Black walnut rates as classic cabinet stock not only because of its eye-appeal, but because you get good results with either hand or power tools. It does, however, sometimes require special treatment. Our suggestions:
- Black walnut dust can irritate the eyes, so wear protective goggles, a dust mask, and have adequate ventilation or dust removal.
- Avoid any tearout by taking shallow cuts when jointing. And, try this on the planer: Run two short pieces of stock the same thickness as the walnut board through the planer at the same time-one ahead and one behind. This levels the infeed and outfeed rollers for a chipfree cut.
- In crosscutting, attach a backing board to the miter fence to act as a chip breaker.
- Walnut doesn't burn easily in routing, but shallow passes eliminate tearout.
- Any adhesive performs well with walnut, but in joining with white or yellow glues, keep glue squeeze-out to a minimum and skim off skinned-over glue. Dry glue discolors the dark wood and shows up in the finish. (Elmer's new dark glue minimizes this.)
- Straight-grained walnut generally doesn't require filling. Figured walnut-especially burls and crotch wood-has irregular, more open grain that you should fill.
- Staining walnut isn't necessary, unless color is uneven. Then, aniline dyes won't cloud the grain.
- The best finish for walnut is a clear one. Several coats of Danish oil provide clarity. For protection, add a compatible clear topcoat.
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