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Walnut Sap Wood

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  • Walnut Sap Wood

    When you are building a project with walnut, what do you do with the sap wood? Do you:
    a. Leave it as is and include it in the finished product to add contrast.

    b. Stain it "walnut" to match the heart wood.

    c. Throw it away and only use the heart wood.

    I'm building a table top from walnut and I have some sap wood streaks in my lumber. I don't have enough lumber to complete the project without including it, so I'm just curious to see what others do in this situation.

  • #2
    Why would you not want to use it? Is the sapwood unattractive? Can you book match the pieces to have it repeat in an aesthetic manner?


    • #3
      The sap wood is a good bit lighter that the heart wood (about the color of cherry). When I think of walnut, I think of a dark brown, relatively even-grained wood. I generally don't picture tan streaks through it.


      • #4
        If your walnut is air dried there will be a drastic difference in color between the sap and heart wood. When they kiln walnut they steam it as well to darken the sapwood and lessen the contrast. Some colour varriation is nice if done properly but the stark sap/heart change in air dried will look strange IMO. You may be able to use stains and toners to hide the colour difference but then you may as well use walnut stain on maple and save the $$. I would get another board and try to colour match as close as possable then use a natural finish to bring out the beauty of walnut without using stains


        • #5
          Could have done abetter job of matching grain, but I don't think the sapwood detracted from the table. Look Here

          [ 01-12-2005, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: tcaniff ]


          • #6
            Here's a walnut and maple chest I made earlier this year. If I had it to do over again, I would not have used the sapwood like I did. Some people loved it, others didn't.