Why not walnut?
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Thread: Why not walnut?

  1. #1

    Why not walnut?

    Is it maybe too common of a wood? I never see anyone use walnut, and i have seen walnut that either rivals or surpasses the best koa i have ever seen. Also, walnut is a naturally stable wood, and with stabilization, it is IMO one of the best woods out there. I suppose i got curious about this when i started making my stropping boards. I am using walnut, and am amazed at the curl and tones in the woods.
    This is a 4 foot board i am using for my strop(stolen form JohnnyChance's thread) and this i would consider a decent board.

    Maybe i am just too curious...

  2. #2
    I don't know why it's not more popular. I like working with it, and have used it here and there in the past. You're right, it can be amazing in figure and grain. Don Hanson III sells a bunch of black walnut occasionally over at BF, it seems to get snapped up pretty quick.

    It may just have to do with trends in custom knife materials. For a while it was all about stag, now it's all about ironwood and koa. Perhaps for a handle material to be really "hot" it has to be rare or endangered in some way. That's what I like about synthetics. People like 'em, they're more stable than wood, and they're not being harvested rapaciously.

  3. #3
    Walnut is great, but it doesn't polish to a high sheen, even when it is stabilized. I have made a number of handles in stabilized walnut and like it a lot, but would take ironwood over walnut for an exhibition grade handle.

    However, if you pick your own wood from a lumber yard and plan to make sayas for your knife, it is something to consider, as you get a perfect match on the set.


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  4. #4
    Das HandleMeister apicius9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Honolulu, HI
    I'm with Marko on that one. I like it but I have scratched my head a few times over ho to finish it to what I think it should look like. It seems to remain on the 'dull' side, at least with the tricks I have tried.


  5. #5
    Tru oil is the magic touch for walnut, i hear. I just keep soaking the stuff in tung oil several times(till it takes no more) and take it to a 2500 grit polish, then several sessions of hand buffing with paste wax. That seems to work out pretty well for me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I have a walnut handle on a knife. I've tried polishing it up a bit and it is okay. There is also a fibrous, bristly texture to it I can't seem to smooth out completely.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    mr drinky's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    St. Paul, MN
    I have a black walnut cutting board and really like it, but because I cut on it most days of the week, I have this idea in my head that it is a bit 'pedestrian' and not for knife handles. I guess it is just a prejudice I have learned because I have experienced this wood mainly as a cutting board.

    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  8. #8
    I love walnut. I dont like it shiny, especially on carbon blades.

  9. #9
    WillC's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    herefordshire uk
    I really love a nice bit of walnut, I've had some fairly fancy target stocks in walnut which i did the finishing on. I love the finish you can get it just takes time from my experience. A high grit finish and many many coats of CCl is what I use on it, little and often, twice a day, cutting it back each time for about a week, then once a day for about 2 weeks. Maybe thats what puts people off using it. Results are gorgeous though.

  10. #10

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