Is Walnut Wood Expensive? + Price and Value

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Walnut is known as a superior option for home decorations, furniture, and wood artistry. Because of this, many often wonder if walnut wood is expensive compared to other wood types in the market.

Wondering about its cost and how it influences the quality of projects? Drawing from my years of woodworking experience, I’ll share everything you need to know about walnut.

About Walnut Wood: Characteristics, Color, Appearance, and More

Walnut wood is often used in making furniture and cabinets. Most woodworkers prefer this wood as their primary choice for carving, gunstocks, and many more projects.

But what makes walnut wood a popular choice? Woodworkers are looking for a type of wood that can work well with their hand and power tools. With its fine texture, walnut wood is easy to cut, shape, and sand using any kind of tool.

It is a premium domestic wood that has unique patterns and dark colors like deep chocolate or dark coffee, while fresh timber from deciduous trees shows pale creamy color to almost white.

Walnut wood texture

The grain patterns of walnut trees and their color depend on the absorption of sunlight and soil nutrients. The better the climate, the richer in color and uniform grain patterns their lumber is.

Therefore, most walnut trees grow in every part of the eastern United States and eastern Canada. The eastern and Midwest counties are mostly warm with dry soil. You can find the best quality walnut lumber in Ohio, Illinois, and Canada.

But if you’re going to purchase walnut wood, you need to check the drying process of its lumber first. Air-dried walnut wood preserves greater color variations. Another way to preserve your furniture and cabinets made of walnut wood is with oil finishing. 

Is Walnut a Hardwood or Softwood? + Janka Scale Rating

Walnut wood is a hardwood that comes from a dicot tree. It has durability up to 1,010 lbf or a 1,010 Janka rating.

Various Types of Walnut Lumber

Black Walnut Wood

Black walnut wood is the most preferred lumber of woodworkers. Aside from its 1,010 Janka hardness, this wood has superb dimensional balance. Stability is a standard of good furniture and cabinets.

milling black walnut

White Walnut Wood

White walnut wood, often referred to as Butternut wood, is one I’d highly recommend for carving. It boasts commendable stability, and its soft lumber allows for impeccable polishing and finishing. Unlike some other woods, this variety doesn’t leave burn marks. However, a word of caution: it’s essential to handle it gently to avoid dents during the finishing process.

Also an important tip, your tools should be sharped to prevent tearing the soft areas of the lumber.

English Walnut Wood

English Walnut wood is tough but has a high susceptibility to insect attack. This type of walnut lumber is more expensive and it can only be seen in veneer form.

Brazilian Walnut Wood

If you’re looking for the real deal, Brazilian walnut wood is one of the greatest investments at home. Homeowners love to decorate including the floors which need to be made of hardwood.

Bastogne Walnut

Bastogne walnut wood is widely used for specialty woodwork items such as gunstocks, turnery, and guitars.

Bastogne Walnut

This type of walnut wood is recognized as paradox wood which means that the English and Claro walnut were cross-pollinated [1]. It was created in the 1980s by Luther Burbank which resulted to have beautiful and unique patterns and colors.

Is Walnut Costly?

Considering it is premium hardwood, walnut wood is in a higher price range than most wood types. Compared to softwood options, it’s also valued higher. You can check the walnut lumber prices here. 

It’s slower to grow than other trees at an average of 12 inches every year. Due to its distinct appearance, durability, strength, and workability, it has also become one of the most sought-after woods in the market. 

Walnut is much more expensive relative to other wood types like oak, maple, and mahogany, but it’s not the most expensive wood in the world.

How Much is Walnut Wood Worth?

The cost depends on the grade and figure of walnut wood. You need to prepare an $8 to $30 per board foot.

walnut table

If you’re a beginner woodworker, you can have furniture-grade domestic walnut lumber for $5 to $20 per board foot. In purchasing walnut wood, you pay for the quality but, without a doubt, there are no irregularities in pricing.

Cost of a Walnut Slab

Walnut slabs have the tree’s natural color and texture. Enthusiasts of wood slabs found a unique way of making tables and furniture using slabs.

Its cost varies from $2 to $8 per square foot. It is a bit cheaper than walnut furniture-grade lumber.

Walnut’s Price Against Other Top Wood Choices

How can you be certain if the walnut wood is expensive or the price is right? One way to gauge is by checking the prices of other leading wood materials. Here, I’ve provided the average market prices per square foot for some popular woods, including oak, ivory, mahogany, and cherry. This should give you a clearer perspective on walnut’s pricing.

Red Oak

A square foot of red oak costs $2 to $6. The price is considered moderate for domestic lumber but its thicker planks and a quarter-sized board are a bit expensive though.

spreading oil on red oak cutting board

White Oak

White oak costs range from $4 to $7 per square foot. It is more expensive than red oak because it represents exceptional value to woodworkers.

White Oak

Maple

Maple lumber ranges from $3 to $10 per square foot. The cost of maple wood is higher than oak wood because its lumber is commonly made of sapwood. 

staining maple wood

African Blackwood

African Blackwood, recognized as one of the world’s most expensive wood, can fetch a price of $100 per board foot. But I’ll tell you, it’s quite challenging to work with, whether you’re using hand tools or machinery.

African Blackwood

Pink Ivory

Another expensive lumber is pink ivory which costs $80 per board foot. Woodworkers often used pink ivory wood for carving and turning. You just need to watch out for the edges where the tear-out can occur.

Pink Ivory

Mahogany

Mahogany wood is a bit cheaper than walnut. You can buy $6 to $8 per square foot of mahogany lumber.

Mahogany board

Cherry Wood

For $4 to $7, you can purchase cherry wood. This wood is considered popular material for woodworking. Its price is almost the same as walnut lumber.

milled Cherry wood

Why is Walnut Priced a Lot Higher?

The lumber from walnut trees is considered to be one of the most luxurious non-exotic woods available on the market. Also, walnut wood tends to have a higher price because it has limitations on size. 

Walnut is rarely on hand in the market because the availability of walnut wood depends on the maturity of walnut trees. Therefore, if supply does not meet the market demand, walnut’s price gets higher.

Uses of Walnut

Walnut wood offers the qualities such as durability and sturdiness that a woodworker needs in making pieces of furniture and cabinets. You can easily use walnut wood on decorations because it exhibits good bending qualities and can be nailed or glued without difficulty.

Advantages of Walnut Wood

Stunning Grain Pattern

The stunning grain pattern of walnut wood is one of the characteristics why most people prefer this wood. Its appearance is unique and attractive for furniture and tables.

walnut grain pattern

Unique and Rich Color

The rich color of lumber wood especially the deep brown is what carvers love to use for their masterpiece. Walnut lumber is the most preferred wood for beginner woodworkers.

Robust

If you are looking for more masculine produce from wood materials, you can pick walnut lumber. The color of Walnut wood allows you to make something with a strong and bold appearance.

Water and Mold Resistance

Walnut wood isn’t the top contender when it comes to water and mold resistance. However, you can certainly enhance its longevity by applying oil and sealant. It’s just a natural characteristic of wood to shrink and warp as it ages.

Great for Finishing

Furniture and tables are often finished with walnut wood. This is common because of the quality and appearance that walnut lumber. It mimics the unique patterns and natural color of the wood.

Is Black Walnut Also Expensive?

Black walnut wood ranges from $5 to $19 per board foot. It is a bit pricey from other types of walnut wood because the black walnut wood’s durability and color.

black walnut

Why is Black Walnut Pricey?

Aside from decay resistance, black walnut is popular with its rich brown color. This color is a classy look in interior designs.

Cost of Black Walnut Tree

A black walnut tree is currently averaging from $300 to $1,000 per piece.

FAQ

Which wood is more expensive: oak or walnut?

The more expensive wood between oak and walnut is the latter. On average, walnut lumber is sold at $9 per foot while red and white oak are priced at $7 and $3 per foot, respectively. Despite this, the prices in the market depend on the availability of the supply and demand of wood.

Is walnut a luxury wood?

Yes, walnut is considered to be a luxury wood. The dark colorations and unique patterns of walnut wood make it a luxury wood. Its durability, density, and resistance to warping also contribute to its premium status.

Moreover, the limited availability and high demand for walnut further enhance its perception as a luxury wood. Common households prefer walnut wood for wood decorations and artistry floorings. 

Is walnut wood the best out there?

Walnut wood is the best lumber for furniture, tables, and other special woodwork. There are different types of walnut wood that you can choose from. But the best part is, you can purchase walnut wood at an affordable cost.

Is it good to use for furniture?

Walnut wood is good to use for furniture when it comes to patterns and colors. However, it cannot withstand too much exposure to dust and water. Furniture and tables made of walnut wood need regular maintenance to keep a classy appearance.

How about hardwood floors?

Walnut wood is one the best options due to its stability for hardwood floors. Also, its unique patterns and colors can give a lavish and artistry appearance to floorings. This is the top reason for the reviews of walnut wood floorings.

Conclusion

Compared to the most common and used wood types today, walnut wood is expensive and high in demand. For its price, it has higher quality due to its strength and versatility. 

Seasoned woodworkers and published journals have also proved that walnut wood is one of the most reliable wood materials for homes and construction buildings. 

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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