I've bought walnut, but never ran into black walnut. I can get a deal on
some but wanted to know if it is much darker, harder to work with, etc.
Also what would be the best way to finish walnut without making it darker? I
know it will darken some on its own but I don't want to help it along. Gonna
try some ideas on scrap today, just wanted some input.
In the US the odds are pretty high that the walnut you have bought in
the past _is_ black walnut. It is the prevalent species throughout the
central and eastern US.
The species on the west coast are slightly lighter in color in general,
but that is variable, and the working properties are quite similar.
I have never seen any walnut that wasn't black walnut, but perhaps in some
places other kinds are available.
It can vary from light brown to almost black. Commercial walnut is steamed
to be a uniform color, but home made can have significant color variations
(that I think are very attractive).
If you want to keep it light, use a water based varnish; though I don't care
for the results.
Walnut actually gets somewhat lighter as it ages.
If you don't want dark, walnut is not a good choice. But, a light
wood can be finished with a dark stain, almost to being unrecognized.
Walnut can vary in color from gray-brown to purplish black, depending
on the location. There are several kinds of walnut, but if you are in
the USA it's most likely you have black walnut. If you have walnut
from Australia its workability is difficult, otherwise walnut (both
USA, Canada and European) is easily worked and finishes well. Walnut
dust is particularly bad to breathe, wear a good-fitting
mask/respirator. Nice for carving, turning, and veneer too.
Most walnut in the U.S. that is marked "Walnut" is actually "Black Walnut"
also commonly known as American Walnut. If you see Walnut in a lumber yard
there is a 95% chance that Black Walnut is also being offered.
Because there are other Walnuts available, you could possibly be getting one
of those less common varieties.
Black Walnut is softer and lighter in weight than Oak and color varies
greatly from board to board and often within the same board. It IMHO is not
as dark as Peruvian Walnut.
Most any finish will darken Black Walnut, like any other wood.
Black Walnut works beautifully and is very easy on your hands while working
Up here in Wisconsin we have Butternut, which some people call "White
Walnut". It is softer (and weaker, I hear) than Black Walnut. Could
that be what you are talking about? The nuts of the Butternut are
tastier, in my opinion, than black walnuts are.
We get tons of Butternut here in New England, I even go home via
Butternut Street. It's a very different wood than walnut. Anyone
who's calling it "White Walnut" is churching it up to charge a higher
Perhaps the other walnut people are thinking of is Claro Walnut,
common on the left coast?
Also, lots of kiln dried walnut is steamed, air dired usually isn't.
The stuff that isn't steamed usually has more contrast between the
light and dark sections.
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
Except that butternut actually _is_ a walnut species, all else I agree
Claro typically is somewhat lighter/browner w/ less of the purplish
tinges found in black walnut. But, while the OP hasn't come back to
explain, his description makes one really think he's not ever had
I thought that butternut is not commonly available any more because disease
had wiped out the specie. Is it making a come back?
Another tip about working with walnut. Your hands will have purple stains
from working with it. If you keep a bottle of real lemon juice, you can
clean the stain from your hands by washing with the real lemon.
It works from mesquite stains also.
"Specie" is lucre ... "species" is a botanical variety... :)
Not that I'm aware of (unavailable, that is). Haven't actually bought
any for a while but a Google found a "veritable plethora" of suppliers...
Spell check would (or at least should) accept either -- each is a word,
just different (and not particularly close) meanings.
Since _you_ raised it :) and it's a holiday, I'll attach my favorite re:
I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.
Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.
Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if we're laks oar have a laps,
We wood bee maid too wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.
Now spelling does not phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too please.
(I received this ages ago through a tech support rep who didn't have an
origin. I gather from what I have been told a google will locate an
original author but I've not pursued it. Anyway, enjoy! :) )
I'm working some black walnut right now. Check out my project below. I
am finishing with Minwax "Tung Oil" finish.
Works nice, but I had some problems with the ends of boards splitting after
cut to length and left laying around for a few days.
Like others have said, if you don't want dark don't go with walnut.
Yes, walnut is a very nice wood to work with...nice crisp edges, yet not
too hard to work w/ sharp hand tools fairly easily. Odor is pungent,
but not too much so.
I'd add as a tip/comment, not intended as other than constructive... :)
WRT to the ends splitting, that really isn't characteristic of walnut,
per se. It would indicate that either the moisture content wasn't
stable throughout or (more likely imo) there were very tiny end checks
that weren't fully removed in the initial layout that subsequently
opened. Owing to the dark color, it may be more difficult to spot such
imperfections than in, say, maple, particularly if did the initial
approximate cut-to-approximate-size operation on rough lumber.
HTH in the future, perhaps...
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