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Why not walnut?

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Mike Davis

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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...
 

Salem Straub

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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.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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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.

M
 

apicius9

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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.

Stefan
 

Mike Davis

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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.
 

tk59

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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.
 

mr drinky

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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.

k.
 

Eamon Burke

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

WillC

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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.:D
 

RRLOVER

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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.
If it's the one I made for the heiji I was not happy with the finish either.I don't think tru oil will work on stabilized walnut very well,and I have a couple of beautiful blocks that I have not used yet just for that reason.
 

tk59

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If it's the one I made for the heiji I was not happy with the finish either.I don't think tru oil will work on stabilized walnut very well,and I have a couple of beautiful blocks that I have not used yet just for that reason.
Yup. That's the one. I tweaked the profile on the edge side of that knife. I think it was a little too curved in one spot. Now, it's more gentle. I'll have to post a pic sometime once I get the secondary bevels looking really pretty again, either by blending, like you did or re-establishing the kasumi-type finish.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Walnut burl is quite nice and is probably the most useful for handles, where you need a dense figure in a small area. I have made sayas out of walnut burl and the stuff is great (and very dense too you barely see any pores). However, for kitchen knives handles, you want it stabilized and that is when you might have to put up with some dullness.

Walnut is a fantastic wood, one of my favorites. I have my desk made out of walnut as well as some other office furniture. There are more application for walnut than cutting boards. :)

M
 

mr drinky

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Walnut is a fantastic wood, one of my favorites. I have my desk made out of walnut as well as some other office furniture. There are more application for walnut than cutting boards. :)

M

That is so true (despite my earlier comment). My dining room table is made out of black walnut and I love it.

k.

table.jpg
 

Lefty

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Black walnut is gorgeous! My mom's old house had a 100+ year old Black Walnut tree and I almost begged her to let me cut it down. I wonder how many thousands of dollars that thing was worth. In retrospect, I'm glad it's still serving as a house for countless squirrels and chipmunks. It was a damn nice tree!
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Black walnut is gorgeous! My mom's old house had a 100+ year old Black Walnut tree and I almost begged her to let me cut it down. I wonder how many thousands of dollars that thing was worth. In retrospect, I'm glad it's still serving as a house for countless squirrels and chipmunks. It was a damn nice tree!
Cutting down, getting to mill, resaw, kiln dry, etc - you need to do this first. Then you will get tons of great walnut boards. :)

@Drinky - love your table.

M
 

Lefty

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True enough, Marko. Lots of work, but it would be worth it in the end.
K, that table is legendary.
 

HHH Knives

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I love walnut, It makes a KILLER looking tables, or heck, whatever!! I have seen some of the finest pieces of furniture and boxes and cabinets etc..etc. :)

That said, I have had the same issues with it as a knife handle. Natural or stabilized its a bugger to get that highly finished, figure popping looks we love so much.. So I often steer away from it, Unless its something extra special!! Like flaming crotch figure or WILD figured burl. Just takes alot of time and work to really get it looking awesome! But its worth it!! IMO.

Cool thread :D

I just finished a knife with a walnut burl handle It was "stabilized". This piece sucked up the true oil like a sponge. :) But after 4 soaks in true oil and 3 more applications of tung oil. and 2 coats of hard wax. It shines OK.. lol Guess its just one of them woods you have to work a little extra to get it to POP!
 

Mike Davis

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I agree...Plenty of extra work involved, but a few pieces i have seen have just been absolutely outstanding. When it is right...you just know it :)
 

jmforge

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Mike, as you probably know, I love walnut, but it does require a few extra steps in the finishing process to really get it looking its best. In my experience, you can't sand it fine and buff it until it screams like you can do with stabilized woods or oily woods like blackwood or rosewood nor can you just pummel it with boiled linseed oil until it won't slurp up no' mo' like curly maple. I skipped the whole TruOil bit and went straight from boiled linseed oil to an all in one London style stock finishing kit from Brownells that has 4 different bottles of goop in it. That way I don't have to worry about buying filler or polishing aids like rottenstone. All you need is a box of t-shirt material rags from HD. You really need to fill the pores and wet polish between your base coats of oil to get the stuff to pop. With that said, your are still going to get that "soft" looking sheen to the finish.....unless, of course, you go with something really nasty like poly.:lol2: Lots of rubbing involved, but the good news is that it is only a small knife handle and not a big azz rifle stock. One of those will take you a week or two to do right.
 

bcrano

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As a woodworking hobbyist, I think it's a great choice. As for it not polishing, I think those having trouble may just want to change what they're polishing with. Or maybe just want to invest more time in polishing than say ironwood would warrant. But yeah I say go for it it's some of the most beautiful wood you can find.
 

RRLOVER

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I gave walnut another shot on my last handle,with the extra steps it turned out a lot better then my first attempt.
 

RRLOVER

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Lets see it!!!
That's funny:lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lol2::lo

I don't want to get banned!
 
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