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Black Walnut is a dark brown almost black wood that looks elegant in your kitchen. Continue reading to find out about Black Walnut Wood and to find the Best Black Walnut Cutting Boards for your kitchen.
What is Black Walnut?
Black Walnut is a native tree that grows primarily in the Central and Eastern parts of the United States. This tall tree can grow up to one hundred feet tall with a trunk that grows between two to five feet thick. It is considered mature at seventy-five feet, and taller trees tend to be limited because of the valuable nature of the tree and years until full maturity.
Walnut grows tall and straight, with close-grained wood that is quality for building. Eastern Black Walnut is also known as American Walnut and is the only dark brown domestic tree species. Cabinet makers and furniture builders enjoy the Walnut for its strength and beauty. The wood is hard, heavy, and lustrous. The tight-graining of the wood makes it resistant to marring and polishes to a smooth finish.
The natural coloration of Walnut is a creamy dark color in the heartwood that can lighten to an ashy color in the sapwood. Walnut is not typically stained but is usually oiled to bring out its natural beauty. Walnut is the only wood that lightens with age; most other woods like cherry, oak, and maple deepen in color with time; Walnut lightens slightly, which can be avoided with oils and staining the natural wood.
Walnuts make great shade trees because of their large open rounded canopy that is as wide as it is tall. It is considered a medium growth tree that grows from thirteen to twenty-four inches a year. The tree begins to bear fruit at around twelve years old. Black Walnut does grow walnuts. The lime green outer shell can be smashed open to harvest a rough little black shell; crack open this shell to get to the Walnut inside. These Walnuts are delicious in taste and are preferred when available over English Walnuts.
The Black Walnut tree is not widely appreciated in suburban yards, though, because of its natural herbicidal poisonous nature. It is not a tree that allows some other plants to flourish under and around it because of the poisonous parts of the tree.
There are two kinds of wood styles that are available in cutting boards, end grain and edge grain. End grain wood is wood pieces that have been cut off boards and laminated together vertically so that the end of the board is the surface of the cutting board. This is the best cutting surface for a cutting board as it is easier on the edge of the knife. This surface absorbs more moisture than edge grain. The other cutting surface is edge grain; this means that the side of the board has been cut and glued together with other boards to be laminated for the surface of the cutting board. This gives the surface of the cutting board the side of the grain to keep the board from absorbing liquids and bacteria. This is the best surface for a cutting board,
What Is so Dangerous About Black Walnut?
Black Walnut is a tree that protects itself by exuding a natural poison. This poison acts as a herbicide to keep the roots and ground around the tree free from competition for food, light, and water. This poison is called Juglone. It is completely non-toxic inside the tree but becomes toxic once it oxidizes and is exposed to the air. Juglone is inside the roots, bark, sap, walnut husks, and leaves.
This toxin is dangerous to humans and pets as well as other plants. Plants such as fruit trees, vegetables, certain other trees, and flowering bushes can be affected by the toxin. The toxin is so strong it can stay in the soil once the tree is gone for more than fifty years.
Another danger is the danger of the nuts falling; these two-inch baseball-sized fruits can certainly hurt when they fall to the ground. The tree drops its fruits in the fall; the walnut pods are large and can make a mess around the tree on the ground.
History of Uses for the Black Walnut Tree
The Black Walnut tree was a useful medicinal tool to the Native Americans. They used the bark of the tree, although it is now known to be a poison in certain doses, in remedies for toothaches, snake bites, and headaches. The bark would be used in tea, as well as chewed, and also applied to wounds. It helps with pain and swelling and also dries up mucous.
The wood was highly prized and used as fence posts, gun stocks, and furniture. The bark was used to help tan hides, and the nut husks were smashed and put into ponds as a fish toxin. The fish would float to the surface of the water and be easily harvested by early settlers. The nuts were harvested and used for food, even being ground up as nut flour. The nut hulls were also smashed and soaked to make a color and lightfast, a permanent dye of a rich brown hue.
The Best Black Walnut Cutting Boards
These boards are boards I have chosen by comparing price, quality, look, and size.
Butcher Block Black Walnut End Grain Cutting Boards
My absolute favorite thing about this cutting board is the ability to customize it to your wants and needs. Pick the size and the thickness of your cutting board to fit your best needs. You can get up to four and a half-inch thick board if that is what fits you.
Customize your finger grips up to handles, or leave the block handle free. The block itself is deep dark Black Walnut heartwood, in an end-grain style. The pattern of the end grain is one-inch by one-inch blocks, creating a checkerboard pattern. A medium-sized one and a quarter-inch thick board that is ten by sixteen inches are about a hundred dollars. A good price for an end grain high quality and beautifully finished Walnut Butcher Block cutting board.
Images of the old video game QBert are what I get in my head when I look at this stunning handmade Butcher Block. Made of the best hardwoods, Maple, Cherry, and Black Walnut, this board is functional art. This board is a medium-small sized board at just eight by ten inches, but the craftsmanship in this board is amazing.
Each piece of wood has been shaped into this intricate pattern, and owning a piece that can be displayed and is a conversation piece is well worth the slightly higher than regular pricing. Juice grooves and hand wells are also options that can be cut into the board. This board is beveled for a little less weight to the piece and also to allow for a more streamlined appearance.
Butcher Block Black Walnut Edge Grain Cutting Boards
The size and cost of this Walnut Cutting Board grabbed me. It’s unusual to find an eighteen by twelve-inch Black Walnut Cutting Board so large. Reversible and prefinished with food-safe mineral oil, this smooth Walnut board is a good kitchen use board.
The cost of it won’t have you scared to score it with your knives, and the edge grain wood will keep your knife edges in good shape. The edges of this board are well rounded over, unlike most cutting boards, giving you a better surface if you choose to scrap your scraps or food into a pan. It’s a pretty and simple board.
Ferrum Handmade Extra Thick Wood Cutting Board Butcher Block Black Walnut 17x12x1.25 Inches Reversible with Handles and Juice Groove
This board is medium large-sized at seventeen by twelve inches, and any Black Walnut Cutting Boards under a hundred dollars is a great find! This reversible board has a juice groove on one side and is flat on the other, which offers dual duty.
Vegetables like tomatoes and fruits like watermelon can also be cut on this side of the board so that the juices that escape when cutting will drain into the groove instead of leaking all over your countertop. The plain reverse side is good for most other cutting, like cheese or chopping celery. The same-sized cutting boards from other sellers are priced at over seventy-five dollars. This is definitely a bargain for a Black Walnut board; it is a good size for most cutting and will last years with care and regular oiling.
Live Edge Black Walnut Cutting Boards –
A live edge cutting board means that the edge of the board is raw, usually with the bark still on it; the board makes for a beautifully rustic-looking display piece, although it’s not recommended for food preparation.
This live edge board is bordered on two sides with a bark edge. The piece is finished with a lustrous oil finish that allows the natural coloration of the wood to shine through. Each board is different as each piece of wood is unique; the board is finished with two black squared-off handles.
Since this board is handmade, there are different sizes that you can order specific to your needs. The lovely coloration of the wood is a center point of the dark red-brown heartwood that leads out into the lighter blonde colored sapwood. This board would make a great cheese or dessert tray, you can still use it for cutting, but it wouldn’t score easily under the less sharp edge of a cheese knife.
While there is no bark on this live edge board, the natural rough edge of the board has not been trimmed off. The edge has been sanded smooth to ensure that the rough grain of the wood doesn’t catch or scratch, but the edge line is as it came from the tree it was cut from.
Two antique-style red-brown handles are attached to the top at either end of the board. This board can be personalized and engraved for a decorative board but can still function well as a cutting board or charcuterie board with light knife use. Add your name or gift this board to your favorite foodie.
Shaped Black Walnut Cutting Boards
Round cutting boards can be a styled decor item, being a tray to hold items, while also being a functional cutting board if you don’t use a cutting board that often.
The round of this board offers more of an idea of using it for a serving tray than a cutting board but would be a functional pizza cutting board, as well as a good board for countertops that don’t have enough space to hold a large rectangular board. The shop is selling these boards in different sizes, so depending on your needs and price point, you can choose the size that best fits your needs.
This fun little cutting board is long and narrow. Perfect for small cutting jobs, perhaps a sandwich board, or some small task. The long narrow shape would make it terrific for a breadboard to bring to the table to slice and serve loaves of bread.
The larger round hole would allow you to hang the board from a hook easily or use the hole to add a ramekin of butter to slather onto your freshly sliced bread. It would also function well as a small cheese board. Perfectly sized, chop your herbs and spices on this board and keep it separate from adding unwanted spice oils and flavors onto your large cutting boards.
Stylized Black Walnut Cutting Boards
The ombre wood look of this cutting board is exquisite; this is a truly beautiful work of art. The Walnut end grain is smoothly transitioned into the Maple End Grain with the help of thick to thin stripes. The solid wood of each side of the board then accents each wood on the coloration of that wood.
The transition of dark brown Walnut into the honey blonde of the maple is beautifully done. This board is almost two inches thick and is a medium-large seventeen and a half inches by twelve and a half inches. Something this beautiful and detailed deserves a space on your countertop, not to be hidden away in a cabinet.
The stripes on this board may make it your favorite fun cutting board. Made with Cherry, Yellow Birch, and Black Walnut woods, this edge grain board features stripes of each wood. Choose from two sizes; either twelve by eighteen inches or thirty-one by twenty-one inches; this red, yellow, and brown cutting board features a juice groove and large well at one end.
Both sizes are under forty dollars which is a great price for anything featuring Black Walnut and also with the amount of craftsmanship in this piece. This striped cutting board is really unique and will be a great addition to your cutting board collection.
Answer: The tree name is named for the very dark appearance of the bark and shell of the nuts. The bark is so deeply dark brown that it looks black in color. Although the name of the wood is black Walnut, the heartwood of the wood is deeply brown, it may have purple, red, or gray tints, but the wood is not a genuine black color.
Answer: Walnut is resistant in terms of decaying but can be damaged by insect activity. It is a hardwood that works well in furniture building and cabinetry, as it glues, stains, and finishes smoothly.
Answer: After using your board, wash well with hot soapy water, avoiding soaking the board in the water. Wash both sides off to keep the board from warping and rinse well with hot water. Dry the cutting board with a soft dry towel and prop the board upright to allow it to dry thoroughly.
Weekly, use a light bleach water solution, one part bleach to six parts water, allow the solution to cover the entire board, wash with soapy water, and rinse with hot water. Dry as before. Monthly you should liberally apply food-safe mineral oil to the board, allow it to soak in for ten minutes, reapply the oil, then allow to soak in another ten minutes. Please remove any remaining oil, allow it to sit upright overnight, and the board is ready to utilize again.
Answer: There are best woods to use, such as Maple, Acacia, Cherry, and Walnut. These woods are hard and close-grained and won’t scar as easily. There are other woods that make okay choices, such as Birch, Teak, and Bamboo ( although technically not a wood). These woods tend to scar easier and are harder on your knife edges. There are bad choices of wood such as Pine, Ash, and Oak.
These woods have wider grains that are more porous and can absorb odors and bacteria, and score easily, allowing the resin flavor to penetrate your foods. The best choice of cutting board should be a flat, smooth board that is knot-free. Never use reclaimed wood, chemically treated wood, or known poisonous woods for food preparation.
Answer: End grain cutting boards are quality boards. There are pros and cons to ending grain cutting boards. The positives are that End Grain cutting boards are the best for your knife edge. They wear slowly and have natural antimicrobial benefits in the wood. They also score less than other grained wood boards.
The negatives are that they are the most labor-intensive boards, which makes them pricier than other wood cutting boards. They can also be mixed with other woods, allowing the manufacturer to claim that they are mostly expensive wood but not give the percentage of each wood. They absorb more edge grain cutting boards, so they must be food-safe mineral oil treated more often and with more applications than an edge grain cutting board.
While Black Walnut boards are absolutely gorgeous, the wood is expensive. There are better cutting boards that can easily be used without guilt for scarring a beautiful wood surface. There are instances where the dark Walnut Wood would be the best choice anytime you have decided to keep a cutting board out on the countertop to protect the surface of your countertops. The coloration is a beautiful eye-catching piece, and a Black Walnut Butcher Block Cutting Board would be absolutely gorgeous sitting out on the counter. My own preference would be a more sustainable wood, a harder wood, and a wood that would not as easily be damaged by washing or potential water damage as Black Walnut for everyday use. However, I would most definitely own a medium-sized board for use for display purposes and as a serving/charcuterie tray.
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