American Walnut

Common Names American Walnut, Black Walnut, Walnut, Eastern Black walnut.
Scientific Name Juglans nigra
Distribution Southeast India,
Tree Size Trunk Height can reach up to 30–40 m ( 100–130 ft ) and a trunk diameter varies from 2-5 feet.
Dried Weight ( average ) 38 lbs/ft3 (610 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity 0.51.
Janka Hardness 1,010 lbf (4,490 N)
Density The density of the Black walnut tree is 660 kg per cubic meter (41.2 lb/cubic foot).


With beautiful nuts and chocolate-colored timber, the American walnut is considered to be the most valuable wood native to North America. The creamy white sapwood and the dark-colored hardwood makes it very easy to distinguish between the two. These trees grow well in deep, well-drained soils that are nearly neutral in pH. The soils should also be very fertile and kept moist at all times. When grown in suitable and proper conditions considering the soil, water, sunlight, etc, these trees are expected to grow rather quickly that is 40 - 50 feet within 20 years. These woods have been found to be best put to use in furniture, paneling, flooring, etc.

One thing the cultivators of this tree should be care full of is the fighting advantage that this tree has over its neighboring plants. This tree is allelopathic, that is this tree releases toxins and chemicals from its roots and other tissues that may have harmful or even adverse effects on the neighboring organisms. This gives the tree advantage as it will not have the need to compete with other plants for nutrients and sunlight.

Distribution: This walnut tree is native to North America. It grows mostly in Riparian zones, from southern Ontario, west to southeast South Dakota, south to Georgia, northern Florida, and southwest to central Texas. Wild trees in the upper Ottawa Valley may be an isolated native population or may have derived from planted trees. American walnut trees grow widely across the eastern USA in mixed hardwood forests and on farms, concentrated in central states but spread from Texas to the eastern seaboard. The trees are one of the few hardwood species planted as well as occurring and regenerated naturally. They grow relatively tall and straight with few lower branches.

Color: The creamy white sapwood and the light brown to dark chocolate brown hardwood makes a clear distinction between both the hardwood and the sapwood. Sometimes the heartwood has dark, even purple, streaks. American walnut is quite different from European walnut, which tends to be lighter in color. The wood frequently contains alternate light and dark stripes that give specific detail on boards and veneers.

Texture: The walnut wood texture is generally straight-grained, although sometimes with the wavy or curly grain. Due to these characteristic wavies or curly grains the American walnut is sought after by many designers and sculptors for ornamental and decorative purposes.

Odor: Most parts of the Black walnut tree that includes the leaves, stems, and fruit husks tend to have a very peculiar pungent or spicy odor. This odor is lacking in the nut itself.

Workability: American walnuts work easily with hand and machine tools. It has excellent planing, turning, and molding properties. It has good nailing and gluing properties and can be stained and polished to an excellent finish. The wood dries slowly and has good dimensional stability when dry. It can be satisfactorily kiln-dried and holds its shape well after seasoning. Black walnut is normally straight grained, it works easily with hand tools, and has excellent machining properties. The wood finishes beautifully with a handsome grain pattern. It takes and holds paints and stains exceptionally well. It can be readily polished and satisfactorily glued.

Black walnut Uses: The Black Walnut is considered one of the supreme species for high-end furniture, cabinets, doors, hardwood flooring, and interior joinery. It is used for flooring and paneling and it is widely used to contrast with other hardwoods because of its distinct chocolate color. Black walnut is used chiefly for furniture and fixtures, and for radio, television and phonograph cabinets, sewing machines, gunstocks, novelties, and interior finish paneling. It is used either in the form of solid wood cut from lumber or in the form of a decorative veneer made by gluing sheets of plain or figured veneer to one or both sides of a core.

 Black walnut is used primarily for the dining room and bedroom furniture. Bookcases, desks, living room tables, and many other pieces are also frequently made of walnut. The wood has also been sought after for office furniture. For the highest grade cabinets, plywood panels, faced with figured veneer, are used. For a striking yet classy finish in the interiors of cafes and public buildings the American walnut tree is used. The wood is particularly suitable for gunstocks because of its low movement after seasoning, fine machining properties, uniformity of texture, and slight coarseness that makes it easy to grip. It is sufficiently strong and shock resistant without being excessively heavy. Figured black walnut stocks are prized for expensive shotguns.

Products: Black walnut slab: One of the most popular domestic hardwoods, Black Walnut is prized by many woodworkers because of its beauty and workability. Black Walnut’s grain colors are a combination of rich dark brown and subtle tones of purple in the heartwood, with lighter creamy straw tones in the sapwood. Its ability to glue, stain, and even steam easily contribute to Black Walnut’s popularity among woodworkers. Most walnuts produced in the States are steamed to blend the dark color of the heartwood into the light color of the sapwood. The combination of the heartwood and lighter colored sapwood edge makes for a beautiful contrast. Black Walnut lumber is widely used for gun stocks since it is lightweight and has good shock resistance.

Products from the tree are varied. Its seeds - black walnuts - are a popular nut, although less common than the Persian walnut because they are more difficult to extract. The shells of walnut seeds are ground for use in a variety of applications, and dyes found in the hulls of the nuts have been used for centuries in traditional woolen and handicraft applications. Black walnut timber is very highly prized for its straight, dark, heavy, strong, fine-grained heartwood, which is used to make fine furniture, valuable gunstocks, flooring, oars, and coffins. Because the species is now relatively rare in the wild, the timber is currently used for veneer as well. It is a popular export timber from the United States.

Types of walnuts: Although there are many types of walnuts all around the world, the two main walnuts worth mentioning here are the English walnut, and the Black walnut. English walnut ( also called Persian walnut ) originated in Iran, while Black walnut originated in North America. Both are deciduous trees ( the leaves drop when in dormancy ) and live more than a century. 

Both trees are cultivated worldwide for their nuts and their high-quality timber, which is widely used in furniture, car interiors, doors, and the gun industry. However, we can say that English walnuts are cultivated more for nuts and less for timber. On the other hand, growing Black walnut trees for timber is very common in the US and other countries and is regarded as an investment option that will make great returns in the long term. The wood is rated as very resistant to heartwood decay and is one of the most durable American hardwoods. The heartwood of black walnut ranks with the most durable woods, including cedars, chestnut, and black locust, even under conditions favorable to decay.

Therefore in short, 

  1. English walnut. English walnuts are scientifically known as Juglans regia and are also called Persian walnuts because they originated in the Middle East. English walnuts are a light gold color, have a mild flavor, and have softer shells that make them much easier to shell. These are mainly grown for the nuts.
  2. Black walnut. Black walnuts are scientifically known as Juglans nigra and are native to the eastern United States. They are a darker color, have a stronger, earthier flavor, and have very hard shells that make them much more difficult to shell. Another variety of the black walnut is the California black walnut (Juglans californica), native to California. These are mainly grown for the timber.

Here is the few finished products images:

Walnut Bowl
Walnut Bowl
Walnut Bowl
Walnut Bowl
Walnut Bowl


Frequently asked Questions

American walnut is one of the most sought-after species in markets across the world and is unique to North America. The tree is known for its ease in woodworking and has found many applications in furniture, paneling, ornamental works, etc. This wood has a soft creamy white softwood and a deep dark chocolate colored hardwood.

When a piece of wood is used for woodworking the hardness of the wood is to be determined. And this is done through the Janka hardness test (from the Austrian-born immigrant Gabriel Janka, 1864–1932) measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. A common use of Janka hardness ratings is to determine whether a species is suitable for use as flooring. For hardwood flooring, the test usually requires a 2" × 6" sample with a thickness of at least 6–8mm, and the most commonly used test is the ASTM D1037. When testing wood in lumber form the Janka test is always carried out on wood from the trunk of the tree (known as the heartwood) and the standard sample (according to ASTM D143) is at 12% moisture content and clear of knots.

The hardness of the American Walnut wood is 1,010 lbf (4,500 N).

The American walnut is used chiefly for furniture and fixtures, and for radio, television and phonograph cabinets, sewing machines, gunstocks, novelties, and interior finish paneling. The walnut wood is used primarily for the dining room and bedroom furniture. Bookcases, desks, living room tables, and many other pieces are also frequently made of walnut.

The creamy white sapwood and the light brown to dark chocolate brown hardwood makes a clear distinction between both the hardwood and the sapwood. Sometimes the heartwood has dark, even purple, streaks.

The link above is one such platform where you can buy this and many other exotic kinds of wood.

In the midst of our busy schedules cleaning and proper maintenance can seem like such a time-consuming task. When maintained the right way, and doing bits and pieces at the right time can save you a lot of time and effort. Begin your routine by sweeping or dusting daily. You’ll also want to vacuum at least once per week. This helps prevent debris from collecting up. Be sure to use the vacuum’s hard floor mode or a floor brush attachment. Never use a breaker bar as this can cause damage to hardwood floors.

Cleaning often will help pull up any tiny dirt particles in the floorboards. As these can damage the finish on the floor over time. 

Use a damp mop as needed, with a soft terry cloth head. A special cleaning mop is also the best way to clean hardwood floors. Make sure to use cleaning agents that are free from harmful chemicals. As these can be harmful to you as well as the wood. Some harsh chemicals can even wash off the finishing done on the wood and can cause bleeding of its color to adjacent areas. Be sure to wipe up any extra moisture from the floor as soon as possible. Always clean up any spills right away. As liquids can cause water damage, or discolor or stain the floor. Don’t use a steam mop, as this can ruin the floor’s finish.