SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Investment Furniture

furnitureaug15aBurr walnut furniture has been admired for centuries, thanks to its rich, intricately figured pattern. These are created by irregular growths on the trunk or branches that they are cut from. This growth forms only a small part of the tree, therefore only a specific part of the tree can be used in the creation of burr pieces. This ensures that each burr veneer is highly valuable, desirable and absolutely unique.

Due to the limited size of each burr, the real skill is in matching individual pieces together to make them suitable for larger furniture items. This naturally lends an air of exclusivity to the material, with antique pieces fetching huge price tags. In 2010, the Antiques Trade Gazette reported that a burr walnut writing desk was sold at auction, commanding a final, incredible bid of £80,000, marking a record for that day.

The varieties of Walnut wood have been used in furniture making for many centuries. Walnut veneer was highly priced, with the cost reflecting the ‘fanciness’ of the veneer – the more decorative, then the more expensive and desirable. Figured Walnut and Burr Walnut (sometimes referred to as Burl Walnut) were considered as the most attractive varieties of Walnut. Burr Walnut veneer was taken from the specific part of the tree where ‘growths’ sprouting smaller branches and/ or roots would occur. As these ‘growth’ areas were limited in both occurrence and size, larger veneers were hard to source and often on bigger furniture (tables, desks, bureaus, cabinets etc), these veneers would have to be carefully joined by matching up the pieces or blending them together.

Whilst burr wood has always been popular, the style enjoyed something of a renaissance in the glory days of the Art Deco period. From the 1930s to the 1950s, famous furniture makers, Harry and Lou Epstein experimented with burr maple, sycamore and walnut to create their signature custom-made pieces of furniture, desired by collectors the world over. Nowadays, a beautifully finished piece of burr veneer is as contemporary as it was back then.

Antique Walnut furniture comes in two forms, either plain or Burr grain. Some very early Queen Ann pieces were seen in this timber but it was mainly used in Victorian and Edwardian pieces of cabinet making. Walnut is a durable hard wood and was very popular in the Arts and Crafts movement as cabinet makers realized that its versatility would make it easier for them to produce the wonderful pieces that can be seen for sale today.

Walnut furniture from early periods can include low boys, chest on chests and chest on stands. These would have been made for very rich homes and this is why they can be seen today with high price tags, but they can make a super investment and they are so rare to find. The Victorians loved to use burr grains on large pieces such as triple wardrobes as the wonderful graining would make it a statement piece and it would stand out from the plainer woods. The Edwardians loved to use this wood as it could be finished from a nice mellow sheen to a high gloss French polish and this suited the many different styled produced from that period.

Antique walnut furniture for sale can be been in many forms but as it is such a good quality timber, it has lasted over one hundred years and will last many hundreds more if cared for correctly. Antique walnut furniture is both functional and beautiful

An axiom with regard to an object of artistic value is that it should possess quality. This axiom is applicable to all forms of artistic expression. In painting and in sculpture the quality lies in the technique of the artist. In these two branches of the arts, quality is evinced far more subtly than in a craft such as furniture making, where it is far more tangible and explicit.

Even so, there are many collectors and people interested in furniture to whom the factor of quality means nothing at all. There are others who possess what amounts to an instinctive power of discerning what is good, and, having consequently a genuine appreciation of old furniture, prefer a good piece to a mediocre one. They sense the quality in it, although they may not be able to define or explain it.

A piece of furniture can have aesthetic merit without quality ; conversely, a piece can have quality without aesthetic merit. The reason for this is that quality of material and workmanship—as regards furniture—are subordinate to the all-important factor of design. A piece may still possess an artistic significance when it is of good design, even if the quality of the material from which it is made, and the workmanship displayed in its construction are inferior.

When shopping for wood furniture, the process can be overwhelming. There are so many questions. Just as you answer one question, you can think of 10 others. There are options from “hip and modern” all the way across to traditional and ornate, the options seem endless.

In addition to styles, there are material options to consider, which would include whether to go with man-made materials such as veneered furniture or natural woods such as walnut. With all these choices, and all these things to know before you go from store to store searching for the perfect piece, it’s key to know how to spot quality antique furniture.

With a few exceptions, getting antique walnut furniture is the best choice for any budget. It lasts the longest of any material you will ever find.

The first big advantage in antique walnut furniture is its proven durability. If antique furniture was going to fall apart under regular use then that would have already happened. The second advantage is what is called weathering, meaning that the furniture has had a chance to go through several seasonal changes. That means that the antique walnut furniture you buy has expanded and contracted and survived with no splits or cracks formed because of inferior wood. Finally the older the piece the less likely there will be any man-made wood in it. You get pure walnut when you buy antique walnut furniture.

Hardwoods each have their own advantages. Some are more durable and some with a higher amount of natural beauty. The most durable hardwood is maple, but it doesn’t look very good. As far as beauty the most popular is either cherry or oak. These are still fairly durable.

The best choice of all of the hardwoods is antique walnut furniture. Walnut is quite durable for many applications from tables to cabinets. In addition, it can be finished beautifully to make it one of the prettiest kinds of wood. The prettiest kind of inlay you can find is called a walnut burl. This is the part of the tree where the branch meets the trunk, which is then taken and sliced thin to show the grain. It looks like a sort of swirl in the wood, which then is inlayed into the top of a fine dining table giving it a high quality look using all natural materials. Now that you have the information you need to know about high quality furniture all you need is to go out there and find that antique walnut furniture that fits your style.

Features of Walnut Sideboards Walnut sideboards are durable and have a beautiful finish. The grain of the wood is generally straight, although it can become wavy towards the roots of the tree.

Colours of Walnut Walnut can vary in colour, from light to dark brown. The middle of the walnut tree produces a darker wood, while the outer layers of the tree, just below the bark, produce a lighter wood. The outer layer is called sapwood and the inner layer is called heartwood. Walnut sapwood can be 3 inches wide and has a creamy white hue. Walnut heartwood is chocolate brown.

Walnut Sideboard Grain When searching for a walnut sideboard, buyers should consider the grain of the wood. Walnut should have a straight grain, which can be further accentuated with a clear coat of urethane. However, a stained finish may make the grain less noticeable. This may be preferred if the walnut has a wavy grain or burrs, which are imperfections in the wood. Burrs may also be covered with a walnut veneer.

Advantages of Walnut Walnut is a strong, hard, and durable wood. Walnut carves well because it has fine grains. This allows for beautiful and intricately designed sideboards. Walnut is also resistant to warping and shrinking, holding its shape well under a variety of circumstances. It is also resistant to moisture. Walnut is able to take different types of finishes and stains well, making it versatile for use in furniture design. If properly cared for, walnut sideboards can last a lifetime.

Types of Walnut There are various types of walnut wood, each differing in their characteristics. Choosing the type that best suits a buyer’s needs is often a matter of personal taste and what fits best with the style of the room or hallway.

English Walnut The heartwood of English walnut ranges in colour from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. It can also take on a grey, purple, or reddish tinge. English walnut sapwood is nearly white. It has a medium texture and medium size pores, which often require filling to give the sideboard a smooth finish. English walnut is moderately durable and resists decay to some degree. The English walnut grain is usually straight, but it can also have an irregular grain pattern such, as curly or burr. Circassian walnut, a type of English walnut, is often used in the construction of sideboards and has a light brown appearance with irregular black veins.

Black Walnut Black walnut is characterised by its hardness, extreme strength, and variety of grain. The wood does not bruise, warp, or scratch easily. The figure and colouring of the wood, as well as the open grain and fine texture, are attractive qualities that make black walnut a popular choice for sideboards. The heartwood is a dark, tawny brown, while the sapwood is a very light, greyish white. When the wood is damaged, the defect is not as apparent because of the darkness of the wood and its dense texture. Black walnut is primarily used to make veneer because it is not widely available. The husk of black walnut can be used to make dye and wood stain.

Burr Walnut Sideboards Burr walnut is a unique type of walnut wood that has distinct patterns and designs. The burrs in the wood create distinguishing characteristics that make it highly sought after. This type of wood is typically used to make ornamental furniture so that its distinct grains and finishes can be highlighted. Sideboards crafted out of this wood are often more expensive in comparison to similar products of a different type of walnut. Burr walnut is known not only for its beauty, but for its durability. The exclusivity and cost of burr walnut means that it is common to see side tables made mostly of common woods with accents of burr walnut.

furnitureaug15bSolid Walnut vs. Walnut Veneers Contemporary sideboards are often made with walnut veneers rather than solid walnut because of the high price associated with solid walnut. Although some may consider walnut veneers less desirable than solid walnut, this is not always the case. Both are attractive and each have their own benefits. Often it is quite difficult to tell the difference between the two.

Solid Walnut Sideboards Solid walnut sideboards are made of 100 percent hardwood. The grain of this wood is typically visible and the sideboard has a heavier feel to it. Solid walnut is often preferred for its stability, extreme durability, and high quality. It can also be sanded, stained, or refinished in the event of damage, or to acquire a new look.

Walnut Veneer Sideboards Walnut veneer sideboards have a thin layer of walnut applied in a sheet on top of plywood, chipboard, or another type of less expensive material. This makes the sideboard lighter, while allowing the top to be uniquely designed. Walnut veneer sideboards are also more environmentally friendly and often blend several types of wood within the unit. Using walnut veneers can also help to prevent warping of the sideboard often associated with changes in humidity.

Conclusion When buying a walnut piece of furniture, consider the area that it will sit in, the existing style of the hallway, dining room, living room or kitchen, as well as the design and cost of the piece of furniture. You might also consider the use - whether it will be for display purposes only or if it will be a practical piece storing porcelain, books or other items of value.


Latest Digital Issue

















Digital Back Issues

Buy Digital back issues for $1