how do YOU work with walnut?


tcarswell
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I cut out every bit of sapwood and pin knots on every project from beer caddies to hall tables. Do you guys allow some knots or sapwood in your walnut projects? I lose maybe 35 percent to 50 percent on waste . That's  a lot for such an expensive wood. How so you guys work with walnut on your projects? 

Edited by tcarswell
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For furniture pieces, I work around sapwood whenever possible.  Sometimes it's not possible so I understate it as much as I can. Pin holes get filled with epoxy/walnut dust.

I don't mind using parts of walnut with some sap wood for cutting boards and stuff  so I save those parts in a 5 gal bucket that I pull pieces out of when needed. 

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Walnut is defect-riddled for the reasons we've already beat to death.  I buy one board for every few hundred I see.  It's a luxury that most people don't have, but it's what I can do because I spend my weekends at the yard.  I get first pick of the new shipments, and when I run across a super-clear and beautiful board, I buy it.  Most stacks of walnut are half usable and half trash...even FAS.

 

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Totally depends on the project.  I have no issue filling a knot and using if it doesn't detract from the piece.  Pretty much the same with sap wood, my rocking chair that I just finished is a prime example..  There is definitely some sap wood in that that I did pay attention to and try to place strategically.

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I love walnut. Depends on the project, but if the knot is tight I use it, if lose I and I can fix it with epoxy, I do that. I think the knots and the grain around them add character to the finished piece. I try to plan out the glue up to make the best use of sap wood.  Walnut is expensive, so I try to use as much as I can. The scrap,can make for nice pen bodies. 

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Like Steve, I hand select most of my wood. There have been times (and stil are) when I don't. If I see a good price for several hundred bf of a particular species that is priced at straight thru then I roll the dice. A year ago I bought 1000 bf of eastern white pine for $300.00. At .30 cents bf even if half of it is junk it is still a good price. 

Back to the original question, how do you work with Walnut? Answer; with a dust mask and gloves. Even small amounts of Walnut dust ingested can be extremely dangerous. 

 

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OK, maybe a more serious answer...

 

First things first, I don't purchase steamed -- the cure is worse than the disease...

Second, I work with hardwood dealer that regularly carries walnut -- and I plan ahead... I don't try to get some Walnut at the start of a project, but six months before the project -- so I can leaf through the piles and have the time to be very picky...

Third, I call ahead to check inventory -- I only go for a new delivery that hasn't been picked-over.

Fourth, If I pick-over a stack, I return it to it's stating position -- I don't leave the stacks in a mess..

Fifth, if I know I need 100bf in the next six months, I ask my wood guy to keep an eye on the next few deliveries and put aside a board or two. He won't pick-over a stack for me, nor should he -- I'm not his only customer... But a board here and there is OK. And I don't haggle on price for the better boards. There's got to be some give and take... If I want the best boards, I should have to pay for them...

Last ---- have airbrush, will travel... I've gotten pretty good with an airbrush over the years... Hides a great deal of sin...

 

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Airbrush -- the secret sap suppressor... :)

 

 

No sh*t, just tint the sap -- feather it right it... I use a Walnut alcohol dye in a standard airbrush... Learned the technique from CN... Once you topcoat it, it's very hard to see... The better you get feathering with an airbrush, the better the results...

The cost of entry is low, so give it a whirl...

Just remember that 'the nuts' lighten over time, so tint a bit lighter in tone...

 

 

Edited by hhh
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Airbrush -- the secret sap suppressor... :)

 

 

No sh*t, just tint the sap -- feather it right it... I use a Walnut alcohol dye in a standard airbrush... Learned the technique from CN... Once you topcoat it, it's very hard to see... The better you get feathering with an airbrush, the better the results...

The cost of entry is low, so give it a whirl...

Just remember that 'the nuts' lighten over time, so tint a bit lighter in tone...

 

 

Wow so an actual airbrush - very cool, I wouldn't ever think to try that. 

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For me it depends on the project.  In some cases I like the contrast of some sap wood and even some pin knots.  I even intentionally pick pieces with "interesting" grain and a pattern of sap wood in the piece.  Book matched pieces can look really great with matching sap wood patterns of each side or the work.

For other projects blemish free with no sap wood is the way to go.  It just depends.

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The acetone based dyes are a bit better in my opinion.,same application mostly. I use a mini spray gun that's good for toning and touch up work as well as glazing etc.  So it's not really a airbrush but it does the job.

Acetone is the new favorite of the EPA. It doesn't affect the ozone layer and it breaks down into something that isn't as harmful as most of the other solvents.

Yes it's still flammable but it doesn't smell as objectionable as Laquer thinner.

One of the tricks I learned was to cut the dye 50% or more and sneak up on the color & depth you want. I cut the liquid flow way back and use multiple light coats to arrive at the desired color. Walnut does get a bit lighter as it gets older.

Cherry gets darker.

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Here is a top I made out of walnut.   I used the sapwood to help disguise the glue lines.   I used tinted epoxy to stabilize some pin knots.  To this day it is one of my favorite projects.  The sapwood is absolutely pearlescent with just a little BLO and amber shellac.   If you can't deal with sapwood and some defects then no soup for you.   Find another species :)   image.thumb.jpg.ff4b31ca6c6317d3ee57c741

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Here is another top I made incorporating sapwood.  it is all straight grain (just a little cathedral toward one side) and personally I think it would be boring as buttered noodles without the sap.  I also like to place the sap off center.  to me a streak of sap 1/3rd or so into a piece created a nice balanced look.   my tastes are more modern though.   if you like flawless wood or do reproductions, mahogany or one of the African species is probably better for you.  

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