Walnut Figuring/Character - What's going on?

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 04-15-2014 11:28 PM 988 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

215 posts in 1080 days

04-15-2014 11:28 PM

First – I’m still a newbie, so feel free to call me out if I misuse terms or make other newbie mistakes.

Here’s some walnut I got from a local amish mill a couple weeks ago. It has been air drying for about a year. I’m planing it today.

I was expecting the feathering, but not so much the oddity in the growth rings. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was some sort of spalting, but surely that’s not it, since walnut heartwood doesn’t typically get spalty (IIRC from what I’ve read in the past on here)

What are your thoughts?

(edit: I just looked up spalted walnut, and this doesn’t look spalted)

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

9 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile


323 posts in 948 days

#1 posted 04-16-2014 12:22 AM

You might have a cross section of a crotch in the tree. As the limbs grow a similar pattern is created.

View ShaneA's profile


6413 posts in 2015 days

#2 posted 04-16-2014 12:38 AM

Looks like crotch grain to me as well.

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

21506 posts in 1754 days

#3 posted 04-16-2014 01:00 AM

Not sure, but it’s really cool.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1172 posts in 1526 days

#4 posted 04-16-2014 01:04 AM

Beautiful crotch curl!

It might not machine well, but scraped or high angle planed, and finished with shellac or a good oil varnish, that’ll be strikingly beautiful. Black tinted epoxy, planed or chiseled level will nicely fill the voids.

That would make a killer box top or feature panel.

View WDHLT15's profile


1562 posts in 1892 days

#5 posted 04-16-2014 01:11 AM

Keith, if it has only been drying for a year, I bet that it is still pretty wet in the middle. Thick beams take a long time to dry.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Keith Kelly's profile

Keith Kelly

215 posts in 1080 days

#6 posted 04-16-2014 01:12 AM

It was cut to 5/4 a year ago then stickered. It’s now planed to 4/4

-- Keith - Bolivar, Missouri,

View Loren's profile


8155 posts in 3064 days

#7 posted 04-16-2014 01:50 AM

It’s likely to be too unstable for joinery due to the
knot. If you have a band saw you can make some
veneer plates from it or maybe carve a tray or
something like that.

View Jimbo4's profile


1419 posts in 2179 days

#8 posted 04-16-2014 02:43 AM

If you “really” don’t want it, especially with the uncommon grain, SEND IT TO ME !

-- BOVILEXIA: The urge to moo at cows from a moving vehicle.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2374 days

#9 posted 04-18-2014 03:47 PM

Hard to say for sure, but it appears to be a piece of a “cookie”, a slice taken from the end of a log; I say this as it appears to have sapwood corners at the top of the pic. Looks quite a bit like a few trees I collected that were dying, they had plenty of ring shake and broken limb damage from previous years. The wood grows as it can, and when the surface gets odd so does the following growth. Lots of color and movement in the figure, but not too much for big pieces. Very pretty wood.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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