For whatever reason, we have access to a lot of black walnut lumber around here. A lot of twisted, knotty, warped, split 1x black walnut, that is. Hell, at least it is cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for. The stuff is sort of a nuisance to sift through, and oftentimes, up to half of any given pile later becomes firewood.
But I have been using this stuff almost exclusively for making window trim, and baseboard, and other finish work. I’ve gotten a lot of practice picking through piles, and hopefully finding that one piece that will actually work. Under that sometimes ugly surface, there is some really gorgeous wood.
From Scrap Wood to Making Window Trim
Check out that image to see what I mean. The first image is a typical section of board whose length and width just barely worked for my purposes of making two pieces of window trim. Knots and split grain made the board beyond about worthless. The first step, then, was finding that section, and then ripping it to create two pieces. After that, having also decided which side would be the visible face, I planed the wood down to reveal some surprising grain, really quite wild and nice stuff. The color really popped, too.
After all of that, I cut it to my final length, and I brushed on a healthy layer of exterior grade Heritage Natural Finish. Now it really popped!
It often amazes me what is hidden in a seemingly marginal pile of lumber. Sometimes, you get lucky. Either way, it’s a good way of doing finish carpentry for cheap, which is a huge bonus. Of course, the time adds up…. you can’t have it all, after all.