i am new to woodworking and am wanting to try and build/make a gun stock. i am currently air drying some walnut (the walnut came from a year old dead tree, seems to be in good shape and has a moisture content of 22 to 26%).
what i need to know is how dry should the walnut be before i starting working with it and the tools i will need to make the stock (my cousin has a shop and some wood working tools he has seldom used and cannot answer these questions, but has offered to let me use his shop)
any help/guidance is appreciated
some reading for ya... redundantly for parts of it....
hope it's what you are after.... Walnut
Natural color-Sapwood-pale to whitish brown, heartwood-medium to chocolate brown.
Color variation-Distinct difference between sapwood and heartwood.
Grain-Straight or irregular.
Texture-Diffuse porous, close textured.
Specific gravity [at 12% m.c.]-0.55.
Weight per cubic foot [at 12% m.c.]-38 lbs.
Bending-Fair to good.
Nailing and screw driving-Fair to good.
Nail holding and screw holding-Fair to good.
Sanding-Very good. (Best results with 4/0 for polishing, 3/0 for production sanding.)
Odor and taste-Some.
Workability with hand tools-Good,
Sawing-Good. (Best results with good set in saws.)
Planing, jointing, molding-Good. (Best cutting angles-15 to 30 degrees, finish - 14 knife cuts per inch.)
Boring-Good. (Brad-point bits with strong stubby cutting lips best.)
Staining-Good, takes all stains well. (Water stains and NGR stains most used.)
Filling-Good. (Brown or black fillers used except for light or natural finishes.)
Sealing-Good, takes any sealer.
Bleaching-Good, for light finishes.
Finishing-Good, takes all finishing materials well but is never painted.
Natural finish-Excellent, with varied figure and coloring. Remarks:
The growth of American Walnut timber is scattered over a wide natural range, with the trees growing singly or in small groups, and no reliable estimate figures are available on the stand in connection with forest surveys. Rough estimates have been made from 900,000,000 to 1,750,000,000 board feet of timber which must supply from 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 board feet consumed annually. In an average year, the lumber cut was 41,000,000 board feet with an additional 15,000,000 board feet being used in manufacture of veneers. The drain has been so great that the Walnut industry has instituted a progressive forestry program including woodland management and the planting of young trees to replenish the annual cut. In a single year (l948) 3,241,000 stratified Walnuts and seedlings were planted as part of this program, according to a report made by the American Walnut Manufacturers Association.
Under favorable conditions American Walnut is a rapid-growth tree and reaches a height of 30 to 40 feet and a breast-high diameter of 5 to 9 inches in 20 years. The industry has set a cutting standard of a minimum 15-inches d.b.h. (diameter breast high) for all uses. It grows best in deep, rich, well drained soil where moisture is plentiful and has reached its best size in the region of the Mississippi Basin. The timber is scattered over a wide natural range from Ontario, Canada south to Texas and from Massachusetts west to mid-Nebraska, with commercial quantities found chiefly in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Kansas and Missouri are the leading states in Walnut lumber production.
The Walnut family numbers about 13 species with American Walnut and European - Asiatic Walnut (variously known as English, French, Italian, Persian and Circassian, according to habitat) being the most important species. Most of these yield fine cabinet lumber and top-grade veneer but none of the foreign species approach the yield of American Walnut.
The reason for the use of the commercial name, Black Walnut, for American Walnut has never been accurately determined. The wood has various shades of brown coloring but is never black. The sapwood ranges from a creamy-white to a pale brown and the heartwood varies from light to chocolate brown, sometimes with darker streaks and/or a slate-blue cast. The natural coloring of Walnut is characteristically light and warm and is so nearly neutral that it harmonizes with any kind of decorative color scheme.
American Walnut has an endless variety of figures, most of which are a distinct Walnut type seldom seen in other woods. This varied figuration is caused by the annual growth rings and the natural irregular or wavy grain of the wood. Visible pores, relatively large and numerous in the spring wood, emphasize each ring of growth. Careful cutting of the logs produces plain wood of quiet dignity and beauty as well as veneers of many figured types. As used in the manufacture of veneer, Walnut yields up to 24 distinctive types of figures which are easily matched into individual patterns of beauty for decorative purposes.
American Walnut veneers are produced by sawing, slicing and rotary cutting, with the last two methods being used principally for high grade veneers. Slicing and half-round cutting done at right angles to the growth rings produce various stripe effects. Rotarycut Walnut veneer generally shows a series of widely-spaced irregular lines as the knife stays within a single growth ring for several inches in cutting around the log.
The longwood veneer is produced in plain, semi-figured and figured patterns and include such well-known patterns as cross figure, fiddle back, mottle and rope. Quartered logs present a range from fine pencil to wide stripes. Wood of decided grain is also obtained in veneer from butts or stumps, varying from plain to 80% figure, with most showing wavy grain where the roots spread out from the tree. Very attractive Walnut veneer is also produced from burls, some of which weigh as much as a ton, which shows a very attractive wavy and swirl figure as well as the distinctive moonshine effect.
Distinctive swirl figures are also produced from crotchwood and many figured quartered effects are obtained by first flitching the log into quarters. This method produces a very effective Circassian Walnut effect in a California Walnut, known as Claro. All Walnut veneers are matched into distinctive decorative patterns using every known matching method. The adaptability of Walnut veneer for decorative matching is well shown by the common use of Walnut in making inlaid pictures, using various kinds for their wide range of color,grain and figure to assure desired effects.
The most prized effects are produced from burls and other freak tree formations. This material is so highly prized that it is sold by the pound. Even stumps bring high prices as evidenced by the stump of a Black Walnut tree near Smithfield, Va. which sold for $3,800 in 1937-more than was paid proportionately for the tree.
It seems hardly necessary to expound at length on the value of Walnut as a cabinet or furniture wood. Its known use in both fields extends back to the early 1400's. Walnut has recorded furniture application during the early Renaissance period, 1400 to 1500 A.D. and in English history is particularly associated with Queen Anne furniture. One of the architectural uses of Walnut for decorative work of early record was the S. Zaccaria choir stalls, made of Italian Walnut by Francesco and Marco di Vicenza sometime between 1455 and 1464.
Known through the ages as the Royal Cabinet Wood, Walnut has all the desirable properties for an all-purpose wood. It has sufficient hardness and strength for general use but not enough hardness to dull cutting tools excessively. Because of its close, even grain it is easily worked into the most artistic designs and is well suited for carving. Walnut is valued for its rich color and luster as well as a fine figure that is distinctive but not obtrusive its fine finishing and polishing qualities, stiffness without excessive weight, good machining and sanding properties, and exceptional ability to stay in place when properly seasoned.
Walnut's unusual stability has led to almost universal use for airplane propellers and gun stocks. A leading armorer states Walnut is preferred as gun stock material because after seasoned Walnut has been cut and shaped it alters very little if at all, so the gun barrel and locks drop into position and rest without bending locks or throwing barrels out of line. The American Walnut Manufacturers Association reported that large quantities of unshaped Walnut gun stocks, left over from World War I, were used to make guns for World War II with practically no change in shape or other deterioration.
The extreme variety of Walnut's grain, figuring and color have made it most popular for interior trim and even for flooring of the best American homes. In both solid and veneer form, with veneer generally preferred, Walnut is extensively used for panels and doors, usually finished in its natural rich, brown color in a hand-rubbed or polished gloss finish. It is never painted for that would truly be sacrilegious.
While its most important uses are in solid and veneer construction of furniture, high-grade cabinet work, and interior trim and paneling Walnut is also much used in the manufacture of church appointments (altars, pews, etc.), caskets, carvings, clock cases, museum cases, instrument cases, jewel caskets, showcases, passenger car construction, decorative ornaments, desks, fixtures, moldings, novelties, organs and pianos, boat paneling, trim and instrument boards, radio and television sets, sewing machines, stringed musical instruments, steering wheels and other decorative vehicle parts.
Aside from its wide use for propellers, Walnut has many other uses in the aircraft industry, such as interior paneling, patterns, high-grade plywood, spar caps and highly-stressed parts.
In any and all of its many applications Walnut can be finished in natural, traditional or novelty finishes with all types of finishing materials. Properly cleaned up and sanded, it produces a very smooth finish and is very easy to keep clean and take care of in use. When Walnut is stained, only those stains which will bring out the beauty of figure and grain are used so as not to obscure the varied texture, figure and graduated color effects.
Although its growth may be retarded by excessive crowding or shading, Walnut is a relative hardy tree. Even though its chief foes, tent and Walnut caterpillars, may disfigure the trees, they seldom kill them. Durability of Walnut in furniture or other forms of cabinet construction is most eloquently attested by the number of antique pieces still in active use after hundreds of years of service, whose drawers still move in and out as smoothly as when they were first made of this Royal Cabinet Wood................. More.... http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/searc...=9&submit.y=12