Walnut (African) Hardwood

Walnut (African)

African Walnut, also known by its botanical name Lavoe trichilioides (Meliaceae), is a beautiful, versatile timber with a range of uses. The buff or pale brown sapwood is easily distinguishable from the heartwood, which is a deep bronze or golden-brown streaked with black gum lines. The grain of African Walnut is typically interlocked, but can be straight, and has a uniform fine texture, with distinct growth rings and a glossy surface. Quarter sawn surfaces can show an attractive ribbon figure with alternating areas of dark and light wood. African Walnut is a great choice for cabinetmaking, furniture and turnery, and is often sought after for its unique and striking appearance.

The wood is not a true walnut, but its range of uses and attractive appearance make it a popular choice for many woodworking projects. If available from sustainable and legal sources, African Walnut can be used to create beautiful, long-lasting pieces of furniture or artwork.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Benin Walnut, Ghana Walnut, Nigerian Golden Walnut, Alona Wood, Congowood, Bibolo, Eyan, Lovoa, Nivero Noy, Dibetou (France), Noyer D'Afrique

Durability Notes:
Walnut (African) wood is moderately durable

The drying and seasoning of Walnut (African) 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; Walnut (African) - dries easily and fairly quickly with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood. There may be some distortion and existing shakes may extend during seasoning. Heart shakes are fairly commons and can cause splitting. There is small movement in service. 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.

African Walnut has medium crushing strength, low bending strength and resistance to shock loads, very low stiffness and tolerable steam-bending qualities. Walnut works well by hand or machine, with a slight blunting effect on tool edges. Planing is generally good but interlocked grain can cause lifting. Pre-drilling is advised for nailing and screwing. Walnut turns, moulds, drills and glues well and stains adequately. Filling is recommended before finishing.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Carvings, Musical Instruments, Bowls, Turnings, Flooring, Veneers.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about African Walnut Wood

Is Walnut a hardwood or a softwood? Walnut is a hardwood. It is the same for; is African Walnut hardwood or softwood? - African 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 African Walnut? African Walnut can be described as black/very dark brown, brown, dark brown, dark red

Is African Walnut good for outdoor use? or is African Walnut good for exterior use? African Walnut is most suited for internal/interior use. African Walnut should not 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

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