The Claro Walnut, a California native, is a rugged survivor. Suited to California's soils and climate, however it produces a very hard, undesirable walnut. The wood of the Claro Walnut is often richly colored and highly figured..
The European walnut produces a beautiful, canopied tree with excellent nuts, but it does not thrive in California. Older varieties can also produce deeply figured, but lighter colored wood, that complement the Claro Walnut.
Over 100 years ago, Luther Burbank demonstrated a technique for grafting these two varieties together, resulting in a tree that is both beautiful and bountiful. It has been so successful that 400,000 California acres produce 99% of the nation's walnuts.
Wedded Wood™ products illustrate how each walnut variety grows according to its heritage while still merging at the graft. The merging of California and European trees results in complex and beautiful patterns near the graft line. The primary pattern that one sees, as the two trees mature together, arise from their different growth rates. Because the Claro rootstock grows much faster than its European top, requires that each year's growth ring, at the graft, must curve ever more horizontally to find their partner's.
Wedded Wood™ products have become popular as gifts for new couples or as anniversary gifts as each piece, by design, demonstrates the best aspects of a good union: that together the individuals can achieve much more than they could do separately, that each continues to grow in a manner consistent with their own heritage, and that the visible bond between them celebrates the complexity, beauty and strength of that union.
The raw wood for making Wedded Wood™ products comes from the replacement of very old walnut orchards, originally planted with varieties that are now seldom used. For us, it is a treasure hunt, as we search for these old orchards being replanted because they are no longer viable. It is important that we gather the wood just at the moment the farmers are removing the trees. Because new varieties are much less figured, means that the raw material for Wedded Wood™ is a diminishing resource.