Six Tips for Woodworking with Walnut

Understated beauty, durability and versatility—for all these reasons and more, once wildly popular walnut is making a comeback in the world of interior design and woodworking, and we couldn’t be happier. Walnut is a great wood to work with and has been known for both its beauty and adaptability.

While walnut is very easy to work with, every domestic hardwood has its own unique features and requires specific techniques to garner the best results. Walnut is no exception. If you’re new to woodworking with walnut or are just looking to perfect your skills when working with walnut, here are a few expert tips from Forest Products Associates, your local lumber store in Franklin County, MA:

  • Black walnut equals durability: While all walnut varieties are pretty high on the durability scale, black walnut is the most durable of the bunch. For projects that may take a beating with daily or hard use, black walnut should be your walnut of choice.
  • Glue works well on walnut: Not all woods handle glue well, but walnut is not one of those woods. If glue is necessary for your project, you will find that walnut adheres very well with the proper wood glue. Just be sure to clean up any runoff immediately. Glue that is left on the surface of your project will appear as a dark, coffee-like stain once the project is sealed and finished.
  • Don’t use steamed walnut: Most mills steam walnut before drying it to darken the sapwood and create a more uniform color palette, but what you actually end up with is a dull grayish color. To get the beautiful tones walnut is known for, be sure that you are getting walnut that has not been steamed prior to drying.
  • Steam bending works well with walnut: While steaming for coloring is bad, steam bending is perfectly safe with walnut. If you need a wood that is sturdy but can also be flexible for your woodworking needs, walnut is a good choice. Walnut responds very well to steam bending. By using steam, you can bend walnut at will without losing its integrity.
  • Hand sanding works best: Walnut, although easy to work with, can be difficult to finish. To help bring out the amazing grain patterns in walnut, hand sanding works best. Simply use finer grits of sandpaper as you go along to get a smooth finish that showcases the beautiful grain patterns walnut is known for.
  • Use shellac when finishing your project: Shellac makes an excellent base for other finishes, such as a gel stain or a glaze, when working with walnut. Shellac can also be mixed with colorants to lighten a darker walnut if you wish.

Walnut is a beautiful and versatile wood to work with and you will find a wide variety of walnut lumber to choose from at Forest Products Associates, your local lumber store in Franklin County, MA. To check out our selection or for more expert woodworking tips like these, stop by and pay us a visit today!