|The quest for the finest walnut has been a driving force in my career spanning forty years. I love great wood - period! The older the tree is the more desirable it is for making gun stocks. Over the years these old trees (80 years +) have been harvested and the demand has been so great they have virtually disappeared from only one source we have here in the US-Northern California. It has been a major challenge for me to secure sources of the finest walnut on an international basis.
|I purchase these one of a kind highly sought after blanks directly from the cutter and air dry them in Idaho. Air drying minimizes internal fracturing and enhances the integrity of the wood.
It usually takes 2-3 years to dry a fancy exhibition blank down to 7% moisture content and another year or two for it to age (to "solidify" and stabilize). A slow and painful process but the end result is the most stable and beautiful stock wood for use on Signature Series Rifles.
I much prefer the "Juglans Regia" or whatever we call in this country English Walnut. This walnut is found throughout the world (usually the best wood comes from climates that grow good wine grapes) and as typically identified by the region where it comes from: Turkish Circasian, French Walnut, Moroccan Walnut, ect. Though California English Walnut is a favorite of mine for color, grain structure and strength, I have had to purchase more wood internationally-Turkey, New Zealand particularly. These countries are still producing top quality blanks from truly old trees - 300 years or more. These blanks are typically quite expensive but are the ultimate for those desiring the very best wood available.