Species Spotlight: American Black Walnut Filling Dark Color Trend

Posted: 05/03/2013 10:48AM


In this issue’s Species Spotlight, Timber Products veneer specialist Eric Cullen shares his insight on American Black Walnut.

American Black Walnut (juglans nigra) is a species that has been around for generations and one of the most familiar woods used in fine cabinets. With its dark, fine grains, American Black Walnut exudes a luxurious feeling desired by many homeowners. And here’s a fun fact: American Black Walnut nuts are shelled for commercial use in ice cream, baked goods and confections. Here’s more on the species:

Appearance: The heartwood of American Black Walnut is a rich, dark color. Its luxurious feel adds to its appeal and the veneer is one of the richest that we deal with at Timber Products Company. Available plain sliced and quartered veneers.

Uses: One of the more common uses is for gunstocks, but we’re seeing American Black Walnut used more in kitchen cabinets, high-end RVs, and in craftsman/artisan U.S. made furniture again.

Characteristics: Black walnut is highly prized for its dark-colored and true heartwood. It is heavy and strong, yet easily split and worked. The veneers provide a high-end feel and luxurious appearance.  

Current Trends: Dark colors are becoming popular again in the marketplace. American Black Walnut has never gone completely away, but we’re seeing orders for large quantities. A typical order is around 60 panels or so, but lately we’ve seen 1,000-panel orders coming in regularly. We think the reason is that bigger jobs are rediscovering the beauty of American Black Walnut. A large hotel recently used the species as its anchor wood in guest rooms and conference rooms.   

Another trend we are seeing is interest in a heart-sapwood mix in the plank match. This gives kitchen cabinets unusual looks at affordable price points.



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