"Claro" Black Walnut

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 04-28-2011 05:01 AM 2446 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 2892 days

04-28-2011 05:01 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut

What is this? Ive seen American and Brazilian black walnut as well as burled walnut of both species. But I never knew what claro walnut was.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

3 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4420 days

#1 posted 04-28-2011 05:40 AM

From the Woodfinder website:

DESCRIPTION: Claro is a Spanish word meaning clear or bright, and the common name “claro walnut” is usually used to refer to the wood cut from the lower bole (stump) of orchard walnut trees, especially on the West coast of the US. These trees are a mixture of species, created by grafting an English walnut (Juglans regia) scion to a rootstock of one of our native walnut species—either black walnut (Juglans nigra) or California walnut (Juglans hindsii). The wood near the graft tends to be variegated in color, with beautiful marble-like, dark brown and tan swirls in the figure. It is a favorite wood for making gunstocks. There is some confusion about the term “claro”, since the lumber trade sometimes uses it to describe the wood of ordinary California walnut, which is more like black walnut, rather than the marbled variety cut from orchard trees. Claro walnut has working properties similar to black walnut. It works well with hand and power tools, has good strength and bending properties, and takes finishes well. It is used mainly for high-quality furniture and gunstocks.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3160 days

#2 posted 04-28-2011 05:50 PM

Plenty of people here in the NW / West coast use the term “Claro” to classify the local, native black walnut by. It has mixed with black walnut trees brought back from the East coast, making a somewhat lighter (but some say more attractive) version. The “true” Claro is much darker, sometimes making it difficult to see the grain lines. Charlies answer is certainly more technical and no doubt more accurate, but I have yet to see the term used that way. I am absolutely not saying he is wrong, just pointing out something you will need to know if you deal with this and are expecting to get a specific product.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View McKinneyMike's profile


80 posts in 2863 days

#3 posted 04-28-2011 11:04 PM

Juglans hindsii, the Hinds’ black walnut, also called the Northern California walnut, is a large tree (up to 60 feet tall) endemic to roughly circular area in California centered near Fresno and reaching the San Francisco Bay area. Some authorities (i.e. California Native Plant Society) describe this species as the subspecies hindsii of the Southern California black walnut, J. californica S. Watson. This article uses the The Jepson Manual.

J. hindsii, generally found in the northern half of the state, is a large tree, 30 to 60 feet high, with a single erect trunk commonly without branches for 10-40 feet and a crown which can be wider than the tree is tall. Specimens commonly reach five to six feet in diameter near the base of the tree. The leaf is approximately 1 ft long, with 13-21 two to five-in leaflets with dentate margins. Unlike the Southern California walnut, the vein angles bear tufts of hair. The nut has a smooth, brown, thick shell containing a small edible nutmeat.

J. hindsii is endangered, with possibly only a few native stands remaining. It grows in riparian woodlands, either in single species stands or mixed with California’s oaks (Quercus) and cottonwoods (Populus). J. hindsii is commercially important as a rootstock for English walnut (Juglans regia) orchards all over the world, both on its own and as a parent to the J. hindsii x J. regia hybrid, commonly called “Paradox”. J. hindsii is cultivated as an ornamental tree wherever it will grow in California, and in Hawaii.


The wood of J. hindsii is commonly called claro walnut by the lumber industry and woodworkers. It is highly figured and has a rich brown color with striking grain patterns, especially in the crotch areas, where large limbs meet the trunk. It is used in small quantities to make fine furniture and gun stocks, and sold as slabs to make large natural-top tables because of its good working properties and beautiful grain patterns.

Some confusion exists about the nature of claro walnut because J. hindsii is commonly used as the rootstock of orchard trees. The section below the original graft is claro walnut wood, while the section above is the lighter-colored English walnut. Some woodworkers have even taken advantage of this by making the change in color of the wood a feature of their work.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber -McKinney, TX

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