USDA Forest Service
Forest Products Laboratory
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Madison, WI 53705-2398
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Wood Technical Fact Sheet

Juglans spp.


Tropical Walnut

Family: Juglandaceae

Other Common Names: Nogal silvestre, Nuez meca (Mexico), Nogal blanco, Tocte (Peru) Nogal criollo (Argentina).

Distribution: Varying with species, these walnuts range from southern Mexico, through Central America, and the Cordilleras of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Also found in mountain regions of Argentina.

The Tree: Mostly up to 60 ft in height with diameters up to 36 in.; sometimes free from branches for 30 ft but more frequently clear to 10 or 15 ft.

The Wood:

General Characteristics: Heartwood chocolate brown and generally darker than the North American black walnut, sometimes with a purplish cast; sharply demarcated from the whitish sapwood. Texture rather coarse; luster high; grain straight to irregular; odor and taste mild but distinctive.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.50; air-dry density 38 pcf.

Mechanical Properties: (2-in. standard)

Moisture content Bending strength Modulus of elasticity Maximum crushing strength

(%) (Psi) (1,000 psi) (Psi)

15% (69) 9,100 1,020 5,180

Drying and Shrinkage: The wood dries very slowly, wet zones persist, and severe honeycombing and collapse may occur in stock thicker than 4/4. Air-drying as thoroughly as possible before kiln drying is suggested. Kiln schedule T6-D4 is proposed for 4/4 stock and T3-D3 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 2.8%; tangential 5.5%.

Working Properties: The wood works well, cutting cleanly with hand and machine tools and taking an excellent finish; also peels and slices readily but the veneers are also reported to dry slowly.

Durability: No data available.

Preservation: Very low permeability is reported.

Uses: Decorative veneers, furniture, cabinet work, interior finish, and other applications similar to North American black walnut.

Additional Reading: (8), (38), (56), (69)

8. Bois, P. J. 1973. Tropical walnut-good news and bad news. Wood and Wood Products 78(10):27.

38. Kukachka, B. F. 1970. Properties of imported tropical woods. USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. FPL-1 25. For. Prod. Lab., Madison, Wis.

56. Record, S. J., and R. W. Hess. 1949. Timbers of the new world. Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn.

69. Tortorelli, L. A. 1956. Maderas y bosques argentinos. Editorial Acme S.A.C.I. Maipu 92, Buenos Aires.

From: Chudnoff, Martin. 1984. Tropical Timbers of the World. USDA Forest Service. Ag. Handbook No. 607.