|Common Name(s): Black WalnutScientific Name: Juglans nigraDistribution: Eastern United States
Tree Size: 120 ft (37 m) tall, 3 ft (1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 41 lbs/ft3 (655 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .51, .66
Janka Hardness: 1,010 lbf (4,490 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,600 lbf/in2 (100.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,680,000 lbf/in2 (11.59 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 7,580 lbf/in2 (52.3 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 5.5%, Tangential: 7.8%, Volumetric: 12.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.4
Color/Appearance: Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is nearly white.
Grain/Texture: Has a medium texture and mid-sized pores which may require filling for a smooth finish. The grain is usually straight, but can be irregular. Black Walnut can occasionally also be found with figured grain patterns such as: curly, crotch, and burl.
Endgrain: Semi-ring-porous; medium-large earlywood pores gradually decreasing to small latewood pores; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; tyloses occasionally to abundantly present; growth rings distinct; rays barely visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), apotracheal parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (sometimes very faint and barely visible even with lens).
Rot Resistance: Black Walnut is rated as very durable in terms of decay resistance, though it is susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Typically easy to work provided the grain is straight and regular. Planer tearout can sometimes be a problem when surfacing pieces with irregular or figured grain. Glues, stains, and finishes well, (though walnut is rarely stained). Responds well to steam bending.
Odor: Black Walnut has a faint, mild odor when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Black Walnut has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Black Walnut is priced higher than most other domestic hardwoods, but is still affordable for many projects. The price should compare similarly with Black Cherry—another premium domestic species.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Furniture, cabinets, gunstocks, interior paneling, veneer, turned items, and other small wooden objects and novelties.
Comments: Black Walnut is a very popular domestic hardwood for woodworking projects. It’s one of only a few domestic woods that has a naturally dark color, and it also has good shock resistance and strength properties.