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Thread: greenish tint in black walnut?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Grew up here in south Ms...the "Pinebelt"
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    42

    Exclamation greenish tint in black walnut?

    This evening a friend dropped by to give me some 8/4 black walnut he salvaged from his farm after a hurricane some 12 years ago. He recalls having a friend of his bring over a portable sawmill and stacking it with stickers in his barn.
    After giving it a good going over with a wire brush I eagerly began planing it. As the roughness began to give way I noticed a tinge of green tint in a 3-4 inch area in the outside portion of the heartwood. The more I planed the more green appeared. I've planed a fair amount of walnut but can't recall seeing anything such as this.
    Can anyone offer info about what this is. While it is unique, not necessarily what I was looking for. This piece of 8/4 is about 5-6' long and maybe 8-10" wide. My first impression when I picked it up was, "UH-OH, this must have been in the loft and gotten too dry because it is awfully light for walnut." It doesn't appear to have ever been left in the weather although was really dirty.
    My best guesses: 1) Mineral stain from soil, 2) Improper drying 3) disease or fungus such as that which can cause maple to be spalted 4) It isn't really black walnut but rather Martian Walnut.
    Thanks in advance for any input. Hopefully I can get a picture of this posted, very strange looking.
    "Humility is a strange thing, once you think you have it, you have lost it"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ozarks
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    ken,
    air dried walnut takes on some different colors depending on where it was grown.
    here in the sticks greens and hues of purple are common, even some yellow on occasion.
    kiln dried walnut is usually steamed to even out the color, and while the color does look somewhat more consistent it is definitely muted.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Grew up here in south Ms...the "Pinebelt"
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    green walnut

    Thanks Todd. do you think the green may fade some overtime with exposure. I wonder if sunlight might help. I'm gonna have to get a pic posted... it' really uncanny how green this is. I'll admit I was a little worried it might be toxic when breathed... yeah a toxic green, that describes it.
    "Humility is a strange thing, once you think you have it, you have lost it"

  4. #4
    Like Tod said, Only I may add, that minerals in the soil can effect wood colors and Walnut's dark color seems to highlight any differences. Usually a more Purple cast is there and sometimes I have seen a "Rainbow" effect when light hits it right. Any Copper in your soil where it was grown?

  5. #5
    Ken...

    I agree with Tod. I recently milled 3 or 4 small walnut logs that were given to me. They came from the back of a residential property. There was a decided greenish hue to the boards, but as they dry that's disappearing.

    About 5 years ago I milled some walnut...also given to me from a residential back yard. That wood had some of the purple that Tod mentioned. That has also diminished with time. Those logs had embedded nails (ruined two sawmill bands on those little nasties), and the purple was prominent in the area of the embedded nails.

    I kind of like it. My approach is Mother Nature made it that way (okay, Mother Nature didn't put the nails there). Highlight it, don't hide it. Also agree with Tod about commercially kiln-dried wood...commercial kilns use steam in their kilns to control the ambient humidity so the boards dry evenly from the inside out. But this can have a neutralizing affect on the color. James Krenov has some interesting things to say about kiln-dried wood. My kiln is a dehumidification kiln, which doesn't have that affect. Some commercial kilns are going that way, but most are not...takes longer, profits take a hit.

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
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    Its really something to see when they steam the walnut they stack it without stickers and band it as tight as they can then steam it for about 72 hr then take it out and let set to cool when cool they re-stack it with stickers this time then kiln dry.

    This is all done so they can up the grade of the lumber because the dark bleeds into the sapwood and darkens it.

    Tod's right its real muted and takes the character out of the wood kind of blah to me. I get the air dried stuff when I can it a lot nicer.

    Jay

  7. #7
    I agree, Steamed wood is sory of "uniform" and Blah in color. I like Sap and discolor on my personal pieces. If I were selling, I would go with the uniform.... I make a color stain from Walnut hulls. I gather the hulls from walnuts in the fall, after they turn black, soak them a tay or so in Ammonia. the color is All Walnut. I tint the sap and lighter grain with the mixture, looks really natural. I also like the natural colors Walnut can provide. Over time it will fade to a mellow yellow (amber color)

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Unhappy my, my, my

    Men I am very sorry to have to say / admit this, but, after a night's sleep, walked in to my shop today turned on the light and it hit me... "That's not walnut you dummy", I says to myself, "That's Poplar!". I still can't believe I didn't figure it out last night but the guy shows up here at nearly 1130p with 8/4 x 6' alleged walnut and today still believes it is walnut. It is poplar. I kept telling myself last night that it was awfully light (as in weight and I didn't make that clear in my post) for walnut.
    The bright side, however, it is one pretty piece of poplar! lol lol lol!!
    I apologize again, pic forthcoming.
    "Humility is a strange thing, once you think you have it, you have lost it"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    So, we've learned something - when you plant black walnut on Mars a poplar tree springs up!

    Don't feel bad - wood identification from just the board can be very difficult, made even more so when you're given bad information. To this day I have a pile of maple sitting out back drying that I have no idea what it is, other than some sort of soft maple, and we (my coworker and I) had access to the tree itself (that fell in a storm at coworker's house). What's worse, said coworker is a SUNY ESF alumnus who still had his tree species book from one of his mandatory ESF classes!

  10. #10
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