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What Does Walnut Wood Look Like?

Walnut wood is highly prized for its rich, dark color and beautiful grain patterns, making it a popular choice for furniture and woodworking projects. However, identifying walnut wood can be challenging, especially for those new to the world of woodworking. Luckily, as experts in everything wood here at Excel, we can help you explore the characteristics and give some tips that will help you confidently identify walnut wood.


One of the most distinctive features of walnut wood is its deep, chocolate-brown color. The heartwood, or innermost part of the tree, is typically darker than the outer sapwood. However, keep in mind that the color can vary, and younger walnut trees may have a lighter hue. Look for a rich, warm brown that sets walnut apart from other wood types.

Grain Patterns:

Walnut wood is known for its attractive grain patterns. The grain is usually straight, but it can also be wavy or curly in some instances. The growth rings are often well-defined, creating a visually appealing pattern on the surface of the wood. Examine the wood closely to identify these unique grain characteristics.


Walnut wood has a moderately coarse texture with a slightly open grain. Run your fingers over the surface of the wood to feel its texture. The open grain can give the wood a slightly rough feel, but it can be easily smoothed with sanding. Pay attention to the tactile qualities of the wood to help in the identification process.


Walnut wood is relatively dense and heavy. If you have a piece of wood in question, compare its weight to that of other known woods. Walnut's weight can be a helpful indicator, especially when dealing with smaller or finished pieces where color and grain may not be as readily apparent.


While not foolproof, the scent of walnut wood can be another clue. Freshly cut walnut wood often has a faint, sweet aroma. However, this characteristic can diminish over time, so it may not be as reliable as other identification methods.

Identifying walnut wood involves a combination of factors, including color, grain patterns, texture, weight, and sometimes even scent. By paying attention to these characteristics, both novice and experienced woodworkers can confidently differentiate walnut from other types of wood. Whether you're selecting lumber for a project or trying to identify a piece of furniture, this guide should help you on your journey to recognizing the unique qualities of walnut wood.

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