Turn willow into walnut
Why willow? Willow lacks walnut's density and durability, but the heartwood of carefully selected pieces approximates the color and grain patterns of walnut.
Making the switch: Willow pieces with a close color match to walnut require little or no staining. Willow soaks up liquid stain faster than less porous walnut. If you plan to mix walnut and willow in a project and will be staining both, first experiment on scraps of both species with different types of stains. Gel stains will produce less blotching on willow.