The kind now chiefly used is the American or black walnut. It is a hard brown wood with very little figure, generally very clean, and often of considerable width. From having been regarded as a worthless timber in this country it has now become one of the most valued for furniture, and commands a price which seems altogether beyond its beauty. Other varieties of walnut are more ornamental in appearance, the popular name applied to them being Italian, wherever they were grown. They are comparatively little used now, as apart from figure the American is a better timber for cabinet-making purposes. Much of the veneer which is seen is of the variety known as 'Burr' walnut, and is very beautifully figured. It can only be used in the form of veneers. The wood known as satin walnut must not be confounded with any other, for it is a distinct kind, and the name is more or less a fancy one. It is of a yellowish or light brown colour, with dark markings, and cannot be recommended for good work, as it is unreliable, though often used for bedroom furniture. Till some one dubbed it satin walnut the timber was not in repute.
Ash is very popular for bedroom furniture, little else being made of it, though, beyond custom, there is apparently no reason why it should not be worked up for other rooms. As is no doubt well known, it is light in colour, tough and hard, with a moderate degree of resemblance to oak. As a rule it has little figure, and what there is is coarse. The American is the best for furniture, as it is generally of better colour than the English, and the beauty of ash is considered to consist mainly in the lightness of its colour.
Hungarian Ash is a totally different kind of wood, seldom, if ever, used except as veneers, in which form it is sometimes seen. It is finely marked, but is by no means indispensable to the cabinet-maker, as it can hardly be classed among the popular woods.