Help me understand walnut -

Let it first be said, my woodworking skills are a bit under average - I've only done a few projects. A few in cherry, and 1 in walnut.
My 11 year old son has shown an interest in woodworking. So, this past weekend, we ran down to the Woodcraft in Denver and picked up a jewelry box plan and some walnut (one of my favorite woods).
After a few days of working with the walnut, I've been having flashbacks of my very first woodworking project - a simple, dovetailed recipe box out of walnut. A box that ended up looking fairly pitiful given the chips, splinters, and resultant gaps at the joints. Walnut seems to chip and splinter very easily. I'm using new router bits and a fairly new WW2 blade on the Unisaw... Last night, we were preparing all cuts with blue masking tape - with only marginally effectiveness.
So my questions are these -
1) Will mixing fine walnut sawdust w/ titebond 2 provide an effective fill for the gaps at the joints due to splinters\chips?
2) I've heard much about a wood "machining" well. Is this what I am experiencing? What does "machining well" mean? Walnut doesn't "machine" well? Given the common woods - cherry, alder, walnut, maple, oak, etc - what is there comparative machinability? How do you compensate for woods that don't machine well?
I love the look of walnut, even moreso than cherry - I hope someday to have the skill to use it...
Regards, jbd
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I have to agree with Charlie Self. I have been been working walnut for over 50 years, both furniture and lathe stuff and still think it is the best wood ever. I've had little or no problems except when I had dull tools or mis-set something. One thing occurs is to look at the wood you are buying. If there are splits or it doesn't seem dry enough that could be the problem. Try another supplier.
Bob Moody
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==============Another Bob here who is in complete agreement with Bob Moody and Charlie...although I only have 40 or so years experience with walnut...a bit less then Bob Moody...
The only problem I ever had using Walnut was in learning how to deal with the open pores when finishing Walnut
For the last 10 or so years I have even started to use the sap wood to add a little more "natural" appearance to my projects...
Great wood as far as I am concerned....
Bob Griffiths
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Bob G. writes:

Can't get into that one because I don't recall when I first used walnut. Probably more than 40 and less than 50 years ago, though.
My shop normally contains walnut, cherry, white and red oak and some QS sycamore. Right now, I haven't got much shop, but have got some osage orange, some great mesquite from http://www.tbird-hardwoods.com One very lovely burl piece and one good looking regular grain piece that needs planing. I'm going to try the new Veritas scrub plane on that shortly.
I got some walnut from a local (Bedford County) sawmill some years ago: a pick-up load. IIRC, I paid for 400 bf, log run, at 75 cents per. A friend finally took the last piece a few months ago. Some great looking sapwood in there, with some pieces half sapwood. It made a few interesting boxes, writing box, etc.
I'll have to check around the county when I get back and see who else might have something similar. Got my thick cherry the same way. More or less stumbled onto it while buying some red oak and got it for the same price as the oak.
Charlie Self "Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves." Dorothy Parker
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote [snipped]

VERITAS scrub plane? Is Mr. Lee delving into my wallet again?
BTW, I'm working on a couple of Claro walnut boxes right now. (California Black Walnut, air dried over a decade, from a family friend's orchard. I was very fortunate to come by this wood.) I find I need to be more careful with this wood than I do with the projects I do in red oak and soft maple, but I believe it's mostly a learning thing with me. I just need to slow down. I've never been accusd of being overly patient. ;-)
Looks great with a couple of coats of Tried & True Varnish oil so far.
Patriarch (who already has more hand planes than his wife thinks he really needs...)
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