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American Black Walnut Lumber

american black walnut pictureWalunut lumber is used for fine furniture, architectural woodwork, musical instruments, decorative panels, interior trim, and flooring. Large amounts are also used for veneer. Its stability and shock resistance make it the wood of choice for gun stocks. Many customers appreciate its "easy of use" and beautiful colours to use as a craft wood in all their small turning and scrollsaw projects. The fact that it is the only dark North American wood, has added to its reputation.

The Tree: Juglandaceae family
The black walnut's specific name is J.nigra. The black walnut is sometimes called eastern or American black walnut. There are about twenty species of walnut with six found in the U.S.A. Black walnuts were once abundant in old growth forests with trees reaching 150 feet with six-foot diameter trunks. Today's trees are generally 80-100 feet tall with trunks of less than three feet.

The black walnut has one "bad habit" however in that it can poison neighbouring trees and shrubs with a substance called juglone in its roots. This is its way of protecting its territory and assuring its access to good sunlight necessary for its growth.

It typically grows in a mixed hardwoods forest, with light coverage.

Wood Description:
The sapwood is creamy white and may be three inches wide. Heartwood is a rich chocolate or purplish brown in colour, with a dull sheen. Black walnut is normally straight grained and is noted for its beautiful grain character, producing more figure variation than any other wood. Over the years the wood develops a lustrous patina. It is the only dark brown domestic species, so it has a large following of devoted woodworkers, that enjoy its rich colour and ease of use..

Weight: approx. 36-38 lbs. per cubic foot

Walnut takes any finish and most complement the lovely satin sheen of the wood. It polishes well. Rarely do you find sap pockets that cause difficulty.

Walnut works easily with power or hand tools but may cause some dulling of cutting edges. Planing, turning, shaping, routing and sanding all produce crisp detail. With figured crotch wood it is necessary to watch the direction of feed, in both thickness planers and jointers. Fasteners hold well with little tendency to split. Standard adhesives and stains go on uniformly. Wood is rated tough and hard with good steam bending qualities and little movement in service. Wood and sawdust of black walnut are known to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, skin and lungs, and may stimulate allergies and asthma - precautionary measures are advised... a good dust mask is essential.

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theWoodbox.com Jan 2007