A guide to American Black Walnut Timber

american black walnut

American Black Walnut timber Overview

Black walnut, or Juglans nigra by it botanical name, is one of the most beautiful hardwood timber in existence that has multiple uses and applications.

This article provides technical specifications on the timber profile of walnut and give examples of some of the stunning applications this versatile hardwood can be used for.

American black walnut (Juglans nigra) is a species of tree that is native to North America, with a typical tree height of 21- 27 meters. It is known for its hard, dense wood, which is often used in the manufacture of furniture, cabinetry, gun stocks, and other products. The wood is also used in the production of veneers, as well as for decorative purposes such as inlays and marquetry. The nuts of the American black walnut tree are also edible and are often used in cooking and baking.

Walnut is often used for both interior and exterior woodworking projects, mainly because of its beautiful dark knotty finish and because it is a very workable timber.

Above we show an image of a modern kitchen that has cabinet doors finished in walnut and complimented by a bespoke black walnut dining table, more example to follow later.

Black Walnut Grain and Texture:

Black Walnut Grain and Texture

The heartwood of Walnut is known to range in colours for a very dark brown, almost black colour to a very light brown appearance. In some cases the colours merge to produce a purple appearance. The finish colour makes black walnut a unique timber, due to its simple beautiful elegant finish and appearance, it is often used for furniture and internal panelling.

Walnut is known for having a straight grain that is only some times irregular in appearance. Walnut is one of the most durable timbers around and is very workable.

Due to the appearance, workability and durability of the timber, it can be very expensive to buy and use, but it is long lasting material that demands a high price when used in quality wood working projects.

Black walnut is one of the most popular rough timber boards sold in the UK, mainly because of its variety of applications from tuning, flooring to cladding. As walnut is very workable its relatively easy to achieve a good planed finish, but due to the high level of knots in the wood, if you are not experienced in planning timber, then its always a good option to buy walnut planed timber.

American Black Walnut Timber Specification


Botanical Name: Juglans nigra (Juglandaceae)
Material Type: Hardwood
Durability: Non Durable
Workability: Workable
Price Rating: Expensive
Material Grade: Expensive
Weight: 640 kg/m3
Typical Tree Height: 21-27m
Trunk Diameter: 0.6-1.2m
Length Ranges:1.8-4.5m
Width Ranges:100-300mm
Colour: Black/Very Dark Brown

Is black walnut wood for interior or exterior use?

American black walnut can be used for both interior and exterior applications. It is a popular choice for interior use due to its attractive colour and grain pattern, as well as its durability and resistance to wear. Black walnut is often used for the construction of furniture, cabinetry, flooring, and other decorative elements within a home.

Black walnut can also be used for exterior applications, although it may not be the best choice in all cases due to its tendency to darken and change colour over time when exposed to sunlight. It is more commonly used for exterior applications in areas that are protected from direct sunlight, such as in the construction of decks, fences, and other outdoor structures. In general, black walnut is more suited to interior use due to its high cost and relatively low durability when exposed to the elements.

Is black walnut timber used in construction?

Yes, American black walnut (Juglans nigra) is often used in construction for a variety of purposes. Its hard, dense wood makes it suitable for use in structural applications, such as in the construction of beams, joists, and other framing elements. Black walnut is also used in the manufacture of doors, windows, and other architectural components.

In addition to its structural and architectural uses, black walnut is also used in the construction of decorative elements such as mouldings, trim, and other finishing touches. Its attractive colour and grain pattern make it a popular choice for use in high-end residential and commercial construction projects.

It's worth noting that black walnut is relatively expensive compared to other types of wood, and as a result, it is not as commonly used in construction as some other types of wood. It is more commonly used in smaller applications or as a decorative element rather than as a primary structural material.

Black Walnut Horizontal wood panelling:

Black Walnut Horizontal wood panelling

Home d├ęcor has seen major growth in 2022 and this is set to continue in 2023. During the global pandemic, UK homeowners had time to improve and develop the interiors on there own homes, and now with the increased cost of living, wood panelling is seen as a simple but great way to improve the living space of any home, with the expense of moving to a new property.

The above image shows a stylish modern living room with a feature wall that has been clad in horizontal black walnut panelling. The addition of the timber adds a level of class and sophistication to any room. Black walnut is a great timber to use for panelling due to is classing and descendant finish.

The room in question also has a polished black walnut hardwood floor, the combination between the two finishes of the same timber makes the room feel fresh and alive. While black walnut is not cheap, the question is, why would you want to use a cheap wood when you can receive results like above.

Wood panelling on internal walls is a game changer for interior design in 2023 and black walnut is the perfect timber to use.

Is black walnut a good wood for kitchens?

Black walnut can be a good choice for use in a kitchen for a number of reasons. It is a hard, dense wood that is resistant to wear and damage, making it well-suited for use in high-traffic areas such as kitchens. The attractive colour and grain pattern of black walnut also make it a popular choice for use in kitchen cabinetry and countertops.

There are a few potential drawbacks to using black walnut in a kitchen. One is that it is relatively expensive compared to other types of wood, which can make it more difficult to justify using it for large projects such as kitchen cabinetry. Additionally, black walnut can be prone to staining and discoloration over time when exposed to liquids and other substances that are commonly found in a kitchen. It is important to properly seal and finish black walnut to protect it from spills and other types of damage.

Is walnut a good timber for making kitchen tables?

black walnut kitchen tables

Yes, American black walnut (Juglans nigra) can be a good choice for use in the construction of kitchen tables. It is a hard, dense wood that is resistant to wear and damage, making it well-suited for use in high-traffic areas such as kitchens. The attractive colour and grain pattern of black walnut also make it a popular choice for use in furniture, and it can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to a kitchen.

There are a few potential drawbacks to using black walnut for a kitchen table. One is that it is relatively expensive compared to other types of wood, which can make it more difficult to justify using it for large projects such as kitchen tables. Additionally, black walnut can be prone to staining and discoloration over time when exposed to liquids and other substances that are commonly found in a kitchen. It is important to properly seal and finish black walnut to protect it from spills and other types of damage.

What stain is best for black walnut?

There are many different stains that can be used on black walnut, and the best one for your project will depend on the desired colour and finish. Some popular options for staining black walnut include:

Dark stains: Black walnut can be stained with very dark colours to create a dramatic, high-contrast look. Dark stains such as ebony or coffee can be used to enhance the natural colour of the wood and create a bold, modern look.

Natural stains: If you want to highlight the natural colour and grain of the black walnut, you can use a natural stain that allows the wood's natural beauty to shine through. Natural stains come in a range of colours, from light to medium to dark, and can be used to create a variety of different looks.

Transparent stains: Transparent stains allow the natural colour and grain of the wood to show through, while adding a hint of colour and a protective finish. Transparent stains come in a range of colours, from light to medium to dark, and are a good choice for projects where you want to preserve the natural look of the wood.

It's worth noting that the final colour of the stained wood will depend on a number of factors, including the type of wood, the type of stain, and the application technique. It is always a good idea to test the stain on a small, inconspicuous area of the wood before applying it to the entire project.

Handcrafted 3D Walnut Chess Board:

Walnut is know has as a hard and dense timber, but when worked correctly it is a wonderful timber for wood turning, an example of this s a beautiful hand crafted 3d chess boards, designed and made by our sister site Wooduchoose.

Chess is regarded as one of the ultimate games of strategy and with this chess board each 'square' is individually crafted from a piece of black walnut and maple. The game playing surface, or battle ground, can be completely designed by the players making it a totally unique 3d experience.

The individual chess pieces have been bespoke designed to match the scale of the 3d chess board. The natural fish of walnut makes this chessboard feel quality and luxury.

Buy the Handcrafted 3D Style Chess Set in Black Walnut

Black Walnut Facts

Black Walnut - Tree Details
Black Walnut (American) tree image Typical Tree Height:
21-27m

Where It Grows:
Canada, USA,
Material Type: Hardwood
Durability: Non Durable
Weight: 640 kg/m3
Colour: Black/Very Dark Brown
Moisture Content: 8-12% KD

what timbers are similar to black walnut?

Some woods that are similar to American black walnut in terms of colour and grain pattern include:


  • Cherry (Prunus serotina)
  • Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni)
  • Red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Other woods that are similar in terms of their density and strength include:


  • Hard maple (Acer saccharum)
  • White oak (Quercus alba)
  • American hickory (Carya ovata)

It's worth noting that no two pieces of wood are exactly alike, and the specific characteristics of a given piece of wood can vary significantly based on factors such as the tree's age, location, and growing conditions.

Similar Colour Hardwood's to Black Walnut

Wenge Ekki Zebrano
Wenge Ekki Zebrano

There area few hardwood timbers that are similar in colour to Black Walnut and include Wenge, Ekki and Zebrano. None of these timbers are as readily available as walnut. For more information on timber colours we recommend you visit the wood database where you can filter timbers by colour, size, age and many more features.

Buy American Black Walnut Wood Today:

To buy American Black Walnut wood planks or planed timber, cut to size, please use the link below to view instant prices.


Black Walnut Planed Timber American Black Walnut Sawn Wood
Black Walnut Black Walnut sawn timber

Published: 15/02/2023


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