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Common Alabama Urban Wood Species: Walnut

Common Alabama Urban Wood Species: Walnut

January 08, 2022

Benefits, Uses, and Fun Facts about Walnut

Black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) is one of the most common species of the walnut family in the United States. Found throughout Alabama (but more in the North), black walnut is particularly common in rich hardwood forests, in ravines, and along rivers and streams. This is a medium to large tree that can grow up to 120 ft. 

You can recognize this wood by chocolate-brown color. Although the color is consistent, it may have creamy white streaks and it may have large swaths of sapwood along the live edge. Walnut wood has a fine, “closed” grain, but in some cases—in our case hopefully—it may have irregular patterns with curves and swirls.Walnut is in mid-range of hardness and has a lightweight feel compared to other types of wood. Walnut tends to be dimensionally stable and resists warping and twisting to an extent. As with all urban wood, the more unique the grain, the more likely the challenge in taming the wood beast. Walnut is durable to rot and decay.

Benefits of walnut:

  • Durability
  • High resistance to wear and tear
  • Stains and polishes well
  • Has attractive wood grain 
  • Versatility 

Common uses in the home for walnut:

  • Bathroom or Kitchen cabinets
  • Magazine pockets
  • Mirror or picture frames
  • Stools or small benches
  • Towel holders
  • Flooring
  • Doors and window panes
  • Knobs and handles
  • fine furniture
  • Wood paneling
  • turned or carved items
  • cutting boards

Walnut wood fun facts:

  • Black walnut is monoecious, i.e., it has separate male and female flowers on the same tree and can pollinate itself 
  • Black walnut is the only dark wood native to North America
  • Only the center of the tree has deep hues, and it's called heartwood
  • Unlike other types of, mostly, wood that tend to darken over time, walnut tends to become lighter in color, and several factors play a role here, including sun exposure.