walnut sapwood

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Forum topic by olson posted 10-30-2015 02:28 PM 925 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2106 days

10-30-2015 02:28 PM

I recently needed (unfortunatly in the way) to take down a walnut tree with ~14” diameter ~8’ long. I was quite surprised how thick the white sap wood layer was ~5” leaving a measly 4” of nice dark stuff. Should I take it to the saw mill or add it to the firewood pile?

8 replies so far

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1323 days

#1 posted 10-30-2015 02:37 PM

Sap wood area can be dyed to match the heart wood.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View bearkatwood's profile


1659 posts in 1183 days

#2 posted 10-30-2015 03:55 PM

If you steam it, it will even out in color a bit, that is why 99% of walnut you can buy has been steamed. Which is also why 99% of the walnut you buy is no good for steam bending. It will still have a lighter color, but it will darken considerably. Just watch for bugs as they love the sapwood and can hide well and appear only after you have put finish on and taken it in the house.

-- Brian Noel

View jmartel's profile


8190 posts in 2322 days

#3 posted 10-30-2015 04:42 PM

Need a workbench or wood for shop stuff? I’m not a fan of walnut sapwood, but I could see cutting it up to make functional stuff for pretty cheap.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View soob's profile


269 posts in 1380 days

#4 posted 10-30-2015 04:48 PM

Sell it to a wood turner.

View bold1's profile


305 posts in 2019 days

#5 posted 10-30-2015 07:42 PM

If you stack it solid, green and put the sap wood between the heartwood it will stain very dark. Cut into a sample board every once in a while to check how deep you want the stain. This is how many mills sell Butternut for Walnut. Once it stains thru you can’t tell them apart.

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2429 days

#6 posted 10-30-2015 10:51 PM

Olson, just remember that if you stain the sapwood to match the heartwood, the heartwood will lighten with exposure to light and the stained wood won’t, at least not to the same degree.

-- Art

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 2070 days

#7 posted 10-31-2015 03:17 AM

Have the logs flat sawn. Where the sapwood meets the heartwood there may some very interesting grain and color. I am making a box now of homegrown cherry which has the two in one board. I usually quarter saw most of my logs, but this one was so small, like yours, that I just had it flat sawn. In addition to the wild grain, it has the color change. I’m using it for a jewelry box for a friend’s Christmas gift because of the shapes in colors.

-- --Dale Page

View Jim Hoeller's profile

Jim Hoeller

5 posts in 1114 days

#8 posted 10-31-2015 01:17 PM

I have been using dye made from the husks of walnuts. Soaking the husks in water will yield a dark brown dye that can be concentrated by allowing the water to evaporate. A few applications of the dye will darken the sapwood.

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