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Published on
26 February 2021

Walnut trees are any species of tree in the plant genus Juglans, the type genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are referred to as walnuts.

All species are deciduous trees, 10–40 metres (33–131 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres (7.9–35.4 in), with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts (Pterocarya), but not the hickories (Carya) in the same family.

The 21 species in the genus range across the north temperate Old World from southeast Europe east to Japan, and more widely in the New World from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina. 

Edible walnuts, which are consumed worldwide, are usually harvested from cultivated varieties of the species Juglans regia. China produces half of the world total of walnuts.

Woodworking Walnut

Understated beauty, durability and versatility—for all these reasons and more, once wildly popular walnut is making a comeback in the world of interior design and woodworking, and we couldn’t be happier. Walnut is a great wood to work with and has been known for both its beauty and adaptability.

While walnut is very easy to work with, every domestic hardwood has its own unique features and requires specific techniques to garner the best results. Walnut is no exception.

  • Black walnut equals durability: 
    While all walnut varieties are pretty high on the durability scale, black walnut is the most durable of the bunch. For projects that may take a beating with daily or hard use, black walnut should be your walnut of choice.
  • Glue works well on walnut: 
    Not all woods handle glue well, but walnut is not one of those woods. If glue is necessary for your project, you will find that walnut adheres very well with the proper wood glue. Just be sure to clean up any runoff immediately. Glue that is left on the surface of your project will appear as a dark, coffee-like stain once the project is sealed and finished.
  • Don’t use steamed walnut: 
    Most mills steam walnut before drying it to darken the sapwood and create a more uniform color palette, but what you actually end up with is a dull grayish color. To get the beautiful tones walnut is known for, be sure that you are getting walnut that has not been steamed prior to drying.
  • Steam bending works well with walnut: 
    While steaming for coloring is bad, steam bending is perfectly safe with walnut. If you need a wood that is sturdy but can also be flexible for your woodworking needs, walnut is a good choice. Walnut responds very well to steam bending. By using steam, you can bend walnut at will without losing its integrity.
  • Hand sanding works best: 
    Walnut, although easy to work with, can be difficult to finish. To help bring out the amazing grain patterns in walnut, hand sanding works best. Simply use finer grits of sandpaper as you go along to get a smooth finish that showcases the beautiful grain patterns walnut is known for.
  • Use shellac when finishing your project: 
    Shellac makes an excellent base for other finishes, such as a gel stain or a glaze, when working with walnut. Shellac can also be mixed with colorants to lighten a darker walnut if you wish.

Walnut is Prone to Sapwood Rings

If you want to create a table or cabinet that is sleek and clean with no knots or rings, then walnut may not be the best choice. All trees have sapwood rings, however there are some that are more visible than others. Sapwood rings are the pale yellow-ish white sections of the wood that lies between the bark and the heartwood. It is the area that transports the water and other nutrients all throughout the tree. Some types of wood have a natural sapwood ring while others have a large one. Walnut has a large sap ring and the color variation stands out since the heartwood is so much darker than the other wood found in the trees.

Wall mounts made from walnut

Our first LP Vinyl Wall Mount was made of dark Walnut wood. The characteristics are beautiful in every single shelve. It makes them unique. We often choose Oak to be our type of wood to work with. Walnut is harder to find and takes more time to process. Therefor it is special, but also more expensive compared to oak. So when you look for something really special, choose walnut.