, at the hands of a woodworking artist, enhanced with even more beauty. No wonder it's loved and respected!