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Thread: first time walnut user

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southern Louisiana
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    947

    first time walnut user

    i have to build an island out of walnut for my next job. i haven't used it before, what should i expect as far as machining it and are there any things i should know about it before i start cutting. it's from a lumber company so it should be dried correctly and it is already straightlined and thicknessed to 13/16".

    i will be building frames and raised panel doors and end panels for the island. nothing super fancy.

    thanks for any help or suggestions
    chris

  2. #2
    Bob Wiggins is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    140 miles west of tulsa
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    125
    Something you might keep in mind is some people are allergic to the dust of walnut and I'm sure there are other species too. As we may expect, the sanding operation tends to be the main culpret so good ventilation and possibly a respriator at that stage of the project may become important.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
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    688
    Hey Chris,
    I think you will like walnut. It machines beautifully. I would let it acclimatize in your shop for a week or two if you have the time.

    Only issue I have with walnut is the dramatic difference between the heartwood and the sapwood. Some woodworkers try to cut off all the sapwood and others try to work with it. When I want to use the sapwood, I put a yellow dye on all the wood, followed by a dark brown glaze, makes the sapwood a nice golden tobacco-like color.

    Walnut is fairly open pored, so you might want to use a grain filler after you have machined it - just depends on how you want it to look.

    If you have time, cut off some scrap and try filling/not filling and a couple of different finishes to find one that works for you.

    And the post above was right about some folks being sensitive to the dust. Walnut has a natural pesticide called juglan (sp?) in it. Just wear a good mask if you start sneezing or itching. Because of this chemical, lots of folks won't burn it or use scrap for mulch...

    And be sure to send us pics
    Last edited by Jesse Cloud; 03-07-2007 at 02:04 PM.
    Don't believe everything you think!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
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    4,992
    only one thing to add........it`s toxic to horses so don`t use the shavings in stalls.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southern Louisiana
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    947
    thanks a bunch guys. those are the answers i was looking for. appreciate the help. i will get pics for sure. this job is gonna be alot different than many cabinets around here. my friend who is building the house like to change things up a little. he's going for an eastlake type design for the kitchen cabs, the island will be mostly basic, made to look like a chest sitting on the floor, with base molding around all sides except for the main work side.

    thanks again
    chris

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,347
    Advice given is good.

    Add to Tod's note that the shavings cannot be used with horses, but I have people waiting for mine to use under plants. The shavings prevent seeds from germinating, so rose gardens love it... no rose seeds to worry about, and the weed seeds don't sprout. I use it under the bushes around my house. My Brother In Law is a physician, and uses walnut shavings for his kids play set... soft and no weeds. But don't use it as mulch in a regular garden... the seeds won't germinate, and the "poison" lasts about 5 years.

    It is my favorite wood to work with.

    Some walnut is "steamed" during the kiln drying. That lightens the heartwood a bit, but makes the almost white sapwood dark enough to use. Unfortunately I cannot get steamed walnut here, so occasionally I use a Q-tip to dye the sapwood brown. The streaks introduced by the Q-tip resemble the grain patterns.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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