Grafted Walnuts.

The Story of Walnut

European Walnut
Walnuts are one of oldest foods and have been gathered and eaten by humans as far back as 8000 BCE.  The nut became most famous in ancient Persia and the tree is often referred to as Persian Walnut.  The Ancient Greeks are credited as the first to cultivate the walnut trees in Europe. Centuries later it gained the name European Walnut.

Claro Walnut
In the 1700’s Franciscan Monks brought the European Walnut to California.  The tree struggled with growing in it’s new region.  To better grow the Walnuts, the farmers began grafting the European Walnut onto the native Claro Walnut which had adapted to the California soil. The word "claro" in Spanish means bright, which describes the brilliant coloration of the wood, favored by furniture makers for its vibrant figure and color.  

Bastogne Walnut
An interesting thing started to occur in the California walnut orchards.  About one out of every hundred walnut rootlings looked entirely different from the rest.  These “ugly ducklings” were a result of cross pollination between the English and the Claro trees. Referred to as “Paradox Trees” or Bastogne Walnut, they grew much larger and denser than its two parent trees, with the resulting wood coloration a swirl of the other two walnuts combined.  The Bastogne Walnut wood had become the most prized and rarest of all Walnut woods.  Unfortunately Paradox Trees are sterile and can never reproduce.  We can only wait for one out every hundred to grow on it own.  


Maple trees.


Figure in lumber is how light reflects off the wood. This is caused by the wood grain changing directions throughout the board. The figure is a reflection of how the tree grew. A wrinkly part of the tree creates curly figure whereas a bumpy part of the tree creates quilt figure.  The figure is what pops out and becomes iridescent with the final coats of finish. Maple has a very wide variety of different figures.  The best maple lumber comes from the sapwood of the tree which is the outside circumference of the trunk.  This also tends to be the part of tree that has the most character. Figured woods are more difficult to work and finish, but worth the extra challenge.



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