Walnut is a dark hardwood and, as a cabinetmaker, I can tell you it is one of the most beautiful woods to work with and results in a very deep grain pattern when finished correctly. It has good dimensional stability, is shock resistant, and has great strength properties.
The other wood is maple – a very dense hardwood famously tapped for maple syrup. Unlike most other woods maple lumber commonly uses the sapwood of the tree rather than it’s heartwood. The sapwood color ranges from white to cream and, interestingly, has natural antibacterial properties.
I hand finish these pieces with a blend of natural oils and varnish that we make in the workshop. This oil penetrates deep into the wood and gives it a deep warm colour that no other finish can. The varnish component gives added protection to the surface from everyday wear and tear.
Lastly, I rub on a homemade blend of bee and carnauba wax. Bee’s wax is softer and has a nice sheen to it which also nourishes the wood whereas carnauba wax is a very hard wax made from plant leaves which works well to protect the piece.