Burled walnut is a term used to refer to a certain type of walnut wood. The burl itself is actually an abnormal growth or deformity on a walnut tree, often caused by some sort of stress such as a virus or bug infestation; when cut, this burled walnut has a distinct appearance that can be finished to create an attractive piece of furniture or other structure. Highly sought after by furniture makers and other carpenters, walnut burls are often used to make wooden bowls, cabinets, bedroom furniture, tables, and even accents for automobiles and boats. It tends to be more expensive than regular walnut.
The uses for burled walnut vary significantly, though the material is most likely to be used on items that will showcase the distinct grain and finish. Guitars, for example, can be made from burled walnut not only to showcase the beauty of the wood, but also to take advantage of the acoustic advantages of the material. Gun stocks are often made of burled walnut, again for the beauty, but also for durability. This highly sought-after wood will be more expensive to buy for machining, so the finished products tend to be more expensive than other comparable models as well. Walnut guitars, for example, tend to be quite expensive among collectors and enthusiasts.
Another popular application for burled walnut is the creation of veneer. This is a thin layer of material used to cover another material. Countertops in a kitchen, for example, may feature a veneer to increase aesthetic value and durability. Some furniture may feature a walnut veneer to enhance the beauty of the piece without raising the cost exponentially. Thin layers of the walnut burls can be cut into veneer and used as accents in a car interior, thereby enhancing the beauty of the vehicle. Such veneer is usually reserved for luxury automobiles or higher-end cars. The veneer can also be used in boat interiors, but again, this material is likely to be used in higher end boats and luxury yachts rather than mid range or low end boats.
Walnut is a hardwood, which means it is very durable and usually quite heavy. Furniture makers value this wood because it is both beautiful and durable, and it can be finished to create a smooth, shiny surface. Solid hardwood furniture made from burled walnut is exceptionally expensive, but it is also very durable and long-lasting. Some furniture makers will create a piece out of a less expensive wood and use walnut veneer to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the piece without raising the cost too much.