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Understanding Walnut

Have you been wondering what wood to choose for your handmade kitchen?

At Minerva Design, we understand that changing your kitchen isn't a simple task, and we want to make the process as seamless as possible. The decisions may seem never-ending, whether it's the cabinetry colour, handle style or one decision particularly, what wood to choose? We can craft our kitchens using ash, oak or walnut depending on our client's specifications, which is why this week's blog is all about walnut.

I didn't know much about walnut before starting this week's blog other than its famous, rich colour, so I tasked myself to find out why it's one of the most sought-after woods available and how we use it in crafting our kitchens.

Many of our clients bring walnut into their kitchen design by pairing it with painted cabinetry to create a luxurious aesthetic. What I particularly love about walnut is how it features interesting swirls and patterns within the grain to give the added touch of depth and character.

Walnut is a hardwood which means it comes from a deciduous tree (a tree that sheds its leaves every autumn), and the most common species of walnut are:

  • Black American walnut - often referred to as 'walnut.' - is the one we use!

  • English walnut - sometimes called European walnut.

  • Claro walnut

  • Butternut - sometimes referred to as white walnut.

Walnut wood is suitable for various things, including infrastructure, flooring, musical instruments such as guitars, harps and violins and furniture including tables, interior panelling and cabinets, hence why we use it in crafting our handmade kitchens.

One fact that I especially found interesting is that walnut is one of the most durable hardwoods, which makes it an excellent choice for a handmade kitchen. It's a wood that's hard enough to withstand regular use whilst avoiding common knocks and dents which may occur in softer woods, such as pine. Walnut is more water resistant, which means you can wipe down your cabinetry following spillages without worry. This also means it's less likely to decay and makes cleaning and caring for your cabinetry that much easier. Ideal properties for a busy kitchen, right?

Our cabinetry comprises four key elements; the carcass, doors, drawers and frameworks. Although walnut is one of the most durable hardwoods, we avoid using hardwoods throughout the whole kitchen design. This is because the properties of hardwoods, in general, mean they are more prone to warp and crack. Drawer boxes, frameworks and other elements are made entirely of solid hardwood because these are smaller elements and will not warp. Carcasses have a larger surface area meaning they will slowly distort over time; therefore, we choose to veneer our carcasses. Veneering is a thin sheet of hardwood stuck to engineered material to create the aesthetic of hardwood. The primary purpose behind this is so we can craft a sturdy kitchen that is built to last whilst still featuring beautiful materials such as walnut.

One question you may have is, compared to other hardwoods, why is walnut usually more pricey?

The main reason is that walnut is harder to obtain. Compared to other wood choices such as oak, walnut wood grows much slower, making it shorter in supply than its high demand. Thanks to its intricate grain, colour and strength, walnut is a popular choice in kitchen design, and I can ultimately see why!

Take a look at how walnut has been incorporated in some of our previous projects below.

Thanks for reading,


(P.S. are you now intrigued to learn more about the other woods we can use? Keep an eye out for next week's blog 'Understanding Oak')


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