Walnut is a wood species which grows in Canada and Eastern United States. It is also known as American Walnut or Black Walnut. Other types of walnut are also found in the world. Veneer obtained from log of walnut is known as walnut veneer. Walnut veneers are wooden veneers available in many sizes and cuts with many kinds of backings. The walnut veneers are characterised by grayish brown to chocolate brown colour, medium porous to uniform grain patterns and fine to moderately coarse texture. Walnut is a medium density hardwood and makes for very strong veneers.
Types of walnut veneers
1. Walnut burl- Scientific name of Walnut burl is Juglans niagra, J. hindsii, J. Californica and J. regia. Walnut burl veneers are rich dark brown in colour with burls, swirls, dark spots and pin knots. Veneers are obtained by subjecting the logs of walnut burl to either plain slicing or rotary cutting. Walnut burl veneers are commonly used on furniture tops, automobile dashboards, accent inlay works and architectural works. The walnut burl veneer price can be anything between $15 and $125 per sheet depending upon various factors such as size, type of cut, finish, etc.
2. American Black- American Black or dark walnut veneer is obtained from walnut species of same name which grows mainly in mid-atlantic area in USA. The colour of the veneer can be dark tan or deep chocolate depending upon the level of exposure of the heartwood to air. Grain pattern can be straight or interlocked. Pin knots having dark centers are also present. Veneers are obtained by quarter slicing or plain slicing the logs of American Black Walnut. The price range is between $20 and $140 per sheet.
3. Walnut crotch- The walnut veneer sheets obtained from walnut crotch are decorative and artistic in appearance. This is due to the presence of crotch pattern made by overlapping fibers. Flame or fountain like figures further enhance the aesthetics of the veneers. The crotch walnut veneer texture is fine to medium and has a flowing grain. Colour is tan to chocolate brown. The crotch walnut veneer price ranges between over $20 to over $200 per sheet.
4. European Walnut- European Walnut was introduced in Europe by Alexander and is indigenous to Central Asia and Turkey. Veneers are obtained from European walnut mainly by flat cutting method. Very large sized logs are cut using quarter cutting method to obtain veneers. The veneers obtained can have burl, crotch or decorative patterns depending upon the type of log. Colour can be greyish brown to rich dark brown. Brown markings or darker black marks and streaks may also be present in some veneers. Light sapwood in some logs of European walnut produces a light contrast to the darker colour of the wood. European walnut veneers are commonly used for cabinetry, wall panelings, furniture elements, interiors and architectural works. The prices of European walnut veneers range between more than $25 to as much as $240 per sheet.
How are walnut veneers manufactured?
The first step is debarking of the walnut log. For this, it is placed in a machine which scrapes off the bark without causing any damage to the core of the log. After debarking, the log is soaked in water at 40 ? C temperature for two days. Steam treatment may also be carried out. This is done to ensure that the log has enough moisture for proper peeling without tearing during the process. The soft log is then cut to the length required to get veneers of specified size.
The log is then mounted on a veneer lathe machine for rotary cutting. The machine spins the log as a cutter slices off sheets from it. In case of quarter cut veneers, the log is mounted on a veneer slicer. The machine moves the log back and forth over the cutter to cut thin slices called quarter cut veneers. The grain pattern differs between rotary and quarter cut veneers while the size and thickness are the same.
The veneer sheets are dried in 170 ?C hot air under pressure to reduce the moisture content to the desired level. The veneers are finally bonded to substrates.
The veneers are also checked for defects such as colour defects, split-ends, loose knots, knot holes, etc.
Advantages of walnut veneers
Walnut is a hard, strong and durable wood. Hence, the veneers obtained from walnut last for a long period of time. In fact, if cared properly, walnut veneers can last for a lifetime.
Walnut can be carved well. This is the reason why walnut veneers can be given any shape and design according to requirements. The fact that walnut can hold shape for many years also adds to its superior design features.
Walnut veneers are highly resistant to wear and tear. Thus, they can be used in high traffic areas.
Walnut veneers have very beautiful wood grain patterns which make them highly pleasing to the eyes.
Walnut veneers can be stained and polished very easily.
Walnut veneers are commonly used for furniture and other things because solid walnut is very expensive and veneer is a cheaper option.