Black Walnut20150307_180652 is a beautiful wood and also wonderful to work with.  It is fairly common, and good quality black walnut lumber is not hard to find, but can be quite costly – I have several huge Walnut trees in my back garden that one day may make a nice piece of furniture.

I like to finish black walnut with a clear oil finish such as Watco Danish Oil or Waterlox Tung Oil.

Recently I was asked to make a gun rack from an old piece of fabulously grained walnut.  It had tiger striping, swirls and quilting – it had such depth to the surface – the visual feast is called chatoyance, and comes from the french “to shine like a cat’s eye”.

The board was planed flat and then card scraped.  I then gave it one soaking of Danish Oil, let this sit for a while and wiped off the access.  [the nice thing about this product is that the excess can be stored and used again]  It’s also very easy to repair damage.

It was then scuff sanded with 180 grit and then another coat of oil – repeat with 320 grit and then a final coat rubbed in.  The last coat could be rubbed out with 0000 wire wool.

As an aside I did have a colleague and her children collected a couple of buckets of walnuts one year, that I left for several weeks to decompose into a very dark, smelly syrupy.  I used it to refinish a chest of draws.