Rough Cut Walnut

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Forum topic by Hoss25 posted 09-18-2013 06:59 AM 2044 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1981 days

09-18-2013 06:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: walnut rough

So Im a rookie to the woodworking game. I have completed a few pretty basic projects and really enjoy it. However my knowledge and resources are limited right now. A recent search led me to this site and has been useful already. So thank you

Ive been on the hunt for some nice lumber for a potential coffee table and found some rough cut walnut lumber, which has been air drying since the spring, in 4/4 6’x11” and 4’x9.5” sizes.

I ended up buying 7 of the 6’ x 11” boards for $30. So now my questions;

It seems to be a bit lighter than than other black walnut that ive seen. Is this due to not being kiln dried? What is a good way to insure that is in fact black walnut(Ill post pics when I get home)?

Approximately how long will it take for these to get to the correct moisture level?

The boards for the most part are pretty straight. There are a couple that are not. Since I do not have a jointer or planer what is the best route for me to get these to a point where they are ready. I am on a pretty tight budget right now… Sawmill? Hand Planer? Cheaper power tool?

Some useful info- I live in south-eastern PA, just outside of Morgantown, WV. I dont have an exact plan for the table yet, so im not sure how ill need the boards cut.

9 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2528 days

#1 posted 09-18-2013 10:55 AM

It’s hard to keep some walnut straight if it has lots of character. I usually save those pieces for the couple linear feet I might get out of them. You can’t really plane a twist out of wood, I mean you can, but it usually leaves you a thickness issue being uneven from one end to the other.

Sounds like the price was right, or the wood isn’t really any good for anything, the pictures will tell that though.

Walnut is my favorite wood.

I would ask a local mill if they can run these through a planer for you. It usually won’t cost much at all.

Store your wood properly and it will stay straight.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2355 days

#2 posted 09-18-2013 11:22 AM

Your going to have to joint them – so look into a router sled. You can do both sides with the router (look for a used one) or find someone to plane the other side. Maybe you will be luck enough to find someone with a 12” jointer that can make short work of these. There is tons of info here about using handplanes if you want to go that route.

Black Walnut like many types of lumber can vary from lighter or darker no matter the method the drying. It also may depend on how much sapwood you may have. If they were cut this spring its a good possibility that they are still too wet to use as a table. Do they feel cool to the touch, hit them with the handpane, or if you have to cut one, look and feel at it – you will know if they are wet.

You can look up pictures of walnut or post some pics here if you question it being walnut.

Good Luck!

View Hoss25's profile


2 posts in 1981 days

#3 posted 09-18-2013 04:12 PM

Here are some pics;


Ill get a couple shots of the straightness later today.
I originally offered $5 a board for 4 of them that were pretty straight. The guy said he would give me the other 3 for another $10 more. So I took him up on it. What would you guys have of offered? What would you offer for wood of the same stack in 4’ x 9.5”? Or buy it at all??

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3675 days

#4 posted 09-18-2013 05:15 PM

I want to tell you a way to do this but, I’m not sure I can make it plane enough. anyway… get a piece of wood that has a straight edge that is as long as the piece you want to cut. Put it next to the fence and put double sided tape on it. Now place your walnut on top of the tape on the straight piece and press it down on the tape. When you cut, it will cut a straight edge using the straight piece as reference. You can then remove the walnut from the tape and use the newly cut straight edge against the fence to cut a straight edge on the other side. It’s a lot easier than it sounds

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2641 days

#5 posted 09-18-2013 05:19 PM

It appears to me that you got a good buy. I air dry a lot of walnut in my shop that is heated and air conditioned. It takes me about 9 months to a year to dry most 1” lumber down to a workable level. This is a pretty standard rate for drying.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2756 days

#6 posted 09-18-2013 06:40 PM

You got about 6.5 bd. ft. per board. Not bad at all for $5 a board, and the last three at $3.33 a board. That’s less than $1.00 a bd. ft. My best buy on walnut in the last two-three years was $1.50 a bd. ft. from a private buyer, and the planks were 12” wide. 11” wide is almost as good. Good score, buy the rest.
You can dry these probably just fine by stacking them in a dry, fairly temperate place over the winter, but it does really depend on when they were cut in the spring.

By the way, I spent a couple years in New Stanton, PA and bought a lot of wood from a guy down by the WV border. Had a log saw and about 50 acres and a LOT of walnut trees. Wonder if it was the same guy. I bought a load of cherry, (my Suburban stuffed full to the ceiling, all 8’ planks), for $130 back in January of 2003, but it was all pretty green and had to be stored in a storage locker we had for the entire summer. Lost about 15% of it, rest went down to 9% very nicely.
Good luck!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 2684 days

#7 posted 09-18-2013 06:45 PM

To answer two of your questions – yes it is black walnut and once you get it surfaced by whatever means and put a finish on it, it will darken to what you expect. Wipe some mineral spirits on part of it to see what the color should look like.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4202 days

#8 posted 09-18-2013 08:15 PM

Just remember that walnut will get lighter as it ages (in color) in sunlight.


View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3675 days

#9 posted 09-18-2013 08:16 PM

Hoss, I hope you listen to these guys about drying that wood. It would be a shame to see your table crack and split down the line.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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