American walnut

Juglans nigra

General Description

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 is usually supplied steamed, which darkens the sapwood, but a very unique look can also be achieved by leaving it natural. 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.

Other Common 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.

Case Studies

Virgin Atlantic Sunken Lounge,  UK

Virgin Atlantic Sunken

Bespoke furniture in American black walnut gives the space at London Heathrow Airport an entirely different character.

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View Physical & Mechanical Properties

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.

American walnut - Physical & Mechanical Properties

Specific Gravity (12% M.C.):0.55
Average Weight (12% M.C.):609 kg/m3
Average Volume Shrinkage (Green to 6% M.C.):10.20%
Modulus of Rupture:100.677 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity:11,584 MPa
Compressive strength (parallel to grain):
52.264 MPa
Hardness:4492 N
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View Working Properties

Working Properties

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.

American walnut - Working Properties

SawingGood
PlaningExcellent
DrillingGood
BoringGood
TurningExcellent
Carving
Good
Moulding
Excellent
Nailing
Good
Screwing
Good
Gluing
Good
Finishing
Excellent
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View Main Uses

Main Uses

Furniture, cabinet making, architectural interiors, high class joinery, doors, flooring, gunstocks and panelling. A favoured wood for using in contrast with lighter coloured timbers.

American walnut - Main Uses

Doors
Flooring
Furniture
Joinery
Kitchen cabinets
Mouldings and
turnings
Veneered panels
Sports goods

Tool handles

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Other Information

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.

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