All about Deluxe Black American Walnut: A Worktop Express® Guide
With a dark, luxurious hue and distinctive grain, Deluxe Black American Walnut worktops are firm favourites here at Worktop Express®. On other websites you may sometimes find the timber referred to as American walnut, eastern black walnut, or simply black walnut. We prefer to use the name black American walnut as it most accurately describes the timber’s colour and origin.
Here you’ll find everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this popular worktop, including its origin, manufacture and history.
Black American walnut (Juglans nigra) is a timber that radiates elegance. It’s heavy and strong, though slightly less dense than oak, and has a truly magnificent grain structure that brings an air of class to any kitchen – a quality that is accentuated further in the extra-wide staves of our Deluxe variation.
It’s considerably darker than our European walnut worktops, and will darken further over time to be almost black in parts – hence the name. If you’re interested in seeing examples of luxury American walnut worktops that have been subject to some beautiful bespoke alterations, then have a look at the Deluxe Black American Walnut gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
Here at Worktop Express® we stock only the finest-quality hardwood worktops. All hardwoods have their own characteristic cell structure, and black American walnut is no exception, containing a long type of cell known as a ‘vessel element’ which isn’t existent in softwoods.
These cells run in a longitudinal formation and are much bigger than any other type of cell present; when quartersawn, small marks appear in the wood that are known as pores. Black American walnut has a beautifully straight, yet soft grain pattern that is created by the presence of these pores.
This deciduous wood has natural resistance to decay, and when alive secretes a toxic chemical from its roots called juglone: a chemical that can kill other vegetation. For this reason you’ll often find black walnut trees standing alone, or planted approximately 20 metres from other trees; though not all plants are sensitive to juglone. Some trees, vines, shrubs, annuals and perennials will grow in close proximity to a black walnut tree, though they don’t usually bear a fruit.
SOURCE AND MANUFACTURE
Whilst all of our worktops are manufactured in Europe, the black American walnut timber we use comes from – you guessed it, America. At Worktop Express® we go through great lengths to make sure that we only acquire the most resilient and attractive timber, and our black American walnut is no exception. We purchase it from one of the largest mills in the United States and we’re very confident of minimal environmental impact during its sourcing and manufacture.
Although exempt from FSC certification due to its origin, like all American timbers it is protected by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This organisation is dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management and high ecological, social and ethical standards, which we always ensure are upheld by our suppliers. Take a look at our Environmental page for further information on our environmental policies.
Since the establishment of Worktop Express® we’ve been responsible for delivering over 150,000 solid wood worktops. We are extremely confident in our policy to deal directly with manufacturers rather than using any third-parties, which means we can guarantee that tight controls are always in place to fulfil our high standards.
You can rest assured that we have minimal wastage in our fabrication facility, as we have established effective and exact practices to ensure that any excess materials are recycled or put to use in some way or other. Head over to our ‘Sourcing and Manufacture’ information guide if you’d like to know more.
All our worktops are made up of sections of timber known as ‘staves’. These staves are then high-pressure bonded and finger jointed to create a larger wooden board appropriate for worktop manufacture.
Finger joints are created by cutting a set of corresponding grooves and ‘fingers’ in to the two pieces of wood so that the staves fit together like clasped fingers of a human hand – where the name comes from. Not only is the finger joint the most aesthetically pleasing of joints, but it ensures that the staves remain durable, and with the addition of a small amount of glue is considerably stronger than alternative joints.
Our wide block American walnut worktops are constructed from 90mm wide staves of varying lengths, creating a worktop that is almost unrivalled in quality (though we also offer full stave – with staves running the full length of the surface – and ‘standard’ 40mm stave worktops). Whichever option you decide to choose, you can be sure that the staves are chosen to ensure aesthetic consistency, whilst keeping the character of the wood in place. Black American walnut has particularly beautiful grain patterns that are only fully appreciated in the extra-wide staves of this Deluxe version – and, as this worktop is available at a lower price than our full stave variant, you can enjoy luxury for less.
To find out more about the construction of our solid wood worktops, visit our ‘Construction Types Explained’ information guide.
- Tree Size: 30-40m tall, up to 1 m trunk diameter
- Density: 660 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 610 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: (4,490 N)
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 100.7 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 11.59 GPa
Black American walnut grows mainly in the Eastern and Central United states, but can be found across most of the middle and northern regions of the U.S. The tree and its nuts were enjoyed in America long before European settlers arrived, with the Native Americans using the walnut tree sap in food preparation, as well as making dye from the nut husks. Archaeological surveys undertaken in the Great Lakes region suggest that walnuts were a regular food source until at least 2000 BC.
As well as making some beautiful worktops, black American walnut trees provide a variety of other products to industries, including use of the hard shells in plastics, glues, sand-blast cleaners and metal polishers. The powdered form of walnut shells has even been used by NASA as thermal insulation in rocket booster nose cones as the powder can withstand extremes in temperatures without burning.
It’s been used for furniture and many other items for a long time, thanks to its defect-free nature. Over the years it has been used as timber for barns and other larger structures, made in to hay racks, and even utilised in some boat-building applications, all because this species is so resistant to rotting.
Since the wood became so popular for decorative use by the 1970’s, the price was forced up, prompting furniture and cabinet makers to use other species. With the mid-90’s trends leaning more towards lighter woods such as Pine and Maple, black walnut became less popular.
Today, black walnut is used for high-end furniture, gunstocks, and a variety of speciality or custom-made items such as our beautiful bespoke worktops.
Over the last 5 years we’ve gone through great lengths to implement efficient processes and we purchase in high-volume to be able to bring hardwood worktops to the UK at incredible prices. We hold over 5,000 worktops in stock at our various warehouses throughout the UK, which enables us to deliver directly to the public and trade with great efficiency.
Our specialist stock-ordering systems ensure that there is a minimal amount of wastage, and we have various ways of reusing and recycling our products to make sure that we always make the most of this precious natural product. Our warehouse, for example, is heated by a burner that is fed by sawdust and any offcuts that cannot be repurposed.
With these efficient practises and our ‘direct-to-public’ online e-tailing model, we’ve been able to significantly shrink overheads, allowing us to market the latest products at lower rates than any other online wooden worktop retailer.
No matter how busy we get, we always make time to visit our suppliers (every three months at least). We make regular checks to ensure our standards are maintained and that our ethos of providing solid wood products at the most competitive prices, whilst staying true to our environmental roots, is adhered to. This expertise has enabled us to become the largest importer of solid wood worktops in the UK, and we aim to expand further in to European markets throughout 2014. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see our worktops in person, then why not visit our showroom? We’re open 7 days a week and have a variety of our worktops and other solid wood products on show. Alternatively why not order a sample (or two)? Our samples are manufactured from actual worktop stock and unwanted offcuts that are sanded and oiled to give you a good indication of the finished product. Head over to our sample ordering page to pick up some for yourself.
Our Deluxe Black American Walnut worktops are available from £330 for a 2m x 620mm worktop, with matching 3M upstands for only £50.
The extra wide staves of an American walnut block worktop show off the timber’s rich colour and attractive grain, ensuring a beautiful finish to any kitchen. Consider contrasting the wood with bright colours or stark whites in a contemporary kitchen, or mix with pastel shades and other unpainted timber in a traditional setting.
Visit our Deluxe Black American Walnut worktops page to read more information on the sizes available; our exceptional work surfaces can be purchased online through a quick and easy order process.