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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading about steamed walnut this mourning on the net and some say it's a good thing because it blends the color. The last thing I built with walnut was steamed and I had to stain it to make it look right. It's kinda of hard to fined walnut that hasn't been steamed and when you do it's costly. So what do y'all think about this and what do you do when buying walnut?
 

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Theo
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Not worked with walnut in a lonnnng time. But, if I were looking for some, unsteamed, I'd check with local sawmills. There is I believe one sawmill in the phone book. That's in the county seat, about 9-10 miles from me. But there is one more in the county seat, and it is not in the phone book. I did a lot of checking, long ago. The results surprised the heck out of me. Within about ten miles of my home there are seven sawmills, that I tracked down. Which means there are likely some that I did not track down. And, like I said, only one in the phone book. If they cut it, they will likely sell it. May have to let it dry before you use it, but that's no biggie. The way to track them down is to start asking. Ask the grocery store clerk, bank teller, anyone you know, everyone and anyone. Sooner or later you will be able to track one down. And it is likely they can direct you to another, or to someone who knows of one. I'm thinking you will be surprised at how many sawmills of various types are close to you. May be a commercial operation, may be a guy with a bandsaw mill making some money on the side.
 

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Have done little work with Walnut myself. However, from what what I have read and what others have recommended, using the steam drying method on walnut does mute its coloring. Some have claimed that some finishes will bring the coloring back out, but I have not tried this myself.

If you can get air dried, that is the best way to go, but the next best is kiln dried that didn't use steam.
 

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David
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At least 90% of what I work with is unsteamed Walnut. I have stated many times here that I really don't care for steamed Walnut - too muddy looking to me. I understand why they steam Walnut but I buy kiln dried Walnut from a local sawmill and every bit of it is unsteamed. Unsteamed, to me anyway, has far more character than steamed. There are some jobs I do where I simply can't use the sapwood, has to be all heartwood. But having a bit of sapwood just adds so much to many of the things I build. And I find unsteamed Walnut to be more irridescent than steamed.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The only person I know that has a mill and a kiln is Tennessee Tim on Woodworking Talk Dot Com. He lives about 50 miles from me but doesn't do lumber. He only does live edge and crouches.
 

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Theo
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The only person I know that has a mill and a kiln is Tennessee Tim on Woodworking Talk Dot Com. He lives about 50 miles from me but doesn't do lumber. He only does live edge and crouches.
I bet if you start checking you will find someone relatively close to you. Maybe not with a kiln, maybe offering air dried or not, but close. If I can find that many mills, that close to me, I am pretty durn sure you have some around. And besides the actual mills here, I have been told there are one or more guys with band mills, with the possibility of one coming to your place to saw any trees you may have cut. Unfortunately I don't have any trees to cut, so not checking that out more. A good start would be cabinet shops, lumber yards, etc.
 

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Theo
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Holy Cow. Tried googling saw mills close to my town. All sorts of stuff popped up, most of which I had never even heard of. But all relatively close. This one caught my eye, as apparently it is somewhere not far from me. They have a portable mill they will cut your trees into lumber, or they sell lumber, and will even ship. I know where I will be checking for lumber next time I need some. This is their price list, including air dried, or kiln dried. Remember, google is our friend.
Lumber Prices ? Murdock Building & Portable Sawmill
 

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Most of the Walnut in my area is steamed and I don't like it. It is not as dark as unsteamed.
As far as checking with local sawyers we don't have very much Walnut here in Vermont so
most comes from Pennsylvania or the mid West.
 

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From my experience, steamed walnut has more even color, but it's kind of bland when compared with air dried walnut. I have always stained both, but the air dried looks better, even when stained, to me. Unfortunately, it's harder to find.

Charley
 

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I have bought steamed cherry from a operation in Ontario and it does change the color totally to a very pale color,not nice at all (IMHO )but it does get rid of the sap wood. i am sure most know but walnut is the opposite of cherry. Cherry will darken with age whereas walnut will lighten. I have done a couple walnut kitchens and to maintain the color I found a walnut stain from ML Campbell that does not change the natural color of the walnut and walnut stains real easy.
 
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