Walnut

American Black Juglans nigra

Appearance

Walnut American Black

Shown with water-based finish (top), and oil-based finish (bottom)

Color: Heartwood ranges from a deep, rich dark brown to a purplish black. Sapwood is nearly white to tan. Difference between heartwood and sapwood color is great; some flooring manufacturers steam lumber to bleed the darker heartwood color into the sapwood, resulting in a more uniform color.

Grain: Mostly straight and open, but some boards have burled or curly grain. Arrangement of pores is similar to hickories and persimmon, but pores are smaller in size.

Species & Grade Variations: Great variety of color and figure within species, as well as variation in color among boards. Especially in lower grades and from material that isn’t steamed prior to kiln-drying.

Properties

Hardness (Janka): 1010; 22% softer than Northern Red Oak.

Dimensional Stability: Excellent (change coefficient .00274; 26% more stable than Red Oak).

Durability: Moderately dense, very strong, good shock resistance. Not as dent-resistant as Oak.

Workability

Sawing/Machining: Easily worked with hand tools, and has excellent machining qualities.

Sanding: Sands satisfactorily.

Nailing: Fair resistance to splitting; good holding ability.

Finishing: Finishes nicely, with a handsome grain pattern.

Comments: Distinctive sweet aroma when worked. Frequently used as a highlight material for borders or other inlay techniques.

Cost

(Relative to plain sawn select Red Oak)
Multiplier: 3.00

Availability

Moderately available, normally in unfinished parquet, strip and in various plank widths as a special order. Available in fancy parquet patterns as a special or custom mill.