Check out our top product offerings for your next woodworking project.
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|Type:||Cutting Boards & Kits|
|Type:||Cutting Boards & Kits|
North Castle Hardwood
MORE ABOUT NORTH CASTLE
Our company owners have been providing the highest quality custom graded lumber to the Japanese furniture market for over 30 years.
Learn tips & techniques for working with hardwood lumber.
Have you tried woodworking with white ash lumber yet? Popular for wood turning and tool making, white ash pairs practical strength with understated good looks. When used in furniture making or architectural design, white ash’s brightness uplifts any interior environment. North Castle Hardwoods sells premium White Ash boards in 4/4 through 6/4 nominal thicknesses. Our white ash thin stock is great for crafts and scrollsaw work. And, since ash is a top choice for wood turning, we sell white ash turning blanks in 4/4 through 6/4 squares. What is White Ash Wood Good for? White Ash wood is lightweight but very strong. The board's internal structure takes impact without shattering, thanks to its structure produced by the quick growth of an ash tree. So it's frequently used for tool handles and sports equipment -- like canoe paddles, pool cues, hockey sticks, and the famous Louisville slugger baseball bat. Historically, it's been used for gym flooring, railroad ties, cutting boards, and other products that require strength and superior shock resistance. It's popular in furniture making because it can bear plenty of weight but it's not too heavy to lift. Ash has a straight grain, so it's great for the woodturning and steam bending involved in making Windsor chairs. Ash is best suited to interior applications since it doesn't have great weather resistance. The wood’s light color and beautiful grain pattern add brightness to projects that combine a variety of wood species. Some consider the color of ash wood plain, but when you buy top-grade ash sapwood and finish it skillfully with oil, it can be stunning on its own. Ash also takes stain well, so it can be finished to any color you desire. On this Page Learn about: This wood’s woodworking characteristics Tips for finishing white ash hardwood A list of favorite projects to kindle your creative fire Available dimensioned white ash lumber products from North Castle Hardwoods Our commitment to sustainable forestry – better lumber from better woods Terminology - White Ash vs Green Ash, Blue Ash, and Black Ash White ash (Fraxinus americana), is also called American white ash. Green ash (Fraxinum pennsylvanica), blue ash (Fraxinum quadrangulata), black ash (Fraxinus nigra) are often lumped together under the broad label of "Ash wood" and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other. However, since we harvest only from select regions, North Castle Hardwoods’ white ash lumber collection is entirely genuine fraxinus americana, and displays uniform color and grain pattern. White Ash Color and Grain Typical ash color is a light, pale brown. The sapwood is brighter than the heartwood, approaching brilliant white in top-quality logs. The sapwood comprises about 50% of the log. If you get ash from a big box lumber store, you might notice shades in the heartwood from grayish brown to creamy yellow, sometimes with a hint of light red or dark brown. But at North Castle Hardwoods, we strive to limit the heartwood to light beige and light brown, selecting boards specifically so that the heartwood and sapwood blend together well. White ash grain is straight and open. Ash boards may boast pronounced cathedral arch grain patterns. Because of this pattern -- as well as its hardness -- ash is most often compared to white oak and red oak. Ash is lighter than oak, though, and its grain pattern lacks the characteristic medullary rays and flecks found in oaks. Favorite White Ash Woodworking Projects Woodworkers reach for white ash when they need hard material with good resistance to shock. There is a reason it has historically been used for internal furniture frames and baseball bats! Ash works well with both hand tools and power tools -- as long as they're sharp. It's suitable for carving and wood turning. It bores well and can be steamed and bent with decent success. Sometimes it’s simply chosen for its beautifully delicate lighter colors that belie its strength. Furniture – Toughness and good looks make ash an ideal combination for benches and chairs, futon frames, bed frames and tables. Shelves and cases – Ash is firm enough to support a row of books or stack of dishes, and its gentle hues provide a lovely backdrop for displayed items like picture frames, keepsakes or antique teacups. Tables and tabletops – White ash is a durable choice for complete tables, and this wood’s unobtrusive tones and grain pattern beautifully complement more richly colored woods like walnut and black cherry. Musical instruments – This wood is easily machined and bored, and it holds glue with the best. It also has a good acoustical property that resonates well. Woodworkers use white ash in stringed instruments, woodwinds and drums. Its hardness delivers bright sound quality. Hand tools – You can restore vintage tools with new, durable handles made from ash. Boxes and game boards – Since this lumber glues and joins well, boxes and game boards of white ash thin stock and other favorite hardwood lumber make stunning additions to your home and are perfect for gift-giving. Turned objects – With good scores for turning ease, this hardwood is popular for candlesticks, ornaments, bowls, display stands, chess pieces, pens, salt & pepper shakers, toys and trinkets. Tip: White ash is not resistant to moisture, and it is a favorite of the emerald ash borer and other insects. Keep these “cons” in mind when selecting wood for your next creation. Store white ash lumber and items made of this wood in a dry environment to keep it from potential powderpost beetle attack. White or red oak have a similar appearance to ash, but are much more resistant to the elements. This makes oak is a better material for patio furniture and outdoor benches. Characteristics White ash, or Fraxinus americana, is a fairly dense wood with a Janka hardness rating of 1,320. As noted, it resists shock without shattering. While not as hard as hard maple, it is also less brittle, which makes it a good choice for items that will get their share of daily use. White ash grain appears very much like oak. However, it does not contain large wood rays as in the case of white oak. Glassworms White ash harvested in certain areas shows a pattern commonly called “glassworms”, a zigzag track across the growth rings and along the grain of the board. This pattern is regarded as an inherent characteristic of the wood and usually not considered a defect. Where can you get Ash wood without glassworms? At North Castle Hardwoods, by carefully avoiding harvesting in problem areas, we minimize or eliminate these marks from our lumber. Our premium white ash lumber developed for the demanding Japanese market has very stable grain figure without heavy glassworm tracks. Tips for Finishing White Ash Left to itself or clear-coated, white ash exhibits light bright color. Some love it, and others consider it a little bland. Using stains, dyes and your favorite sanding techniques, the grain of white ash can be made to pop, giving it a very different appearance. Another finishing technique is to apply wood grain filler to darken the pores to add rich depth. However you choose to finish it, ash hardwood lumber is something of a “clean slate” that you can customize to your preferred appearance. Where to Buy Hardwood White Ash Lumber North Castle Hardwoods offers dimensioned white ash stock in 4/4, 5/4, and 6/4 thicknesses. Our dimensioned stock is finished and sanded at 3/16” off the nominal thicknesses. We also offer thin stock and turning blanks. Sourcing Premium White Ash Boards The emerald ash borer has devastated ash in broad areas of timberland. White ash is not as susceptible as other ash species, but it remains on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. As a result, North Castle Hardwoods treats this threatened resource with the utmost respect. We work only with loggers and mills certified in sustainable forest management. Stands of white ash are never clear cut. Instead, the finest ash timber is select-harvested resulting in just a few trees per acre being harvested in many cases. The trees that are not cut will enjoy ample fresh air, sunlight and rain for optimal growth environment. Because of these management practices, the forests where we gather our hardwood generally show an increase in the volume of quality timber year after year, meeting our goal of better lumber from better forests. Preparing White Ash for our Woodworking Customers Standing timber is selected, felled and bucked. Imperfections like grub holes and wormholes are removed along with mineral streaks. Our sawmills are highly trained to saw hardwood lumber. We work closely with our partner mills in producing proprietary quality lumber to maximize the yield of the highest quality lumber. Boards are sticker stacked for a period of air drying. They are then placed in the kiln for a precise dry schedule to remove moisture before reconditioning to relieve internal stress. This assures that the lumber will stay flat and straight, and the wood dimensions will be stable. After the lumber comes out of the dry kiln, it is S2S (surfaced to sides) to the Hit or Miss thickness (1/16 less nominal thickness) and given a final grade at the mill. It is then transported to our warehouse for a final inspection. This attention to detail ensures that the lumber we ship to you meets your exacting standards – because it met ours first. About North Castle Hardwoods We are not your average lumber provider. For over 35 years, we have sourced and shipped the finest hardwood in North America to customers overseas that accept nothing but superior material. For example, top manufacturers in Japan use our lumber exclusively in fine furniture and architectural design. Whether you are a woodworking hobbyist or professional contractor completing custom work, we want to provide you with the best lumber you’ve ever laid hands on. Browse North Castle Hardwoods White Ash Lumber Take a few minutes to shop our lumber selection including our superior North American white ash.
Gifts for Woodworkers from North Castle Hardwoods Need a surefire gift idea for the woodworker in your life? In our opinion, the best idea is hiding in plain sight. Sure, you could shop for tools like a drill bit set, a heavy-duty utility square, or a miter saw. You could get your favorite artisan a shop apron, a hand planer, or a stocking stuffer like some carpenter's pencils. We hear that woodworkers never have enough clamps. Those are cool, too. But you want to know what will really make a woodworker's eyes light up like a kid's on Christmas morning? Wood. Wood of the caliber you get from North Castle Hardwoods, to be exact. We're talking top-grade hardwood boards, milled satiny smooth. Walnut, cherry, or maple -- selected for pure grain pattern and rich color from the finest timber that grows in North America. Our hardwood lumber is expertly kiln-dried and stress-relieved to ensure stability that holds up to the most detailed woodworking craftsmanship. This kind of wood makes the very best gift for woodworkers. Every craftsman dreams of getting their hands on blank canvas of this quality, so they can flex their skills and turn the treasure of the forest into a creation of their own. Get your woodworker a gift card from North Castle Hardwoods. Lumber Gift Cards from North Castle Hardwoods Purchase a gift card at this link. Gift Ideas for Novice Woodworkers Cutting boards are perfect for new woodworkers. All you need is glue and clamps -- though you do still need a lot of clamps. Our cutting board kits also work well for gourmet cooks and DIY cooks who cook everything from scratch. We also have premade cutting boards. Get those for mom. Or, you know, for yourself.
Plain Sawn vs. Rift and Quartered Oak: What's the Difference? There are three major ways that hardwood oak lumber is cut: plain sawn, rift sawn, and quarter sawn. Rift sawn and quarter sawn oak share many characteristics and are frequently sold together under a "rift and quartered oak" category. Plainsawn Oak Characteristics Plain sawing brings out the characteristic annual rings more visibly. Knots, if any, affect the surface appearance less than spike knots in quarter sawn lumber. (However, the spike knots in quarter sawn may appeal to some woodworkers as more “natural” in knot formation.) Plain sawn shrinks and expands less in thickness -- but more in width. Therefore it is less stable than RQ oak and the shrinkage/expansion in the plainsawn lumber must often be compensated in design. It is less costly to produce because it is easier to obtain. Quartered/Rift-sawn Oak Characteristics Hardwood rift and quartered oak lumber will shrink or swell in thickness when the humidity in the environment changes. (Plain sawn lumber, on the other hand, shrinks and swells in the direction of the width of the board.) Quarter/Rift-sawn lumber shrinks and swells less overall than plain sawn. This makes it the most dimensionally stable form of wood lumber. Musical instrument makers, for example, take full advantage of this property in making high quality instruments. It twists and cups less. It is less susceptible to checking and splitting during drying process. Quarter or rift sawn oak wood wears more evenly than plain sawn. Quarter/rift-sawn has characteristic figure due to pronounced rays. This gives quarter/rift-sawn oak the classic look that high caliber woodworkers have coveted for centuries. It is more liquid resistant. It does not allow liquids to pass into or through it so readily. This is one of the reasons why whisky distillers and wine makers use quartersawn white wood oak barrels to age beverages. It takes paint better. The sapwood appears at the edge of the board, and so the sap width can easily be edged off and eliminated. In contrast, plainsawn sapwood appear across the width of the board and is difficult to edge off. As you can see, Quarter/Rift-sawn oak has a lot to offer, not only in appearance but in function. Please glance through our quarter/rift-sawn oaks for your next woodworking project. Our Quartered/Rift Red Oak has the most excellent and uniform color available. We sustainably source our red oak from slow-growth forests, so our oak logs have more annual rings per inch. This produces a visually softer and more appealing texture. Add to this the unparalleled care we take in the drying process, and you have hardwood lumber that will make your next woodworking project stand above the competition.
Red Oak Lumber Overview - Hardwood Characteristics, Grain, Color Red oak has broad appeal for woodworkers. It is a top choice for beginners and pros. Novices have success with red oak because it is easy to work with. Good results can be attained with basic skills. Experienced woodworkers appreciate red oak for the beauty and variety of grain patterns and coloration it offers. Plus, there is almost nothing you can’t make with this ruddy, classically grained hardwood. If you’re looking for lumber with dark texture and robust grain patterns that are visually appealing, then consider red oak wood for your next project. Where to Buy Red Oak Lumber At North Castle Hardwoods, we only carry genuine northern red oak lumber (Quercus rubra) from the best select regions for this species. If you’re looking for lumber with consistent color and texture and robust grain patterns that are visually appealing, then consider red oak wood from North Castle Hardwoods for your next project. We offer northern red oak in both plainsawn and rift/quarter-sawn cut. As one of the pioneers of quarter-sawn lumber in North America, our focus in the last 35 years has been to utilize the abundant resource available here to produce world’s best quarter-sawn red and white oak. On this Page The discussion below covers red oak’s color and grain variety, woodworking characteristics, dimensional lumber options from North Castle Hardwoods and a list of project recommendations with do’s, don’ts and other tips for enjoying the best results. And you’ll discover why red oak from North Castle Hardwoods is the finest available today. Terminology Red oak is also called northern red oak, though it grows in the east and south too, and American red oak. You will also see it identified by its botanical name Quercus rubra. Red Oak Color and Grain The sapwood of red oak is off-white to buff or tan and typically up to two inches wide. Red oak heartwood, also called the duramen, gives this hardwood its name. The heartwood is light or medium brown with red and pink accents that may be quite vivid in expression or subtle and understated. Combined with the bold oak grain, the appearance is distinctively handsome. Favorite Red Oak Woodworking Projects This is a strong and durable wood with good resistance to shock. Coupled with the appealing appearance of nicely finished red oak, these qualities make it a good woodworking lumber for items you’ll use on a daily basis – or for those with purely decorative purposes. What’s on your list of woodworking projects? Because of its affordability, workability and durability, red oak is a lumber to consider for: Chests and boxes – Red oak’s strength and workability make it a top choice for projects that include joinery. Combined with its natural good looks, this reddish wood material is ideal for creations from small jewelry boxes to large hope chests. Cabinets and vanities – Red oak wood is dimensionally stable, so you can rely on it not to shrink and crack or warp on built-in installations. Lap desks – The uses for a lap desk are nearly endless. Our customers make gorgeous lap desks for their laptop and mouse, a favorite book or Kindle and a beverage, or to employ as TV trays. Everyone on your gift list will appreciate a beautifully constructed, highly functional red oak lap desk. Mantels – Finish your fireplace with a red oak wood mantel you design, build and finish; a place to display cherished family pictures, favorite collectibles, milestone mementos or decorative pieces to fit each season. Cutting boards – Red oak by itself or in combination with white oak or other favorite hardwoods produces splendid results. It has the durability to withstand daily use and the beauty to enhance your kitchen’s style. A red oak cutting board makes a memorable gift too. Game boards – Chess and checker boards, penny hockey boards…let your creativity loose with items in red oak alone or in combination with other popular woodworking woods like maple, walnut and cherry. Furniture – The lower cost of red oak compared with walnut or maple combined with its richly grained appearance make it popular for larger woodworking items like benches, chairs, dressers, tables, tabletops and countertops. Decorative pieces – Some of the loveliest picture frames, picture stands, ornaments, candle sticks and stands and carvings are produced in red oak. Characteristics Quercus rubra, or red oak, has a Janka hardness rating of 1,290, which puts it in the middle range of woodworking hardwoods. It is easy to work with while being quite strong. That’s a good balance, though it is not impervious to damage. When considering red oak woodworking projects, keep in mind that iron in some water will react with the tannic acid in red oak and cause bluish black staining. If you’re making something for the kitchen, be sure the wood is well sealed or oiled before putting it to practical use. And avoid contact with steel wool and cast iron. Tips for Finishing Red Oak Red oak lumber is easy to cut and turn with hand tools and power tools. Experienced woodworkers get good results from steaming and bending it too. The wood is quite porous, especially the early wood, aka earlywood, portions of the lumber. Here’s a word of caution: Staining red oak can result in uneven or blotchy color because of those large, open pores. One solution is to apply pore filler before staining the wood. Finishing red oak with this technique will create an even, smooth surface. Because of the wood’s porous nature, use a good amount of glue. Wipe off glue overrun before it can seep into pores outside the gluing area. And if you clamp red oak, use non-metal clamps to avoid the interaction of metal and tannic acid which can result in staining the wood. How North Castle Hardwoods Sources Red Oak All our woodworking lumber is sourced from sustainably managed forests that are select cut – never clear cut. This is done in partnership with local foresters and loggers who are certified in responsible forest management, and it results in North Castle Hardwoods being able to offer you the very best of the best red oak for your next woodworking creation. The forest wins too! This strategy protects timber as a valuable and renewable natural resource and allows developing forests to reach maturity. In fact, our eco-conscious process has resulted in the forests we use showing a net increase in the volume of standing timber present in them year after year even as we select-harvest this beautiful material. From the Woods to Our Woodworking Customers Once the finest timber in the forest is selected, logs are bucked and cleared of defects such as mineral streaks and grub holes. The logs are sawn using proprietary techniques before being edged, double-end trimmed, re-graded and stacked using stickers for air drying prior to entering the kiln. The North Castle Hardwoods Story For over 30 years, we have provided the highest quality solid American hardwoods to the most demanding markets overseas. For example, manufacturers in Japan use our premium red oak lumber to produce that nation’s finest furniture and architectural products – a testimony to the superiority of lumber from North Castle Hardwoods. We are now bringing our best resources to woodworking enthusiasts and professionals in America. Whether you are working on a personal project or you are a pro doing custom work, we want to provide you with the best lumber you’ve ever laid hands on. Shop for Red Oak from North Castle Hardwoods Browse our selection of the finest-quality red oak and other premium lumber chosen from the very best forests in North America.
Hard Maple Lumber Overview Woodworkers revere hard maple for its combination of lustrous beauty and durability. These features lend it to a diverse list of projects. This hardwood has been used for centuries in North America for fine furniture, flooring, and practical tools for daily use. Because of its hardness and strength, detailed below, hard maple wood is more difficult to work with than soft maple, black walnut, cherry and some other species. But these characteristics yield premium results to the experienced woodworker with appropriate tools and techniques. On This Page This page discusses the grain, density, color and workability of hard maple, popular uses, dimensioned hard maple sold here and technique tips for getting the best results with this premium lumber species. And you can learn more about the careful process North Castle Hardwoods uses to provide customers with the finest hard maple they’ve ever laid hands on. Terminology Hard maple is also called rock maple, or rock hard maple due to its hardness, and sugar maple because these are the trees most often tapped for “sugaring,” the making of maple syrup and sugar. A few call it sweet maple. The scientific name reflects the hard maple tree's use in sugar production – Acer saccharum. Hard Maple Color and Grain When you desire warm, light coloring with natural luster, hard maple lumber is the first choice of most woodworkers. This is especially true when you need it to be strong as well. While with most hardwood species, heartwood is the most desired part of the log. But with hard maple, the sapwood is of the greatest worth. You’ll find hard maple lumber with both heartwood and sapwood. However the percentage of sapwood content a factor used to determine different grades of hard maple. What is Hard White Maple? Hard maple lumber with heavy content of sap is called white hard maple. Straight grain white hard maple is the most select grade of this wood used to make piano actions and other types of musical instruments such as guitars and violins. The heartwood color is brown to gray, and is often used as paint grade in cabinetry and furniture. We all have been to sports gymnasiums or bowling alleys where white hard maple is used in high-grade flooring. Hard maple sapwood is usually a creamy white, at times almost paper white, but lovely buff, honey gold or very light reddish tones are sometimes present too. These hues become prettier as the wood ages – and are beautifully enhanced with the right finishing techniques and stains. Texture and Grain Patterns in Hard Maple Wood Hard maple lumber usually features fine, even grain that is quite straight. But figures can be present too including beautiful wavy or curly and quilted grain patterns. Lumber with these characteristics are used in guitars and violins. Birds-eye maple is character hard maple that gives bird’s eye appearance that is distinctive and desirable to many artisans. Did you know? “Character maple” is a term used to describe rock maple with significant knots, wormholes, gum pockets and mineral streaks. Favorite Hard Maple Woodworking Projects This classic American hardwood lumber lends itself to most any project. Historically, rock maple’s toughness has been proven by use in dance floors and bowling alleys – and bowling pins! Add its good looks to the mix, and some say you’ve got the “perfect” lumber. Furniture – Dressers, headboards, tabletops, chairs, stools, benches, chests and anything else on your project list will look great and deliver lifetime durability when constructed of hard maple. This wood rates among the highest for quality mortise work. Cabinets – Maple offers timeless beauty and the rugged sturdiness required of long-lasting cabinets and vanities. Musical instruments – This is a top choice for guitar necks and drums, especially snare drums, because it combines strength with stability and good sound quality. Butcher block – Whether made into a countertop or a cutting board, maple butcher block will stand the test of time. Kitchenware – Turn hard maple into any kitchen tool you need, such as rolling pins, wooden spoons, cutting boards, serving trays and knife blocks. Toys – Classic trains, cars and other wood toys are popular again. Maple gives them a toughness that lasts for generations. Turnings – Because it is highly rated for turning, hard maple makes gorgeous ornaments, candlesticks, spindles, bowls and more. Veneer – Maple lumber is sliced into veneer for many uses. Characteristics of Maple Wood With a Janka hardness rating of 1,450, rock maple is the hardest domestic hardwood available, significantly harder than the 1,360 of white oak and the 1,320 of white ash. Tips for Working with Hard Maple Because of its hardness, pilot holes are recommended for fasteners. It glues very well and is highly rated for mortise and tenon work. Hard maple is also about average for machining, since it can be slightly brittle and prone to chipping and tear-out. It cuts well with sharp tools, but because maple is so hard, it will dull them more quickly than most other species. This wood is known for nicely receiving stains and dyes, though you might find an extra coat is needed to achieve darker tones. Dimensioned Hard Maple from North Castle Hardwoods North Castle Hardwoods offers hard maple lumber in both thin stock and Sourcing North Castle Hardwoods Hard Maple The best hard maple source is all around our location. The forests where our lumber is harvested are responsibly managed and only select cut. Often only a few of the finest trees per acre are chosen, and the rest of the timber continues to mature, resulting in a higher volume of quality timber year after year. Our forest management strategy and the care we take with the wood once it is cut helps us achieve our goal of offering better lumber from better forests. Preparing Hard Maple for Woodworkers We have worked with our partner sawmills in proprietary cutting methods that maximize the amount of lumber in the very best grades. The process includes a period of air drying the wood before it is finished in a kiln. Boards are resurfaced and re-graded, and then stored in a climate-controlled environment to be in optimal condition when you receive them. Our Story For more than 30 years, North Castle Hardwoods has supplied premium hardwood to international manufacturers that have the highest standards. For example, our customers in Japan produce furniture and architectural components of exceptional quality from the excellent North American hardwood we supply. Now the same techniques and standards are being put into practice to provide you, whether you are a hobbyist or professional, with the finest lumber you’ve ever enjoyed using. Shop for Hard Maple Lumber We invite you to take a few minutes to browse our selection of hard maple, oak, walnut and other hardwoods for your upcoming projects.
Black Walnut Lumber: Color, Grain & Characteristics Black walnut for woodworking is a favorite wood species for many reasons. It is often called the King of the Hardwoods for its superior good looks and how easy it is to work with. Walnut Wood vs. Black Walnut What is the difference between walnut wood and black walnut lumber? North America is the only source of black walnut, while other countries may have walnut trees that are of different species. Most “walnut wood” that is sold in the United States is the black walnut species. Unique to North America, black walnut lumber is in very high demand throughout the world. However, unfortunately not all black walnut-producing regions are created equal. Depending on the region, color, texture and clarity can wildly differ. Some regions produce extremely fast-growing trees, which results in wide growth rings of 2~3 growth rings per inch, and therefore quite uninteresting grain patterns. Some regions produce trees that are full of bird pecks, large knots, and extensive pin-knots. Some come from farmland where metals are used for fences that get stapled onto walnut trees, therefore full of metal streaks and stain. Yet, other regions may have soil content that encourages heavy mineral streaks, reddish wood color. Where does walnut wood grow? At North Castle Hardwoods, we source black walnut timber and lumber only from the most exclusive regions that produce the best quality (least amount of defects) lumber, excellent color and texture and grain pattern that have become the trade-mark of our walnut lumber and dimension products. In addition, our walnut lumber is always steamed at an optimal condition to ensure the best possible color matching and sap wood stability. The wood exudes rich natural beauty with visually appealing patterns in its fine, open grain. The wood itself is warm to your skin. When you’ve skillfully finished this wood, black walnut’s splendor will be enhanced and preserved for generations to enjoy. What’s Here: This comprehensive page discusses this wood species’ appealing color and characteristics, available material dimensions and favorite black walnut woodworking projects from cutting boards and countertops to shelving and carvings. You’ll also learn how North Castle Hardwoods sources select black walnut from sustainably and responsively managed forests in North America. Terminology tip: When shopping for black walnut, you might see it called American black walnut, American walnut or Eastern black walnut. All these names refer to Juglans nigra – black walnut. Tips for finishing black walnut are included along the way that will help you achieve success in your woodworking. What Color is Walnut Wood? The heartwood of black walnut ranges in color from warm, medium brown to deep chocolate tones. North Castle Hardwoods’ black walnut provides you with an exciting combination of excellent color and texture and dimensional stability, which gives that warm and “luxurious look” that one would desire from this wood. Steaming is done in closely controlled teaming chamber for three days, which blends the sapwood and heartwood colors. This process not only gives the wood more uniform color, but conditions the wood for uniform final finish. Tips: Most woodworkers feel this lovely array of color is best displayed by using a transparent sealer or oil to finish this wood. However, depending on the finished look you want, staining steamed black walnut can yield gorgeous results as well. We suggest experimenting with a clear finish and stain options on sample pieces before deciding which approach gives you the appearance you prefer. If you choose to oil black walnut, beware that linseed oil and tung oil can turn the wood an unappealing gray as the oil ages. If used in kitchen items such as cutting boards or utensils, be sure to use food grade oil for food safety. Favorite Projects and Uses Woodworkers love black walnut for both its handsome rich and good looks and its wonderful workability. No wonder it is considered one of the best hardwoods for a variety of woodworking uses! Did you know? Black walnut is naturally resistant to moisture and rot. And studies reveal that wood is antibacterial, which cannot be said for stone and synthetic surfaces. These properties make walnut an ideal choice for the kitchen. Woodworking enthusiasts put black walnut to use in: Cutting boards and knife blocks – Splendid results are achieved when this wood is combined with the crafter’s creativity. Cutting boards are produced as simply as sanding and finishing a slab of black walnut and as intricately as creating a black walnut butcher block cutting boards. Designing your own knife block from black walnut can be equally satisfying. Countertops and tabletops – The visual richness and resilience of this premium material are exactly the attributes you want in countertops for the kitchen and bath or an elegant top for your coffee table or end table. Shelving – Strength and charm are necessary in wood for shelving, and this material offers both. It is popular for bookcase shelves and stand-alone shelves holding knickknacks or novelties and items you use every day anywhere in your home. Furniture – When you’d like to make a small piece that is both unique and hardy, consider this wood. It’s a wonderful option for a jewelry box, footstool, small cabinet, wall-mounted coat rack, a chessboard as well as all sizes of tabletops and benchtops. Carving – Black walnut is soft enough to carve with ease yet tough enough that whatever you create will have long-lasting durability. Favorite carved walnut items include trays of all kinds, dishes, bowls, candlesticks and decorative pieces fueled by your imagination. Gun stocks – Put your personal touch on a favorite shotgun or rifle with this shock-resistant and handsome wood. Black walnut crotch wood is widely coveted for its highly dense character, and every piece becomes one-of-a-kind art masterpiece. Musical instruments – Musial craftsmen have long known that walnut offers first-class sound qualities combined with the aesthetics necessary to create a masterpiece. Black walnut is most often used in stringed instruments and woodwinds. Characteristics of Walnut Wood Black walnut (Juglans nigra), is a premium hardwood with a Janka rating of 1,010 and excellent shock resistance. The density rating ranges from 0.5 to 0.7. This combination of qualities makes it a durable wood yet a pleasure to work with. By comparison, hard maple (aka rock or sugar maple) has a Janka rating of 1,450 and density of 0.6 to 0.75, so it can be more of a challenge for the woodworker when cutting and sanding the lumber, and its hardness actually makes it less durable because it doesn’t absorb shock as well. Tips for Finishing Walnut The wood, medium in texture, is a delight to work with using hand and power tools. Black walnut is easy to cut, and it sands nicely without requiring a lot of effort. An exception, as with most hardwood lumber, is that sections with uneven grain can be more difficult to cut and sand. Hand sanding with the grain is recommended for bringing out its splendor. This woodworking lumber accepts glue easily, so your projects will hold securely together. Whether you choose to stain the wood or simply apply a clear sealer, absorption of the material is quick and uniform for a superior finished product. Can you Buy Walnut Lumber Online? Yes! North Castle Hardwoods offers black walnut stock in 4/4, 5/4, 6/4 and 8/4 thicknesses. Each thickness is finish-surfaced and sanded with 100 grid sandpaper to +/- 1/64” precision, and straight line ripped with our glue-line precision rip saw on both edges. These dimension products are of high precision and excellent clarity. (see Dimension Product Quality Specifications) How We Source Black Walnut Responsible and sustainable forest management is critically important to us. Our hardwood logs are procured and harvested only by trained foresters and loggers to ensure that our forests are well taken care of, and only the mature timber is selectively harvested. Our company is family owned and operated. We have deep interests, vision and responsibility to pass down the work we have established to generations to follow. Hardwood lumber is a renewable natural resource, and when forests are managed well, it will provide us and our children with unending resource in the future. This gives us the opportunity to offer to you the finest hardwood lumber in North America with the understanding that our work in the woods has improved them rather than harmed them. That’s right – the forests from which we harvest our premium hardwoods show a net increase in timber volume year after year. That’s how we achieve our goal of providing better lumber from better forests. Selecting and Preparing Lumber Timber Harvesting Timber is selected with a trained eye, knowing which trees are mature enough to yield the best lumber for woodworking and which trees need to be left in the forest to enjoy further growth. Selective harvesting also opens up the air space for healthy competition for trees to grow, and soon smaller trees will mature for another round of harvesting, perhaps in another 15 years. In this way, the same forest can provide endless supply of mature timber for people to enjoy. Sawmilling Logs are responsively harvest from forests and brought to the sawmill. At the sawmill, they are carefully sawn into lumber one board at a time, into specified thickness by the sawyer; edges are squared off by the edgerman; both ends of each board are trimmed with the double edge saw; and the well manufactured green lumber is meticulously graded, sorted and piled. Kiln Drying However, the lumber cannot be used for woodworking until it is fully kiln dried and inspected. Freshly sawn lumber is then stacked on drying stickers (narrow strips of kiln dried hardwood squares) that are evenly spaced on each layer to provide controlled airflow, and be gently air-dried under roof. It is then loaded into the computer controlled dry kiln to be slowly dried to perfection. After the lumber is kiln dried and thoroughly stress relieved, it is taken off the stickers and surface before final inspection. Out from the thickness planer comes the most beautiful lumber for final inspection. Our Story – 35 Years of Excellence We are not your average lumber provider. For over 35 years, we have sourced and shipped the finest hardwood in North America to customers overseas that accept nothing but superior material. For example, top manufacturers in Japan use our lumber exclusively in fine furniture and architectural design. (See photos of finished products exclusively using our hardwood material.) We are now making this premium hardwood available to woodworkers here at home. Professionals and DIY enthusiasts appreciate getting their hands on the finest walnut, cherry, white oak, northern red oak, maple and other hardwoods they’ve ever used! Once in the kiln, our lumber is dried and reconditioned to remove moisture and internal stress. It is then surfaced, and receives a final grade to ensure only the most exceptional boards arrive at our Chicago-area warehouse. Shop Walnut from North Castle Hardwoods Shop our selection of premium lumber including the finest black walnut available in North America. Be sure to look at our custom grading page to learn more about how we sort and grade our high-quality wood products.
Cherry Lumber is a hardwood that’s perfect for many types of woodworking projects. No longer thought of as the “poor woodworker’s mahogany,” woodworkers now choose cherry for its own merits. It's a popular pick for furniture, cabinetry, small accessories and most other projects.
North Castle Hardwoods Grading & Quality At North Castle, we have worked carefully for 30 years to develop custom grades. These are designed to give furniture makers, fine woodworkers and crafters the best quality and yield from our lumber. Our material is of unique quality that is consistently a few notches higher than the national standards for production. We have organized our quality into two easily understandable grades for woodcrafters, so you know exactly what to expect when ordering from North Castle Hardwoods. We also offer upgraded dimensioned wood products. Our Proprietary Lumber Grading Chart [photos] North Castle Hardwoods B-Grade Lumber Our B-Grade is our standard premium grade. Cut from pre-sorted logs, this standard grade offers “better than select and better” quality in a number of important areas for woodworkers and crafters. When purchasing this grade, you can expect to see a clear board on one face with a clean appearance and possible natural character on the reverse face. [photos] Key features of B Grade: Clear on one face (better face) Minimal to no sap on clear face Clean appearance with some possible natural character on reverse face Limited sap on reverse face (if any) No visible surface-checking or end-checking North Castle Hardwoods A-Grade Lumber Our A-Grade is our fine quality grade which is a step above our B-Grade. Sorted out from our standard premium stock, this grade is designed to offer exceptional quality for fine wood crafting and furniture making. Perfectly clear on one face with minimal character on the reverse, this grade is particularly suited to creating an even and consistent appearance for your entire project where both faces of the wood will be visible and where color consistency is important. [photos] Key Features of A-Grade: Perfectly clear on one face Minimal to no sap on clear face Near clear on reverse face with minimal character Minimal sap on reverse face (if any) No visible surface-checking or end-checking Dimensioned Lumber (Dimensional Lumber) Our dimensional lumber comes from boards set aside during our sorting process. Boards that doesn’t make our other standard grades are cut to remove defects. They are surfaced and upgraded to premium S4S lumber, ready to use in any woodworking projects. [photos] Dimensional Lumber grade features: S4S lumber (surfaced/sanded on all sides) Precision machined to a tight tolerance in all dimensions No wane (all sides are parallel) Perfectly clear on one face Sap-free on clear face (or heart-free in white woods) Near clear on reverse face with minimal character Minimal to no sap on reverse face (or heartwood in white woods) North Castle Hardwoods Dimensional Products and Packaging Specifications Dimensional Lumber Tolerances Thickness We sand our dimension pieces on precision wide belt sander to a very tight thickness specifications. Width Both edges are finished parallel, straight-line ripped on a dedicated precision glue-line rip saw. Widths are rounded down to the nearest 1/2” and measured in 1/2" increment from 2.5” to 6.5”. This means that 5” dimension board is finished at anywhere between 5”less 1/32” to 5-31/32” (5-1/2” less 1/32”), etc. We leave the extra width to give you the maximum advantage. If you would like us to finish the pcs at any specific width, please specify and we will edge them to your requirement. Length You will have two clean ends. There will be an overlength of 1/4” to 2”. If you require any specific length, we can trim the piece for you, in which case the original length of the board prior to trimming will be used for measurement. Thickness: (+/-) 1/64”Final dimension after sandingWidth: (-) 1/32”; (+)1/2” maxFinal dimension after precision straight line rip 2 edgesLength: (-) 0; (+) 0.25” ~ 2.0”Final dimension after cross-cut with a 16” finish sawblade Quality Specifications Sapwood/heartwood Content Dark wood: Walnut. Cherry, Red Oak, White Oak have minimum 95% heartwood on one face. Walnut is always steamed to provide maximum color stability.Maple (white wood) dimension product, on the other hand, has minimum 95% sap on one side and very white on reverse face as well.White Ash is not color sorted, but generally very white. Heartwood in this species is generally light brown and we do not include dark brown or gray in the heartwood. We make sure the color of sapwood and heartwood blend very well.Clarity: generally clear both faces and both edges. The reverse face may allow small natural character, if any. Ends are defect-free. So, you are getting 100% usable wood that’s precision machined and color inspected. Environmental Concerns All our dimension products are carefully kiln dried and precision machined. After final machining, they are kept in climate-controlled storage and shielded from humidity variation and other elements that may be harmful to the wood, waiting for final packaging and shipment. Packaging Our packaging reflects how much we care about protecting your dimension product you order from us. For protection from shocks and rough package handling, we first wrap them in foam sheets. We then insert them in a moisture resistant poly tube and seal it air-tight to prevent them from natural movement of wood caused by shrinkage and expansion. The wood you receive will be flat and true to dimension without showing significant cupping or warpage. The package will leave our warehouse perfectly flat.