Walnut Figuring/Character - What's going on?

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Forum topic by Keith Kelly posted 04-15-2014 11:28 PM 1154 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Keith Kelly

263 posts in 1662 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


383 posts in 1530 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


6929 posts in 2597 days

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

Looks like crotch grain to me as well.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29226 posts in 2336 days

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

Not sure, but it’s really cool.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2108 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


1743 posts in 2474 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

263 posts in 1662 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 (online now)


10394 posts in 3646 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 JollyGreen67's profile


1669 posts in 2761 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 !

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2956 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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