All about Walnut: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide
The walnut tree is one of the most resilient hardwoods on the planet, and produces wooden worktops with great character. In this information guide we’ll cover everything you should need to know about this timber – from history to science to our own sourcing methods.
Walnut is a ‘multi-talented’ tree, bearing versatile hardwood and a nut that has all sorts of applications. The timber is dense, with a distinctive grain that can be polished to a very smooth finish. Colour and grain can vary from the tight grain and relatively light honey-coloured sapwood to the considerably darker heartwood that exhibits a more open grain.
As well as our 40mm stave width walnut worktops, we also sell the opulent Deluxe Walnut variation which features an extra-wide 90mm stave. Walnut’s beautiful grain structure and varied colour looks even more effective in this form.
To see our solid walnut worktops up-close, take a look at our Worktop Image Gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
As with our black American walnut, European walnut has a great deal of visual character that sets it apart from more well-known deciduous trees such as oak and beech. Whilst the sapwood is usually lighter in colour and with a relatively tight grain, the heartwood has a more open grain and will often feature unusual ‘curly’ surface figuring. Because of this, the wood is prized by woodworkers for its unique lustre, and is often used for gun stocks, guitars, ornate furniture as well as high-end veneers such as luxury car interiors.
Our walnut solid wood worktops are only constructed from quartersawn staves, which show off the timber in an exceptional light, whilst keeping the appeal of the grain fully intact.
SOURCE AND MANUFACTURE
Species of walnut are often easily confused. Along with our suppliers we go through great lengths to ensure that the timber used for our worktops is from consistent European sources. Whilst it is grouped in the same species as English walnut, the European equivalent (Juglans regia) has grown to have richer colouration, and large colonies of it extend as far afield as Iran and Kyrgyzstan.
We work closely with our suppliers to ensure that the walnut timber we use is hardy and attractive, and that it is logged from well-managed forests with established replanting schemes. To find out further information about our environmental priorities, please take a look at our Environmental Policy page.
Worktop Express® has proudly delivered over 200,000 worktops to over 55,000 customers since its foundation, and is now proud to be considered an expert in the field of solid wood worktops manufactured to the highest quality at unbeatable prices. We take the time to visit our suppliers at least once every three months to ensure our high standards are adhered to, whilst cutting out the cost of any middlemen. If you want to learn more, have a look at our ’Sourcing and Manufacture’ guide.
Image courtesy of wikipedia
Our standard walnut worktops are constructed from many quartersawn 40mm staves, which are joined together in such a way that it creates a larger plank of wood that is very strong, whilst showing off the beauty of the timber. The worktops are made from staves of only the highest quality – in both aesthetic and material terms – without the repetitive grain patterns and inconsistent colouration of lower quality products.
The staves are jointed together using a ‘finger’ joint that is perfect for creating a durable worktop, whilst being aesthetically pleasing. Finger joints are named as such because they mimic the action of two interlocking hands; this connection is strong and holds well thanks to plenty of friction. A small amount of glue is used to ensure that the joint holds firmly whilst the worktop is being machined and finished.
To find out more about the construction of our worktops, have a look at our ‘Construction Types Explained’ information guide.
- Tree Size: 25-35m tall, up to 1-2 m trunk diameter
- Density: 550-750 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 640 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: (5410 N)
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 111.5 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 10.81 GPa
Image courtesy of wikipedia
The first historical account of walnut trees being cultivated in the civilised world goes back approximately 2000 years to ancient Babylon (known today as Iraq), although walnuts have been found in much earlier cave fossils and excavations by archaeologists in southwest France. These remains suggest that walnuts were consumed in Europe as far as 8,000 years ago.
Walnuts were also used by the ancient Egyptians to create an embalming oil to replace the blood of their mummies, though it was the Greeks that are credited with the first selective cultivation of the walnut to create the tree that is now commonly referred to as the English walnut.
Previously referred to as ‘Persian walnut’, it was brought to England, and spread throughout Europe by the Romans. In the 1800s, walnuts were transported from England to North America by Spanish monks who settled along the Eastern coast.
There’s no doubt that walnut timber has been used for a variety of uses for many hundreds, if not thousands of years. It became most fashionable in the late 17th century when it ousted oak as the de facto quality timber. Its unique grain curly grain patterns remained in vogue for around 50 years, after which mahogany from Central America became the furniture builder’s wood of choice.
Usage of the walnut tree beyond food and timber varies widely: parts of the tree are used in natural dyes, as a healthy antioxidant, and even a softer substitute for sand used in sand-blasting machines.
We’ve gone through great lengths to position ourselves as leaders in the field of solid wood worktops, capable of offering worktops at an extremely competitive price with excellent service to match. We have over 5,000 worktops in stock at any one time, meaning we are able to deliver directly to the public and trade incredibly quickly and efficiently with our own 2man delivery service.
Our online stock ordering systems have been able to help us drastically reduce the quantity of dead stock we hold; moreover, through a ‘direct-to-the-public’ e-commerce business plan, we maintain much lower overheads than some of our competitors – all allowing us to offer extremely competitive prices. We were also the first in the industry to introduce various new practices and products that are now industry-standard.
Available from £205 for a 2m worktop.
Walnut is at home as a worktop in both traditional and modern settings, but looks particularly striking combined with high-contrasting bright white units and modern stainless steel appliances. Pair walnut block worktops with complementary accessories such as a walnut chopping board or a walnut plinth for a seamless look.
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