Before I started working for English Woodlands Timber I was told that I would be making my own desk. Having just coming out of college with 3 years of furniture making under my belt I was more than excited. I wanted to have a modern and simple desk which had the timber as the highlight of the desk.
The fruit of the Walnut tree is deemed a ‘super food’. Full of antioxidants, it is of great nutritional benefit to us humans, so it stands to reason that the wood of the Walnut tree is a ‘super wood’… full of incredible qualities and of huge nutritional benefit to us humans… well Ok, maybe not nutritional… but undoubtedly of benefit.
We’ve not met anyone yet that didn’t appreciate Walnut.
It’s one of those timber species that people have at the top of their Christmas lists when they’re thinking of making something special. It carries a lot of weight in a design for furniture or interior joinery aesthetically but it also gets the job done in terms of service and function.
Here’s the low down on it’s particular Walnut-ty qualities…
What’s in a name?
Well, Walnut timber comes from one of two variations of the Juglandaceae tree family. Our English and European stock is from the same Juglans regia tree and our Black Walnut is Juglans nigra tree. It’s also known as N.Am Walnut because that’s where a lot of this tree species is grown, but it’s also grown across Europe so if you’re interested in the provenance of your timber it’s worth checking origins.
Bear with us, because when it comes to descriptions on this particular species of timber can be a little schizophrenic as there two different trees involved!
So, Eng/Eu Walnut has a very varied grain pattern, it can be really swirly and wild (think gnarly growing trees) with sound knots incorporated into the flow of grain. It’s colouring is softer brown with contrasting cream sap. It’s sometimes a bit mousey until finished, but the more exciting boards are mixed with red-dy orange and give a bit of a vivid highlight to the grain. Sometimes the European is steamed to try to even out (flatten) the colouring which can be useful (?) but mainly just flattens the colour…we don’t want that do we?
Black Walnut has a purple-y chocolate brown colouring, usually with a strong grain pattern but mostly quite straight. It’s harder to find wild patterns here because the trees just grown bigger and straighter (darn those straight growing trees!). But ‘bigger’ can be a good sign.. we’ve had some Juglans Regia recently that makes 800mm wide… that’s a tabletop right there! And of course the lengths are larger for this species too.
Timber of either tree works well with machine or hand tools but of course the grain pattern is going to play a part. That wild swirlyness needs more attention as the grain will be going in all directions. It’s hard and strong (if it were bigger and less swirly we’d all be using it for structural work!) and good for turning and carving. It is difficult to treat (acid content & density) being fairly dense and also moderately durable timber. It has medium moisture movement (beware trapped moisture in dense uneven grained timbers). The right glues and polishes work successfully.
Waney edge boards go from 20mm to 80mm in Thickness, currently up to 940mm in Width and up to 4.3m in Length which is pretty gargantuan for Walnut!
Walnut timber is a specialist hardwood that is mainly used for furniture and interior joinery, although having said that it is durable and could be used externally too. So if you feel like creating something special we dare you to use it for external timber cladding.. we think that’d be amazing!
Our stock is mixed, we keep Kiln Dried waney edge and square edge although we’re stocking more waney edge than ever to serve our furniture makers better. We find waney edge gives more value for money aswell as more creative choice and opportunity to differentiate for our customers. There is always a chance we have someboules air drying too, so if you need a higher moisture content or you want to buy complete boules for stock these might suit you.
It’s True! The fruit of the Walnut tree is deemed a ‘super food’.
The Walnut, full of antioxidants, it is of great nutritional benefit to us humans. So it stands to reason that the wood of the tree is a ‘super wood’, full of incredible qualities and of huge nutritional benefit to us humans… well Ok, maybe not nutritional, but undoubtedly of benefit.
These nice people have mastered of the art of making extraordinary chopping boards.
Chief Sawdust Maker Mike and his small team of super makers in Leamington Spa are bent on making high quality bread boards, chopping boards & butcher blocks that have a low environmental impact and will last a lifetime.
At the Wooden Chopping Board Co a sustainable ethos is built into every area of their business which we really admire. Mike purposefully chooses homegrown timber species like Elm, Oak, Walnut, Chestnut for his woodworking, he’s part of a tree planting scheme for re-stocking and woodland creation and he’s very thoughtful about customer service and satisfaction.
Take a look at the truly incredible chopping boards on their WCBC website and read more about their ethical approach to life and chopping board making.
“I did a video selection call with the team a few weeks ago and I was genuinely surprised at how well this works.
The process was easy and efficient, and all of the boards were laid out in preparation for the call. I live and work quite a long way from you guys so I generally only drop in when I am passing.
On reflection I think that the video call works really well, and for me personally, it actually works better than seeing them on site. Both my recent orders have probably been larger than they would have been if I had been there in person. I’ll still drop by for a rummage in the stack though.
How you have dealt with lockdown and social distancing deserves congratulations, and in my opinion video selection should remain a permanent feature of how you work.
My thanks to Nick and the team for doing a consistently good job.”
We’re really grateful to Mike for taking the time to give us this feedback, but that’s just typical of the kind of guy he is.
We did it in September and it was so much fun we’re going to do it again. Yes woodfans & woodfolks, we’re having another 50% Off Sale in the Timber Rack!
On Saturday the 25th January our woodshed doors will be open from 10am to 2pm to let you at the cream of the english hardwood crop.
Then for the rest of the week… from the Monday 27th to Friday 31st of January… you can come and go as you please during normal woodyard hours ( 8am-4pm) and everything in The Rack will stay 50% Off, just for you.
We’ve spent that last couple of weeks loading up the 3 big timber racks and the back wall behind them with british hardwoods such as our deliciously figured Elm, silken grained Ash, rich golden Chestnut, piles of grand old Quercus Robur* not to mention as many bits of Yew, Cedar of Lebanon, Walnut and Beech we could fit in the spaces in between. There are long boards, short boards. Natural-edge boards and square edge cut to size bits. Biscuit thin slivers and unwieldy lumps and they’re ALL 50% off the marked up prices.
It’s quite possible you won’t know where to start when you get here but you’ll probably get over that once you’ve got some competition lining up beside you. If you do get overwhelmed / overwraught / thoroughly flummoxed worry not, we promise we’ll sit you down and feed you coffee and biscuits until the caffeine and sugar get you properly un-flummoxed and back on track. (more…)
In 2016, The Wooden Chopping Board Company sold their first chopping board. Focusing on quality, unusual and unique designs, they craft cutting boards, butchers blocks and accessories, and they’re dedicated to the use of timber from sustainable sources. They might be a cosy operation – but they work tirelessly to deliver the highest quality products.
There was a time when people were all about plastic chopping boards. After using wood for thousands of years, suddenly the humble chopping board had been upgraded. People assumed that plastic boards – easier to wipe down, and not at all porous – were more hygienic. Actually, the opposite is true. Plastic boards nurture bacteria in the tiny scars that appear during daily use. With wood, moisture is drawn into the centre of the board, and the bacteria dies. The University of Wisconsin found that salmonella thrived on a plastic board, but couldn’t survive a night on a wooden cutting board.
So, wood makes for a more hygienic kitchen environment – but there are implications for the global environment, too. Let’s say you throw your old, scarred plastic chopping board away. It’ll still be here in a thousand years. Possibly longer – we don’t really know how long it takes plastic to decompose. We know it takes a wooden chopping board only a few years.
The Wooden Chopping Board Company is committed to integrating sustainability across all business practices, reducing the impact of their operations on the environment where possible. Their business ethos is thorough, from raw materials to packaging. They exclusively source from suppliers with sustainable management practice, which means no illegally harvested wood, or wood harvested in violation of human rights. They also support various environmental charities, including the Woodland Trust and the Marine Conservation Society – they switch it up every now and then – but always plant a tree for every chopping board they sell, as part of their commitment to One Tree Planted. At the time of writing, they’ve planted 1400 trees, across Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Americas.
The Wooden Chopping Board Company offers a wide range of boards, from The Rabbit (small, minimalist and oak) to Rule Britannia, a sturdy and distinctive design featuring English Oak, Sapele and American Maple, with tidy chamfered edges. We love their Stumpy chopping boards, which are created using cross sections of Oak or Beech, filled with vibrant resin after drying.
As one reviewer shared: “A most attractive board from this pleasingly ethical company. Easy and speedy transaction. I shall buy another item when it’s back in stock.”
The Wooden Chopping Board Company works in collaboration with English Woodlands Timber to produce eye-catching chopping boards, knife storage and rolling pins in a variety of options, including cherry, walnut, sycamore, maple and beech.
Maple and beech are perfect options for chopping boards, thanks to their long life and their self-healing properties – meaning scratches and scars will party repair, automatically. All of The Wooden Chopping Boards Company’s boards are handmade in Warwickshire, and protected with board butter (their own recipe) to prevent cracking and loss of natural oils, and to maintain water resistance.
For the last couple of years we have been tentatively building a new project with Hillgrove Timber as a little company within a company to allow us to test our ideas about how people use wood and what furniture designers, makers and buyers alike need from a wood supplier.
As a result we are building The Reserve, a store of the most exceptional, remarkable, outstanding boards that come through the woodyard, kept aside solely for bespoke fine furniture makers.
In an extension of the Hillgrove Timber project is the acknowledgment that makers are central to our purpose and their influence goes deep.
How we source in the forests, how we choose logs to buy, how we care for the wood as it’s cut and seasoned is all shaped by the reciprocal relationship with our maker customers. This closeness of purpose has made collaboration a natural next step.
So in the spirit of collaboration Nick took our Hillgrove Timber show on the road to the interior design exhibition DECOREX in a creative project with designer/maker Simon Thomas Pirie, a craftsman with a deep appreciation for wood, a commitment to sustainability and a desire to provide exceptional work for his clients. (more…)
It’s a rack rummager’s dream come true… a HALF PRICE timber sale!
Yes woodfans & woodfolks, we’re having our first timber rack sale in ages and it’s going to be a beauty. For one week, from Saturday 7th September to Friday 13th of September everything in The Rack will be 50% OFF!
For one week The Rack is going to be the star of the show.
We’re going to load it up with rows and rows of luscious homegrown timber, maybe a smattering of european hardwood and a right old mixture of square-edge-anything-goes type stuff. (more…)