American Black Walnut is a true American gem in the lumber world. This tree is prized for its deep chocolate brown color and unique variations in pattern. Useful for furniture building and interior wood working, this beautiful wood adds charm to any project. Historically exported from America to Britain, this wood gained popularity because it is so different, and, back then, easy to obtain. As the years progressed, Walnut lumber was called for more and more, leading to a decrease in the amount available today.
J. Gibson McIlvain is an exotic and domestic hardwood lumber supplier that proudly offers a full stock of this increasingly rare gem. Their Walnut Lumber comes from the Ohio River Valley where J. Gibson McIlvain representatives are closely involved in the selection and production process. McIlvain ensures top quality lumber through environmentally friendly practices.
Why so different?
From Walnut tree to Walnut lumber, McIlvain has a hand in it all. Not the least of which is the board selection for each custom order. This is done by trained experts following the National Hardwood Lumber Association standards. Each board is rated on the FAS grading system which dictates that the board is a certain width and length while having a certain number of allowed natural characteristics or defects.
Most lumber, such as Cherry or Mahogany, has a minimum board measurement of 6” by 8’, where Walnut Lumber allows for a smaller dimension. A Walnut board may be 5” by 6’ or 7’ because of its unique properties.
Included in these cuts is more sapwood than normal as well as more wane, the curved portion of a board due to the circular nature of the log it was cut from, because of the smaller nature of the Walnut tree. Walnut Lumber is known for its deep chocolate brown color which, over time, mellows to a mature wood that blends well with other pieces. This is not to say that Walnut will not make a statement, as each piece will be unique because of the natural characteristics.
The Bottom Line
All of these specifications may lend an appearance of lesser quality only when stacked against its competitors. But Walnut lumber is in a class all its own, allowing the top quality wood less uniformity and more personality. Its unique properties are exactly what make Walnut lumber perfect for furniture and interior wood work statements. Many of the most prized antiques on the market are made with Walnut lumber.
Popularity, unique specifications, and increasing scarcity have driven the price of Walnut lumber above that of more exotic hardwoods, but J. Gibson McIlvain endeavors to produce this wood at its finest quality so that the traditions for which Walnut lumber are prized can continue into the future.