Panels & Furniture Asia Jan/Feb 2018

January / February 2018 • Issue 1 • PANELS & FURNITURE ASIA 38 MATERIALS The World Wants Walnut Fashion in hardwood for furniture and interiors, often going in cycles, is well- known. Cherry, maple, ash, mahogany, wengeand rosewoodareall goodexamples of high value species that have come and gone over the years. But there are a few that stay the distance. Several species have endured long term in popularity. Now we are seeing walnut join that elite group. By Michael Buckley Estelle console table in American black walnut by Commune. Image credit: Commune. O ak is one of those species that has remained popular throughout history. It is seen as traditional, ecclesiastical and associated with academia and wealth. Oak has stayed fashionable throughout time especially in western markets. Teak is another, particularly in eastern countries, for its durability. It is also associated with wealth.Walnut by contrast has come and gone in fashion over the years although it has never completely disappeared in popularity, as cherry did a decade ago. So what is the driver of walnut these days that suggests its current popularity will continue long term? The answer is complex. WHERE IT GROWS AND GOES First let’s define walnut. Themain source of walnut in volume is in the USA where American black walnut ( Juglans nigra ) is exclusively native and grows in large volumes across the States from the east coast to Texas. The so-called European walnut ( Juglans regia ) was originally native to a stretch fromKashmir to Turkey until introduced by the Romans to Italy and France as well as other European countries. The two species are different— in colour and grain—and whereas American black walnut is naturally regenerated in forests and planted a little, European walnut was mainly planted. Then there are other substitute species such as African and Rhodesian walnut, so-called for marketing. WW W =