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Walnut, American Black

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American black walnut is a medium to large hardwood, native to the eastern regions of North America. Its heartwood ranges from a golden to rich chocolate brown colour, sometimes with narrow streaks of a darker purplish-brown. Sapwood is a distinctive creamy white colour. American black walnut is a fine and generally straight-grained timber, although sometimes it has an attractive wavy or curly grain, giving it a highly decorative figure.

By virtue of its appearance, durability and ready workability - being only moderately hard - American black walnut is an excellent cabinetmaking timber. It performs well with both machine and hand tools and can be polished to a high finish. It is also an excellent timber for carving and turning and is suitable for steam bending. It glues satisfactorily if conditions are carefully controlled. It is suited to high-end cabinetwork, and is a timber of choice for gunstocks. Other applications include general furniture and joinery work.

In Australia, commercial availability of American black walnut timber products is generally limited to the upper grades, in which knots and sapwood commonly occur. It is most readily available in Australia as a veneer. 

 

Appearance

American black walnut heartwood ranges from light to dark chocolate brown in colour, sometimes with narrow streaks with a purplish or darker brown tone. In comparison, sapwood is a distinctive creamy white. Black walnut is a finely grained timber, often with attractive swirls and wave patterning, especially around knotty areas. The heartwood lightens in colour as it ages, especially when it is exposed to UV light.

Common Applications

American black walnut is an exceptional cabinet and furniture making timber due to its attractive appearance. The timber is also used for doors, flooring, joinery, mouldings and turnings. In Australia, black walnut is typically available as a veneer and used for paneling and cabinetry.

Common Form

Veneer

Workability

American black walnut performs well with both machine and hand tools, and takes a very high polish. It is an excellent timber for carving and turning and is suitable for steam bending. It glues satisfactorily if conditions are carefully controlled. Black walnut also has good dimensional stability.

Origin of Timber

North America

Readily Available

NSW

Availability - Further Information

In Australia, commercial availability of American black walnut timber products is generally limited to the upper grades, in which knots and sapwood commonly occur. In Australia, black walnut is most commonly available as a veneer.

Availability - Further Information

Native Forest

Shrinkage

Very Low Low Medium High Very High

Tangential :

4.90%

Radial:

3.40%

Unit Movement Tangential:

0.27%

Unit Movement Radial:

0.19%

Strength Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium High

Medium

Reasonably Low

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

S7

Seasoned:

SD1

SD2

SD3

SD4

SD5

SD6

SD7

SD8

Stress Grade

Structural
No. 1
Structural
No. 2
Structural
No. 3
Structural
No. 4
Structural
No. 5

Unseasoned:

F11

F8

F7

F5

F4

Seasoned:

F17

F14

F11

F8

F7

Density per Standard

Seasoned:

615kg/m3

Unseasoned:

970kg/m3

Joint Group

Very High

High

Reasonably High

Medium

Low

Very Low

Unseasoned:

J1

J2

J3

J4

J5

J6

Seasoned:

JD1

JD2

JD3

JD4

JD5

JD6

Colour

  White, yellow, pale straw to light brown Pink to pink brown Light to dark red Brown, chocolate, mottled or streaky
   

Mechanical Properties

Modulus of Rupture - Unseasoned:

66

Modulus of Rupture - Seasoned:

101

Modulus of Elasticity - Unseasoned:

9.8

Modulus of Elasticity - Seasoned:

11.6

Maximum Crushing Strength - Unseasoned:

29.6

Maximum Crushing Strength - Seasoned:

52.3

Impact - Unseasoned:

Impact - Seasoned:

Toughness - Unseasoned:

Toughness - Seasoned:

Hardness - Unseasoned:

4

Hardness - Seasoned:

4.5

Durability

Low Moderate Reasonably High High
(0 - 5 yrs) (5 - 15 yrs) (15 - 25 yrs) (more than 25 yrs)

In-Ground:

(0 - 7 yrs) (7 - 15 yrs) (15 - 40 yrs) (More than 40 yrs)

Above ground:

(0 - 20 yrs, usually < 5) (21 - 40 yrs) (41 - 64 yrs) (More than 60 yrs)

Marine Borer Resistance:

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility:

Susceptible

Lyctid Borer Susceptibility - Other:

Termite Resistance:

Not Resistant

Fire Properties

1 - non-combustible 2 - reasonably non-combustible 3 - slightly combustible 4 - combustible

Fire Properties Group
Number:

Average Specific Extinction Area:

<250

Bushfire Resistance:

Not Tested

Joinery

Timber joinery products offer a classic, unique and stylish touch to any interior or exterior design. The products are produced for a variety of internal applications including door and window frames, cabinetry, skirtings, mouldings and architraves. When looking to the outdoors, joinery products range from decorative eaves and posts to eye-catching railings.

Many timber species are suitable for joinery products and care should be taken in selecting the perfect timber for the particular product and its intended finish. Rare and exotic species such as Teak and Rosewood can generate pieces of outstanding beauty but material cost and availability are also important considerations.

Commercially available species like Tasmanian oak, Australian cypress, spotted gum and the like, often make the more practical choice, with the added benefit that they can be easily matched with other timber products within the building, like flooring.

Solid timber for joinery products is generally supplied as ‘clear finish grade' but ‘paint grade' options are available and these are usually comprised of a composite material like MDF or glulam.

A large number of specialist suppliers and producers offer the consumer extensive choice of profiles for all of the most common and popular joinery products. Choice is in many cases, limited only by imagination.

Cabinetry is often associated with joinery and most typically includes, cupboards, benches and other similar ‘built in' furniture. Like joinery, cabinetry is generally specified as either paint or clear finish grade and naturally for clear finish grade timbers, appearance and surface finish are critical in achieving a successful application.

 

Mouldings

Timber mouldings add style, class and an elegant touch to any interior, offering a depth of beauty and warmth in a way only wood can. From period times to those more contemporary, timber mouldings have graced the most stylish and chic of interiors, decorating furniture, doors and windows. Decorative mouldings such as architraves, skirtings, cornices and ceiling roses remain an ever popular choice for designers seeking a finished result of beauty, style and quality. Like all timber products, mouldings are extremely versatile and durable, enhancing the aesthetics of any interior and functioning as the perfect finishing touch for designs with a focus on beauty and splendour.

Mouldings can be created from any commercially available species of timber and the moisture resistant wood product, MDF, is also a popular choice. When it comes to style and design, the sky is the limit with many suppliers offering custom matching to existing mouldings, as well as efficient supply of those that are individually designed. Installation is a breeze, with the majority of mouldings easily attached with a reputable wood adhesive. Finishes can be tailored by design requirements and the preferences of the end user, with mouldings commonly being both stained and/or painted.

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