Sales of eastern black walnut [Juglans nigra] are as steady as ever, according to suppliers interviewed by Woodshop News, who say woodworkers of all skill levels appreciate the domestic’s rich color and workability for a variety of products.
“Walnut’s always one of our top movers, especially 2” thick stock as of late. We’ve seen a lot of that purchased for custom tables and bar top furniture, whether it be the live edge or plain sawn,” says Clint Dillon at Steve Wall Lumber, a retailer in Mayodan, N.C.
“It’s always been really popular because it’s got that natural chocolate color and it stands alone by itself as a domestic hardwood. You don’t have to stain it or anything and the grain on it is not very hard to work with.”
Myles Gilmer sells more claro or western walnut [Juglans hindsii] at his Gilmer Wood Co. in Portland, Ore.
“We still bring in eastern black although a couple of the mills that I do buy from it just seems to me that the grades are slipping somewhat; the wood tends to be sappy,” says Gilmer.
“I have a fair number of table slabs in the claro and they’re pretty popular. They’re not as expensive as some of the exotics you see like bubinga. It’s pretty popular for tables and mantle pieces, even for bathrooms and kitchen countertops,” says Gilmer.
Steamed walnut continues to sell well for Bruce Denslow of the Wood & Shop in Eolia, Mo.
“It’s still as popular as ever; we’ve always had pretty strong sales in it,” says Denslow. “We sell quite a variety of thicknesses for the home hobbyist, down to 1/8”, and the thinner stocks do tend to sell better for us than the thicker stock. Most home hobbyists are doing scroll saw work or laser cutting, that kind of thing,” says Denslow. “The walnut cuts well and of course it’s beautiful when it’s finished”
Black walnut (4/4) retails for about $6.25/bf, while claro walnut goes for $5 to $10/bf.
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue.