Timberpedia - Black Walnut
|Latin Name:||Irish Name:||Native to Ireland?|
About the Tree
Black Walnuts occur in moderate numbers nearly everywhere in the U.S. east of the Great Plains,
except for New England and south Florida. They grow to 90 feet in height with long, straight trunks
up to a yard in diameter; the black or dark gray bark is deeply marked with furrows and ridges that
take on a blocky appearance in mature trees. Each compound leaf–up to 18″ in length–is
composed of 11-23 finely serrated, yellowish-green, aromatic leaflets that are smooth on top and
very slightly fuzzy beneath. (The photo is of an immature leaf from a young seedling.) Black Walnut
trees often stand alone in the forest–with no understory trees or shrubs beneath them–possibly
because their roots and dead leaves produce juglone, a toxic chemical that can kill other vegetation.
About the Wood
Used for gun stocks.
It finishes to a velvety sheen but does require filling due to the open grain. The wood stains
Black walnut is the foremost American wood for cabinet work. It is superior to all other woods for
gun stocks because it keeps its shape, is light weight, and absorbs recoil the best of all woods.
Black walnut is used much as fine figured veneers and cabinets, furniture, turnings and mouldings.
The timber works with ease in all hand and machine tool processes. It is excellent for turnery,
spindle moulding, routing and carving. Drilling, mortising and similar operations cause no problems.
It shows very little tendency to split in nailing or screwing.
Black Walnut is one of the most prized–and most expensive–woods in North America, so much so
that roving bands of walnut rustlers have been known to cut down and steal mature walnut trees
from public land; some thieves go so far as to use large helicopters to airlift their loot after dark.
Walnut logs are sold to sawmills, and the hard, finely grained wood is turned into furniture,
gunstocks, veneer, bowls, carvings, and other objets d’art.
Know your wood! The Timberpedia is a broad resource that aims to catalogue all the major tree species in Ireland, containing information that we’ve gathered from over two decades maintaining our natural woodland and serving Ireland’s woodworking industry.
All written material is copyright © 2021 by the Lisnavagh Timber Project.