American black walnut is a medium to large hardwood, native to the eastern regions of North America. Its heartwood ranges from a golden to rich chocolate brown colour, sometimes with narrow streaks of a darker purplish-brown. Sapwood is a distinctive creamy white colour. American black walnut is a fine and generally straight-grained timber, although sometimes it has an attractive wavy or curly grain, giving it a highly decorative figure.
By virtue of its appearance, durability and ready workability – being only moderately hard – American black walnut is an excellent cabinetmaking timber. It performs well with both machine and hand tools and can be polished to a high finish. It is also an excellent timber for carving and turning and is suitable for steam bending. It glues satisfactorily if conditions are carefully controlled. It is suited to high-end cabinetwork, and is a timber of choice for gunstocks. Other applications include general furniture and joinery work.
In Australia, commercial availability of American black walnut timber products is generally limited to the upper grades, in which knots and sapwood commonly occur. It is most readily available in Australia as a veneer.