Black Walnut Sapwood and Heartwood

A few striking examples of the color contrast between Walnut heartwood and sapwood. August 8, 2008

Has anybody used black walnut sapwood for any projects? I have a fair amount of it and was thinking of using it for wainscoting and trim. What are the pros and cons?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
Everyone has. At the commercial places they steam walnut so the sapwood turns brown like the rest. I have used all white boards in the past and they work the same as the ones with brown. My problem is I cannot get the same amount of white down each side of the board.

From contributor J:
That is a terrible problem. Feel free to send all the boards that end up like that to me.

Here are a couple of bowls I recently turned from a book matched crotch section of black walnut. Customers like the contrast between the sapwood and heartwood.

Click here for full size image

From contributor B:
To contributor J: Beautiful bowls. How did you dry them?

From contributor J:
They are rough turned and they are currently air drying. In a few months they will be down to 10-12% mc and I will finish turn them. Walnut is very forgiving in the drying process.

I green turn bowls and use the shrinkage calculator on this site to figure out how thick to leave the bowls so that there is enough material to turn a round bowl out of the rough blank once it is dry.

I kept having the same problems as Contributor A, then I found out I was sawing the wrong end of the tree. What a dummy, I was sawing the stump ;)

Click here for full size image

From contributor J:
I had a friend who had a vat of the mixture mentioned above. I used it on a couple of pieces and it stained them and ruined the natural color of the wood. Your mileage may vary.