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

Black walnut wood is durable, straight, and darker in color than butternut wood. Black walnut wood can be used outdoors, whereas butternut is not suitable for outdoor use. The most significant difference is that butternut is a soft wood, whereas black walnut is a hardwood.

Butternut Wood

Butternut wood, also called White Walnut, is recognized for its ease of workability, stability, and versatility as a softwood. Native to the Eastern United States and Southeast Canada. Butternut is famous for making Cabinetry, Architectural Millwork, Boxes, Crates, and interiors. It is non-durable and also susceptible to insect attack.

Despite its favorable qualities, butternuts are categorized as non-durable and susceptible to insect attacks.

Black Walnut Wood

Black Walnut Wood is a highly durable, strong, heavy, and rot-resistant hardwood. It is very popular in the United States and readily 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 excellent 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 Wood Uses

  1. Due to the heartwood straight grain, it is often used to make furniture and is a favorite of woodcarvers.
  2.  It is employed in architectural millwork for moldings, trim, and other decorative elements.
  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 and 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 as one of the most durable woods. So, this is a suitable wood for many interior and exterior applications.


Butternut wood: Its heartwood is light, while the sapwood is a pale yellowish-white, sometimes with a reddish tint. The growth ring color tends to be darker than the heartwood. Butternuts have a straight grain with a medium to coarse texture.

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

Workability: Butternut vs Black Walnut Wood

Butternut: It has great workability with both hands and machine tools. It is easy to cutting, shaping, and finishing. 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. 

Pricing and 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, which is more popular for indoor and outdoor applications. But both have their properties.

Which wood species is suitable for you 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, Black Walnut is more acceptable than Butternut because it has enough hardness and stability. At the same time, butternut wood is suitable for boxes and crates.