Using Black Walnut Wood for Woodworking

Welcome to Carpentry Tips with Thomas!

Elegant Black Walnut Projects for Woodworkers

Hey there! I’m Thomas, a passionate carpenter, and today I want to talk about a fantastic hardwood: Black Walnut. It’s not just any wood; it’s a stunning choice for your projects, with its remarkable durability and elegance. The best part? Items crafted from walnut stand the test of time. It’s mostly safe, showcases striking grain patterns, and is a delight to work with. ️

Transformations: Before and After Finishing with Linseed Oil

Before Finishing
After one coat of linseed oil

The Price of Beauty: Is Black Walnut Expensive?

Expect to invest around $7 to $12 per board foot for Black Walnut. It’s pricier than maple or cherry, approximately double the cost. For example, crafting a 48-inch round coffee table could set you back around $450.

Why Choose Black Walnut?

Famous not only for its nuts, the black walnut tree is a trove of high-quality wood, perfect for various projects like hardwood flooring or furniture. It’s among the top hardwood choices, widely available, and sustainable. And good news! It’s a breeze to work with, although its price tag may limit its use.

My New Black Homemade Walnut Table

Characteristics of Black Walnut

Appearance: Black walnut’s heartwood ranges from pale brown to dark coffee, while its sapwood is from yellowish gray to off-white. The color variation is usually steamed for uniformity.

Grain: Expect a range of grain patterns, from straight to wavy and knotted.

Character Grade: If you adore natural patterns, black walnut’s rustic look is unbeatable.

Burls: Ideal for veneers and inlays, walnut burls are resistant to splits and boast unique grain patterns.

Durability: With a Janka rating of 1010, black walnut is moderately hard, fairly resistant to decay and warping, and takes finishes well.

Black Walnut Varieties

  • English Walnut: Grows tall, known for edible nuts, and used for furniture.
  • California Black Walnut: Grows up to 49 feet, mostly ornamental.
  • Northern Black Walnut: Drought-resistant, known for thick-shelled nuts.
  • Hinds Black Walnut: Large tree, used for furniture and aesthetic purposes.

Finishing Touches: Common Finishes for Walnut

Finishing walnut requires finesse. Lacquer and linseed oil are popular choices, each with their own process. ️

How Does Black Walnut Compare to Other Hardwoods?

When it comes to hardwoods, black walnut stands tall alongside rock maple, red oak, and American cherry, each with distinct colors, grains, and textures.

Utilizing Black Walnut

Black walnut’s durability makes it suitable for furniture, millwork, flooring, cabinets, interior decoration, and even gunstocks. It’s a top choice for shaping and turning, maintaining shape even after seasoning.

Is Black Walnut Sustainable?

Black walnut is relatively sustainable, with sources like Indiana and Ohio. While not endangered, numbers have declined, but efforts are in place to prevent deforestation.

The Pros and Cons of Black Walnut


  • Tight Grain: Offers a uniform and rustic appeal.
  • Easy to Stain: Stains dry easily, enhancing the wood’s aesthetic.
  • Easy Maintenance: Its dark color hides dirt, making cleaning a breeze.
  • Home Value: Adds significant value if used as flooring or decor.

Using Black Walnut Wood for Woodworking

Complement the information with the following instructional video: