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Walnut, Black Rift and Quartered

It would be hard to overstate Black Walnut’s popularity among woodworkers in the United States. Its cooperative working characteristics, coupled with its rich brown colouration puts the wood in a class by itself among temperate-zone hardwoods. To cap it off, the wood also has good dimensional stability, shock resistance, and strength properties.

Thicknesses

Tree Size: 100-120 ft (30-37 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Distribution

Eastern United States

Scientific Name

Juglans nigra

Specific Gravity: Basic 12% MC

0.51

Specific Gravity: Basic 12% MC

0.61

Janka Hardness

1,010 lbf (4,490 N)

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Colour can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. Figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are also seen.

Grain/Texture

Grain is usually straight, but can be irregular. Has a medium texture and moderate natural luster.

Endgrain

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

Rot Resistance

Black Walnut is rated as very durable in terms of decay resistance, though it is susceptible to insect attack.

Workability

Typically easy to work provided the grain is straight and regular. Planer tearout can sometimes be a problem when surfacing pieces with irregular or figured grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well, (though walnut is rarely stained). Responds well to steam bending.

Odor

Black Walnut has a faint, mild odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Black Walnut has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability

Very popular and widely available, though board widths can sometimes be narrow. Considered a premium domestic hardwood, prices are in the high range for a domestic species.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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