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Walnut type - pics posted

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Forum topic by James posted 387 days ago 1005 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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James

100 posts in 392 days


387 days ago

So I bought some walnut a while back. It was a BEAUTIFUL board that was 4/4 11”x108”. Beautiful! The grain was amazing and defined. I don’t know how to describe it so I’ll post a picture.
My question is, since then I bought some more walnut from the same place. Not realizing how amazing the first piece was, the second and third pieces were simple, brown, grain was almost nonexistent. It had no contrast at all. Very generic looking. Same place, same price. What kind of walnut is the first one? I don’t have a pic of the second, but imagine a brown board. That’s it.

-- James - Semper Fi


24 replies so far

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shampeon

1307 posts in 789 days


#1 posted 387 days ago

Both boards are probably the same species, probably black walnut. Walnut varies a lot in appearance. Some kinds of walnut have more pronounced grain than others, like claro walnut. But boards from the bottom of the trunk will probably have a lot more dramatic grain than further up. I would think of it like this: you were fortunate to get a beautiful board stuck in with the other more plain ones.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#2 posted 387 days ago

So if I were to search the internet or a supplier for the first kind of walnut, what would I ask for? Good walnut?

-- James - Semper Fi

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chrisstef

10449 posts in 1612 days


#3 posted 387 days ago

I think figured walnut would be what you’re after. It’ll command a premium price all though.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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shampeon

1307 posts in 789 days


#4 posted 387 days ago

Some dealers will separate out the figured walnut, but expect to pay more per board foot. Depending on the dealer and the kind of figure, it could be a lot more.

Your best bet is to go to a hardwood dealer where you can pick through the boards to find the ones with better figure. Especially now that you know what to look for.

Also, English, French, or claro walnut generally have more figure than black walnut.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#5 posted 387 days ago

I don’t think it was figure that had me drooling. It was more the contrast between the light and dark part of the grain. Isn’t figure horizontal perpendicular to the grain? I don’t necessarily want figure. It’s too expensive. What is the lighter color part called? It reminds me of ambrosia in maple, but actually desirable in this case.

-- James - Semper Fi

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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2254 days


#6 posted 387 days ago

different boards will have different grain patterns/hue differences.

depending on the project at hand, sometimes a more solid/plain board(s) work better as they lend the focus to the details in the project as opposed to the side of the board, while on other projects it can add some nice character. there is nothing that differentiates your posted picture than any other walnut board other than it has a bit more of the sapwood tones in it. this is not figured wood, but it is a unique board/log.

the fun is in finding those when you want them….

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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Woodendeavor

211 posts in 1212 days


#7 posted 387 days ago

Black walnut wood is kiln dried by most suppliers, in this process they first steam the walnut bleeding the dark heart wood to the lighter sap wood giving them more viable lumber. This process takes out all of the great color variation you can get in black walnut. Your piece looks like some air dried walnut that I purchased from a local mill, lost of color variation through the grain including some purple tints

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#8 posted 387 days ago

Woodendeavor… say that again? I’m relatively new to this and certainly don’t understand different drying types. Is there a way to tell which method you’re buying?

-- James - Semper Fi

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richardwootton

1104 posts in 561 days


#9 posted 387 days ago

I have had a lot of success in finding very nice grain variations by digging through the #1 Common pile at my local hardwood dealer. You might want to try checking something like that out. It also doesn’t hurt to look through all of the selection of walnut available. I have black walnut that came from the same log, some of it with beautiful figure as well as some very nice straight grain, they are just from different sections of the log.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#10 posted 387 days ago

The supplier I tend to use has the floor selection which is usually 96” or less all less than 6” wide. They have the standing supply which is much larger. That’s where I found the good stuff. It’s the same price, but they’re 14” long sometimes. Really amazing boards. A lot of them have some very undesirable features to them like holes and knots and cracks. That of course, makes them more expensive because you can’t choose which 8’ you want and leave the ugly 6’. Up until recently, I opted for the wider and longer boards because I was inexperienced with jointing well. But when I got that 11” piece showing in the picture, they didn’t even have the common floor pile. It was one of 30 pieces they had and it was all long or wide boards left in stock. I’ll just have to shop more.

-- James - Semper Fi

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fredj

183 posts in 423 days


#11 posted 387 days ago

With walnut and another of other woods there is a lot of contrast between sap wood and heart wood. As said before steam drying bleeds color. As a rule unless a lumber yard says it’s something other than black walnut, that’s what it will be in the USA. Two boards of the same type of wood from two different trees can be as different as night and day. You got some great looking wood. The only way to get grain and color that is much the same from board to board is to buy a whole, or part of a fletch (could be spelled wrong ?). A fletch is all the boards cut in sequence from the same log. Also what a lumber is called when it is sold may or may not have anything to do with they type of tree it comes from. “Hard maple” and “Soft maple” both come from what is commonly called a Sugar maple which is “Acer sacharum”.

-- Fredj

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#12 posted 387 days ago

Ok. So why would one call Hard and Soft maple different things?
I totally understand that different trees of the same species can look very different. I just didn’t realize that when I bought my second piece. I’d imagine I had beginners luck with the piece above. It was amazing.

-- James - Semper Fi

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Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1800 days


#13 posted 387 days ago

I don’t want to cast doubts and I’m probably wrong but that side piece on the box sure looks like pine with a dark walnut stain. There’s even a knot in the lower right corner. That would explain the figure shown. Just a thought.

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James

100 posts in 392 days


#14 posted 387 days ago

The side is hard maple. I actually got that from Home Depot (I know, blast away) so I doubt I was duped there. Where do you see dark walnut stain?

-- James - Semper Fi

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shampeon

1307 posts in 789 days


#15 posted 386 days ago

Hard and soft maple have different properties because they are different species. Differences within the same species won’t usually get a different name at the lumber yard unless the figure makes it more valuable (e.g. ribbon mahogany, waterfall bubinga, flamed maple, etc.).

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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