Black Walnut (American)
American Black Walnut is a hardwood species with a light greyish-brown to purplish-black heartwood and a sapwood that ranges from almost white to a yellow, creamy-brown. The grain is typically straight, but can also be curly or wavy, and the texture is usually coarse, becoming more lustrous with age. It is known for its burrs (burls), stump wood, and crotches, which create a mottled, curly, and wavy figure. The wood is often knotty, particularly with wider boards, and may require dark or ebony filler in the knots. It is a popular choice for timber products such as skirting boards, architrave, cover fillets, and mouldings.
Eastern Black Walnut, Walnut, Gunwood, Virginia Walnut
Black Walnut is non-durable, and vulnerable to decay-causing fungi and insects. The sapwood is susceptible to the common furniture beetle, but it does accept preservative treatment although the heartwood is challenging to treat.
The drying and seasoning of Black Walnut (American) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Black Walnut (American) - The wood dries slowly and care must be taken to avoid impact on the grade and quality of the wood. This can include checking, iron staining, ring failure, honeycombing and collapse. There is small movement in use. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
Walnut is hard, tough wood has tolerable crushing and bending strength, low stiffness and steam-bens well. It works well with machine and hand tools, with a tolerable blunting affect. It generally planes well but its irregular grain can hamper this. It turns, carves, mortices, nails, screws, sands and paints well. It stains, oils and polishes to a high finish.
A prized cabinetmaking wood, it is also the chosen wood in the US for gunstocks and rifle butts. It is also used for quality furniture, kitchen cabinets, sporting goods and umbrella handles. It is sliced for decorative veneers and is an important wood for making plywood. The tree also produces edible nuts.
Cleansing, healing, spirituality, focus, insight and protection - The walnut tree and its wood help us with our mental gifts. Even the walnuts themselves resemble little brains! Intelligence, wisdom and inspiration all come under its realm.
Possible Health Risks:
Irritation to eyes and skin.
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Finishes exceptionally well and is very attractive, good grain integrity.
Commonly asked questions about American Black Walnut Wood
Is Black Walnut a hardwood or a softwood? Black Walnut is a hardwood. It is the same for; is American Black Walnut hardwood or softwood? - American Black Walnut is a hardwood.
Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Walnut family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.
What colour is American Black Walnut? American Black Walnut can be described as black/very dark brown, brown, dark brown
Is American Black Walnut good for outdoor use? or is American Black Walnut good for exterior use? American Black Walnut is most suited for interior/interior use. American Black Walnut can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).
Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood