Wood Identification Problem (Western Walnut)

      Sawmillers discuss the differences among Eastern and Western varieties of Walnut (and Butternut). January 2, 2012

Hoping someone can help me identify this wood. I know it's a walnut of some kind. The faller said it's butternut but I haven't seen any butternut slabs with such dark heartwood in researching this. What do you think - black walnut, Claro or butternut?

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Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
Looks like black walnut to me. Good luck keeping the sapwood white if that is what you want to do. Mine always turns a light gray color, not to my liking.

From contributor E:
I have sawed black walnut that had that much sapwood. I found it to be some of the least stable black walnut I have ever worked with.

From contributor B:
Could be a Bastogne walnut, hybrid of California black and English. They usually develop a beautiful tiger stripe figure in the sapwood during the first few months of drying.

From contributor N:
Looks like the black walnut I have cut here in Oregon. From what I understand, "Claro" is the term used for the strain local to the west coast, and the east coast walnut is referred to simply as black walnut; then there are trees that are mixes. The Claro is generally much darker, almost to the point of having difficulty seeing growth lines at times; the eastern walnut is generally much lighter. I am unfamiliar with butternut. Either way the sapwood does gray out unless prepped and oiled quite quickly, and it is beautiful when done correctly; nobody I've talked with seems to like the gray look. Good luck with that wood - it looks nice in the photo.

From the original qustioner:
I think we are getting close here. The sapwood does have a large amount of curly figure that does not seem to be in the dark wood - sounds just like the description of Bastogne above. These are some very good looking slabs. Fingers crossed. Finishing with oil straight away after sanding. Is that the way around the grey out problem?

From contributor E:
You didn't mention where you are located. Here is a picture of some black walnut I got from along the Eno River in NC.

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From contributor V:
Butternut is a member of the Juglans family, same as Juglans nigra, which is black walnut. Butternut is labeled as "white walnut." It is much more of a reddish tan color, much like santos rosewood in comparison.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all the input. I am in Vancouver. Thanks for the further detail on the butternut. I am glad I posted this before I sold it as white walnut.

From contributor T:
I have cut and dried butternut. It looks a lot like walnut but is a lot lighter in weight. Also a lot softer, probably the same as poplar. Makes really nice furniture. I am in Ontario. Our butternut is in danger of extinction due to butternut canker. Too bad.

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