Walnut and Maple Slabs For Sale

Curly Walnut

Concealed in a select amount of trees sits a strangely ill-defined wood that has continuously enthralled woo

Concealed in a select amount of trees sits a strangely ill-defined wood that has continuously enthralled woodworkers everywhere. Curly Walnut  is not obvious from the exterior; however, the interior is where this odd pattern of wood wavy cells, that should be straight tree cells, can be found. Slab the tree,  plane the wood, and there you have an amazing, three-dimensional wave of wood-grain.


The origin of curly walnut wood is as inexplicable as its manifestation. There’s really no explanation for why certain trees produce this wavy grain. In fact, it’s not even genetic. For example, you could plant seeds from a tree with curly wood close to their parent and produce straight-grained wood. Some experts believe that the result of curly wood comes from traumatic growing conditions such as drought or cold. Nonetheless, no one has been able to purposely produce trees with curly wood.

In addition, curly grain can develop and vanish in the same tree. A tree can have a curly and straight side as well. Adolescent exterior layers may be curly, but not mature interior layers. It totally perplexes the most ardent dendrologist!

The formation of a curly grain can happen to any type of tree. However, some tree species are more prone to this biological mystery such as those grown in rough northern climates. For instance, tiger-maple and flame-birch are popular examples; however, you will find curly oak, cherry, and walnut, amongst many others.

The color quantity in a veneer can make a huge difference in drawing out the curl. The trick is to pay attention to curly wood’s grain formation. Keep in mind that the surface of a flat-board cuts straight through the rising and descending grain.

When the grain emerges to the surface, it reveals the ends of numerous cells. These end-grain cells are eager to take-in a veneer or finish identical to the end-grain of any board. However, the side-grain cells on the crests and troughs of individual waves will not absorb as much finish. The outcome is that some places may absorb more finish than others.

Finishes such as varnish, oil, and shellac are mildly hued. The thirsty sections of a board absorb an additional quantity of this color. This additional color emphasizes the curl. Amber or orange shellac incorporates more color than light hued shellac, creating an impressive finish.

Additional veneers such as waterborne-polyurethane and lacquer have less color in them; however, the curl will still show-up but it’s not as impressive. Nonetheless, if you apply these finishes  yo curly walnut with a stratum of dewaxed shellac you will have the color and shine you are looking for.