English Walnut Vs Black Walnut Wood – a Clear Comparison

Woodworkers and DIY fans alike often contemplate the contrast between English Walnut and Black Walnut, as both species of walnut possess distinctive features which make them suitable for various projects. Comprehending the distinction between these two varieties of walnut can assist you in making an educated decision when selecting between the two.

English Walnut Vs Black Walnut Wood: English walnut presents a lighter shade, with a consistent grain pattern, whereas black walnut is darker and its grain appears to be uneven. Both varieties of lumber are resilient and can be employed for various ventures; however, black walnut is denser and more robust.

Whether you’re an experienced woodworker or just a beginner, this article will enlighten you on the characteristics and pros and cons of English Walnut vs Black Walnut Wood. Take a deep dive into both types of walnut woods and gain the knowledge you need to make an informed decision when selecting between the two for your next project. Read onwards to understand the key differences between English Walnut and Black Walnut Wood!

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Comparing English Walnut vs Black Walnut wood

Pro Tip

Before we dive into this comparison, you have to understand that Wanlut contains a toxic substance called Juglone. I highly recommend you should read my article “Is Walnut Wood Toxic? Important Health Info” first and come back to read the rest of this article.

What is English Walnut Wood (juglans regia)

Characteristics of English Walnut Wood

English Walnut Vs Black Walnut Wood
English Walnut – Source the wood database

English Walnut Wood is a popular selection for various woodworking applications, characterized by its light hue, straight grain pattern, and velvety and even texture. This type of walnut timber is lightweight, easily worked with, and has an ultra-smooth, delicate feel.

It is also durable and impervious to decay, making it a decent alternative for furniture making, cabinetry, flooring, and decorative pieces. Due to its extraordinary properties, it is versatile enough to be used in both luxury furniture productions as well as practical objects. In the following subsections we will look into the features of English walnut wood more thoroughly and evaluate its appropriateness for varied purposes.

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Description of the color and grain pattern

The wood of the English walnut tree is of a pale yellow to rich brown hue, featuring a straight grain pattern that is usually regular throughout the board. The tone is light and the grain typically delicate and evenly distributed.

Density and weight

The wood of these trees is an ideal option for furniture or cabinetry, as its density falls between 530 and 630 kg per cubic meter – considerably lighter than other woods. This characteristic makes it an excellent choice for projects that require lightweight construction. The hardness of this wood is expressed in janka hardness and is 1,220 lbf (5,410 N). Read this article to know more about janka rating.

Workability and durability

English walnut is a great option for furniture, cabinetry, and other long-lasting projects due to its malleability and substantial resistance to rot. Working with it is effortless since it has an even texture and can be sanded and polished to a glossy finish.

Pros and Cons of English Walnut Wood


  • Lightweight and easy to work with
  • Consistent grain pattern makes it easy to match pieces
  • Good choice for furniture and cabinetry
  • Durable and resistant to decay


  • More expensive than other types of wood
  • Soft texture can be prone to denting or scratching

Popular uses for English walnut wood

  • Furniture, including desks, chairs, and tables
  • Cabinetry and built-ins
  • Flooring
  • Gunstocks
  • Decorative items, such as boxes and bowls
  • Musical instruments, such as guitar bodies and violin bows.

What is Black Walnut Wood (juglans Nigra)

Characteristics of Black Walnut Wood

English Walnut Vs Black Walnut Wood
Black Walnut – Source the wood database

Adding an opulent touch to furniture and decorations, this type of walnut wood (also called eastern walnut trees) has gained tremendous popularity due to its unique, dark color and distinct grain patterns.

Incredibly resilient to decay, this dense and heavy timber is not a breeze to work with; yet can be molded and refined into an impeccably smooth finish with the right tools and techniques. To explore further the amazing qualities of the wood of this type of walnut and its multiple uses, read on in the sections below.

Description of the color and grain pattern

This type of walnut is renowned for its intense, deep-hued coloring along with its crooked, diverse grain pattern. The trees heartwood often ranges from a decadent chocolate shade to a deep purple-black, and the sapwood can be fair in color, fluctuating between cream and light brown hues.

This type of wood has an unmistakable wavy and irregular grain which makes each slab unique and highly valued for its lovely aesthetics.

Density and weight

Black walnut trees grow slower and because of that it is a incredibly dense and heavy wood, with a density between 660 to 720 kilograms per cubic meter. This makes the wood an excellent choice for creating furniture or cabinetry, due to its renowned stability and robustness.The hardness of this wood, expressed in janka hardness and is 1,010 lbf (4,490 N)

Workability and durability

The craftsmanship of this type of can be difficult due to its hardness and proneness to splitting or cracking. Despite this, it can still be intricately cut and polished for use in furniture-making and cabinets. Plus, its natural immunity to deterioration guarantees that it will remain in prime condition for long-term projects.

Pros and Cons of Black Walnut Wood


  • Unique, dark color and irregular grain pattern
  • Dense and strong, making it suitable for furniture and cabinetry
  • Naturally resistant to decay
  • Prized for its beauty and used in high-end furniture and decorative items


  • Hard and can be challenging to work with
  • Tendency to split and crack during cutting and drilling
  • More expensive than other types of wood

Popular uses for black walnut wood

  • Furniture, including desks, chairs, and tables
  • Cabinetry and built-ins
  • Flooring
  • Woodturning projects, such as bowls and platters
  • Decorative items, such as boxes and sculptures
  • High-end furniture and decorative items, such as carved mantels and paneling.

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Where do English Walnut and Black Walnut Wood Differ?

Comparison of color and grain between English Walnut vs Black Walnut wood

English walnut wood is recognizable for its even colour and clean grain pattern, while black (eastern) walnut wood stands out due to its dark hue and varied grain pattern.

The heartwood of the black walnut trees fluctuates from deep chocolate brown to a purplish-black, with the sapwood being lighter in tone; ranging from cream to light brown.

On the contrary, heartwood of English walnut trees are brimming with colours that vary between light and dark brown. It also features a fine, straight grain pattern that maintains an even representation.

Comparison of density and weight between English Walnut vs Black Walnut wood

English walnut is a lightweight timber, ranging from 550 to 720 kilograms per cubic meter in density. In comparison, black walnut tree wood is much denser and heavier, with densities from 660 to 720 kilograms per cubic meter.

Thus, black walnuts are better suited for projects that demand durability and sturdiness; conversely, English walnuts may be more appropriate for applications requiring lighter materials, such as ornaments.

Comparison of workability and durability between English Walnut vs Black Walnut wood

English walnut is relatively simple to work with and cuts easily due to its lightweight and even texture. It also boasts longevity and durability, making it a great option for furniture and cabinetry. On the other hand, black walnut can be difficult as it is hard, prone to chipping and splintering during cutting and drilling.

Nevertheless, when suitable equipment and strategies are utilized, it can be carefully molded and buffed to an exceptionally smooth surface finish – perfect for furniture and cabinetry as well as decorative elements. Unquestionably resilient against rot, both types of walnut make remarkable choices for long-term projects.

PropertyEnglish WalnutBlack Walnut
ColorLight to medium brown with a yellowish hueDark brown to purplish black
GrainUniform and straightIrregular with some wavy patterns
DensityLight to medium weightHeavy and dense
WorkabilityEasier to work with due to its lighter weightCan be difficult to work with due to its density
DurabilityGood but not as durable as black walnutHigh durability
PriceTypically more affordableTypically more expensive
Popular usesDecorative items, smaller projects, cabinetsFurniture, cabinetry, flooring
english walnut and black walnut wood comparison table

Factors to consider when choosing between English Walnut and Black Walnut Wood

Purpose of the project: When deciding which type of walnut wood to use, the purpose of your project should take precedence. If you need a light and consistent material for delicate works or smaller projects, then English Walnut is your best bet.

Conversely, if you require a hard and heavy timber for furnishings or cabinets making, Black Walnut will serve you better. Moreover, if achieving a super-smooth finish is your aim, Black Walnut’s dense texture is just the answer.

Budget: Considering budget should be taken into account when choosing between black walnut and English walnuts. The latter is generally less expensive to use due to its softer texture and easier-to-manipulate nature, making it a more cost-effective choice for your project if money is an issue.

If you want to know why walnut wood is so expensive, I suggest you should read my in depth article Why Is Walnut Wood So Expensive (The Complete Truth)

Personal preference: Ultimately, the selection between English walnut and black walnut is up to you. People may lean towards the even-toned hue and consistent grain pattern of English walnut, while others may value the striking dark color and unique grain pattern of the black walnut tree. Take into account your own individual style and taste when deciding which to choose.

Have you ever thought on using Oak instead of walnut? It can be a great alternative tough! To see more, chack out my article Walnut Vs Oak – A Quick Guide To Help You Choose.
Another alternative may be mahogany wood.
In my article Walnut Wood vs. Mahogany: Which Is Better for Your Projects? I will go deeper into the differences between these types of wood so that you are even better informed and can make the right choices

The difference between English Walnut and Black Walnut Wood – Conclusion

English walnut and black walnut are renowned for their captivating colors and distinctive grain patterns. The former boasts a light to medium brown hue with a subtle yellowish tinge, while the latter is famed for its dark brown to inky black shade and irregular texture.

English walnut offers craftspeople less resistance while they work, but it is less resilient than black walnuts which is weighty and dense. Both kinds of wood can be employed to create ornamental pieces, furnishings, and cabinets.

Choosing between English walnut and black walnut is essential for any project, based on budget and individual preference. If you need a lightweight, even wood for decorations or smaller tasks, then English walnut is your best bet.

Alternatively, if seeking a heavy, dense wood perfect for furniture or cabinetry, black walnuts should be your selection. Furthermore, if looking for a wood that can have a highly polished look, the dense grain of black walnut allows it to get the desired smoothness.

In conclusion, it is essential to think about the various characteristics of English walnut and black walnut woods when deciding which one works best for your needs. Consider factors such as color, grain pattern, density and weight, workability, durability, and budget to make an informed decision that suits you.

Also remember that next to the types of walnut, there are other types like claro walnut (juglans hindsii), bastogne walnut (J. x paradox), white walnut wood (J. cinerea) and much more.

It is essential to be mindful of the potential toxicity of walnut wood if you intend on using it for food-related items. To gain more information regarding its safety, take a moment to read our article: “Can You Use Walnut Wood for a Cutting Board? the Unspoken Truth“.

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