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Species – Black Walnut

Species Information - Birch

Species Information

Black Walnut is an extremely popular species among woodworkers, as much for its cooperative characteristics as for its deeply rich coloration. It is heavy and strong, yet is still fairly easy to split. Historically, Black Walnut has been used for coffins, flooring, furniture and gunstocks.

Due to forest competition, the Black Walnut develops a tall, clear trunk and can attain heights of up to 130 feet.

Black Walnut is softer than northern red oak, however, it’s hardness and weight give it an excellent dimensional stability. It has good shock resistance and performs well in conditions that are favorable to decay.

Despite having origins in North America, the Black Walnut tree was introduced to Europe in 1629, and continues to be cultivated as a resource for high-quality wood.

The largest known black walnut calls Sauvie Island, Oregon as home. It is 8 feet, 7 inches in diameter, and 112 feet high.

The American Black Walnut is not to be confused with Endiandra globosoa (also called Black Walnut), which is a medium-sized Australian rainforest tree.

Scientific Names

The scientific name for Black Walnut is Juglans nigra.

Origin

Black Walnut is native to Eastern & Midwestern North America and grows mostly in riparian zones, such as Southern Ontario, Missouri, southeast South Dakota, New Jersey, Northern Florida and Central Texas.

Crossover Names

N/A

Janka Rating

Black Walnut rings in at 1,010 on the Janka hardness scale, making it harder than certain woods such as Genuine Mahogany, Red Leap Maple and Cherry, but not as hard as a number of other woods, including Birch, Oak, Ash and Hickory.

Black Walnut Janka Scale Rating 1,010

*The Janka rating measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. Click Here for more info.

Appearance

Black Walnut features heartwood that can range from pale brown to a dark, chocolate brown with streaks. The coloring can occasionally be gray, purple, or slightly reddish. Black Walnut’s sapwood is nearly white, with hints of pale, yellow-gray.

The grain is typically straight, yet has been known to display areas of irregularities. It has a medium texture with a moderate, natural luster.

Marks and imperfections tend to be more pronounced on Black Walnut, because of its hardness and density, meaning a matte finish would help to minimize these marks.

Workability

Black Walnut is typically easy to work with, particularly if the grain is straight and regular. You can experience planer tearout, however, when you’re surfacing pieces with irregular or figured grain. Black Walnut is known to stain, glue and finish exceptionally well (however, walnut is rarely stained). It also responds well to steam bending.

It is found in areas beyond flooring, such as veneer, paneling, and fixtures.

CLICK HERE to view all of our Walnut flooring.

Click below for a detailed discription of the different species of hardwood.

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