Products / Lumber / Butternut
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Butternut

Straight grained, even textured, pale yellow to reddish brown with indistinct boundary between heartwood and softwood, works easily, turns and carves extremely well.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Juglans cinerea

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.36

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.43

Janka Hardness

490

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is usually a light to medium tan, sometimes with a reddish tint. Growth rings are darker and form fairly distinct grain patterns. Sapwood is a pale yellowish white.

Grain/Texture

Grain is typically straight, with a medium to coarse texture. Silky natural luster.

Endgrain

Semi-ring-porous; medium-large earlywood pores gradually decreasing to small latewood pores; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses occasionally to abundantly present; growth rings distinct; rays barely visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (sometimes very faint and barely visible even with lens).

Rot Resistance

Decay resistance is rated as moderately durable to non-durable.; also susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Butternut is easily worked with both hand and machine tools. However, being so soft, Butternut has a tendency to leave some fuzzy surfaces after planing or sanding, and sharp cutters and fine-grit sandpaper is recommended. Butternut glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor

Butternut has virtually no scent or odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Besides the standard health risks associated with any type of wood dust, no further health reactions have been associated with Butternut.

Pricing/Availability

Available as lumber and carving blanks. Prices are in the mid range for a domestic hardwood.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, many Butternut trees in North America are currently afflicted by a fungal disease (Sirococcus clavigigenti-juglandacearum) known as Butternut canker. The rapid decline of Butternut has prompted the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list it as a species of federal concern. The tree is protected in Canada as well.
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