Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood: Which is Best for Your Applications?

Black walnut wood is durable, straight, and darker than butternut wood. Black walnut wood can be used for outdoor purposes whereas butternut is not suitable for outdoor use. The biggest difference between them is that Butternut is a softwood whereas Black Walnut is a hardwood.

Butternut Wood 

Butternut wood is an easy to work with, stable, and versatile softwood. It is also known as White Walnut. Butternut is native to the Eastern United States and Southeast Canada.

Butternut is famous for making Cabinetry, Architectural Millwork, Boxes, Crates, and interior. It is non-durable and also susceptible to insect attack.

Black Walnut Wood

Black Walnut Wood is an extremely durable, strong, heavy, and rot resistant hardwood. It is very popular in the United States and easily available. It is highly rot-resistant but it is susceptible to insect attack.

Black walnut wood is native to North America. Black walnut nuts are edible and used commercially in the United States. It is hard, heavy, and resilient, capable of resisting warping. Due to its great properties, it is the best choice for any woodworking.

#Butternut(White Walnut)Black Walnut Wood
Scientific Name:Juglans cinereaJuglans nigra
Tree Size:65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter100-120 ft (30-37 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Janka Hardness:490 lbf (2,180 N)1,010 lbf (4,490 N)
Colorlight to medium tanlighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown
Workability:Great Workability.Somewhat fine.
Common Uses:Furniture, interior, and crates.Furniture, cabinetry, gunstocks

Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood Uses

Butternut Uses

  1. Due to the heartwood straight grain, It is often used to make furniture and is a favorite of woodcarvers.
  2. Its bark and nuts are used to dye cloth colors between light yellow and dark brown.
  3. It is lighter and less dense than Black walnut, Therefore it is easier to make smaller objects such as boxes, crates, and decorative objects.

Black Walnut Wood Uses

  1. Due to its dark-colored color, it is in high demand for making fine furniture, valuable gunstocks.
  2. Its hardness is 1,010 lbf (4,490 N), which is sufficient to use as flooring. Because it is less likely to have scratches and dents.
  3. The heartwood of black walnut ranks with the most durable woods. So this is the right wood for many interior and exterior applications.

Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood Color / Appearance:

Butternut: Its heartwood light and Sapwood is a pale yellowish-white. sometimes with a reddish tint. Its growth rings color is darker than the color of heartwood. Butternut has a straight grain with a medium to coarse texture.

Black Walnut Wood Color / Appearance: Its heartwood is light brown color or a dark chocolate brown color with dark streaks. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. It has a straight grain with a medium texture and moderate natural luster.

Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood Workability

Butternut: It has great workability with both hands and machine tools. After planing or sanding, fuzzy surfaces begin to form. Therefore sharp cutters and fine-grit sandpaper is recommended. Nail and screw do not require pre-drilling.

Black Walnut Wood: Sometimes it is difficult to work with a small machine due to irregular or figured grain. To work well, sharp tools are required. Glues, stains, and finishes well. It works very well during the steam bending process. 

Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood Pricing / Availability:

Butternut: It is easily available in the market in the medium to low range price for a domestic hardwood.

Black Walnut Wood: It is very popular compared to Butternut and widely available for domestic applications. Prices are in the high range for a domestic species.

In conclusion

Black walnut is more durable and stable than butternut wood so it is more popular for indoor and outdoor applications. But both have their own properties.

Which wood species is right for you, it depends on the purpose of your use. The physical properties of both the woods are different from each other.

If you are looking for wood to make durable furniture then Black Walnut is more acceptable than Butternut because it has enough hardness and stable. Whereas butternut wood is good for boxes and crates.