Botanical name: Juglans nigra
Common/commercial names: Black walnut, American walnut
Distribution & Availability
Throughout Eastern USA, but principal commercial region is the central United States. One of the few American species planted as well as naturally regenerated. Reasonable availability in both lumber and veneer.
The sapwood of walnut is creamy white, while the heartwood is light brown to dark chocolate brown, occasionally with a purplish cast and darker streaks. Walnut can be supplied steamed, to darken sapwood or left unsteamed. The wood is generally straight grained, but sometimes with wavy or curly grain that produces an attractive and decorative figure. The dark heartwood will lighten in colour as it ages overtime with exposure to UV light.
Physical & Mechanical Properties
Walnut is a tough, hard timber of medium density, with moderate bending and crushing strengths and low stiffness. It has a good steam bending classification.
Walnut works easily with hand and machine tools, and nails, screws and glues well. It holds paints and stains very well and can be polished to an exceptional finish. It performs best when dried slowly, reducing the opportunity for degrade. Walnut has good dimensional stability.
Rated as very resistant to heartwood decay, it is one of the most durable woods even under conditions favourable to decay.
Furniture, cabinet making, architectural interiors, high class joinery, doors, flooring, gunstocks and panelling. A favoured wood for using in contrast with lighter coloured timbers.
The NHLA grades have been altered for this species because of availability and nature of the timber growth (around 1% of the standing forest resource). The FAS lumber grade allows a 5 inch minimum width and 6 foot minimum length. When steamed, the sapwood, which is not considered a defect, will turn a darker colour to assist blending in the finishing process and is admitted without limit. Discuss with your supplier for more information.