For its wood to be considered for use as building materials, a walnut tree must be large and of good quality. Quality trees have numerous qualities which cause a rise in the economic value of the hardwood. As of January 2010, Woodworkers Source quotes a price of $8.99 per 4x4 plank of black walnut lumber. The price increases as the plank size increases; this price is subject to change with changes in the market.
The uses for black walnut wood include timber for furniture, bowls and crafts. It's also used to create thin sheets of veneer.
Good lumber and veneer trees need to be at least 15 inches in. Black walnut trees of 18 inches in diameter or greater are preferred.
For hardwoods like black walnut, the merchantable height is a minimum of 8 to 10 feet of trunk growth before hitting major branches. Quality, salable trees are typically several times higher.
Fewer defects equal better quality and a higher price tag for black walnut wood. Typical defects include swelling, cracks, diseases and pest damage. Knots lower the tree's usability and value.
Urban grown black walnut trees often have no value as lumber or veneer trees. They frequently contain foreign objects, such as nails, hooks, wires and insulation.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kevin Dooley
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