Wood Desciptions

Turkish Circassian Walnut

Wood Type:  Juglans Regia
Native to the Caucusus Mountains
Seedling:  wild wood, normally uncultivated
Color:  blond, brown, red, to almost black
Weight:  varies, from region to region - blank to blank
Density:  varies from region to region - blank to blank
Figure:  varies according to type of cut, slab, 1/4 saw, etc. almost all has some faint fiddle back to extreme fiddle back; higher grades exhibit a translucence or inner glow as if there is light from within
Stability:  extremely good, the best of all walnut
Hardness:  varies from region to region - blank to blank
Workability:  the best in the opinion of most stockmakers
This is the wood by which all other wood is judged  in the stockmaking trade

California English Walnut

Common Names: California English, California circassian, most is grafted or high bred, nursery patented and there are vast numbers of varieties.  There is a small amount of seedling, these trees are used as pollenators and are true California circassian
Wood Type:  Juglans Regia
U.S.A. Majority:  California, Oregon, Arizona and shade tree
Color:  straw yellow to honey red back ground, dark brown to black striping and marbling, most all wood is orchard wood and is grafted to black walnut root stock
Weight:  varies, but generally heavier than true circassian
Density:  generally heavier and harder than circassian
Figure:  all types, subject type of cut, 1/4 saw, slab, etc., some translucence but not common
Workability:  very good
Stability: generally very good
In general has the highest figure and color contrast


Wood Type: Bastogne, Paradox and who knows how many other names, combinations, etc.
Bastogne is a true act of nature, a pollinated cross between California seedling or Grafted English and California Black or Claro Walnut and or any thin shelled and thick shelled species.  It is nothing more or less than a mule.  The trees do not even bloom, let alone produce any fruit.
Region:  mostly California but sold by nurseries as shade trees, so can be quite widely spread geographically.  The bulk of the Bastogne that we have is shade tree from the interior of the state of Washington, inland cultivated desert.
Color:  dark to light browns, red to orange patches and black stripes, some yellow orange and green
Weight:  normally on the heavy side for walnut
Density:  quite dense but fairly open pored like black
Figure:  varies from cut to cut, slab, 1/4 saw, etc., very heavy fiddle back and quilting in the upper grades and some translucence
This wood has been the choice for big Magnum Rifles, over and under shotguns, etc., where lots of fancy wood is desired and weight is not a problem
Stability:  quite good
Hardness:  as hard or harder than most English
Workability:  sometimes a bit chippy, but this is mainly due to the extreme figure, fiddle back, etc.
If you like flamboyant color, extreme figure- this is your type of wood in the higher grades.

American Black Walnut

Wood Type:  Juglans Nigra
Most common wood used in American manufactured firearms
Species or Types:  South East, North East, Mid North, Wisconsin Mich., etc., South West California and Oregon.  Is not native to most of extreme North West Washington, Idaho, BC, etc., Montana
Color:  dark brown to black, some red to black, black to brown and streaks of marbling.
Weight:  varies from region to region but normally heavier than circassian or California English
Density:  varies from region to region, figure varies according to type of cut, slab, 1/4 saw crotch, etc.  Some have extreme fiddle back and some quilting
Stability:  normally not as stable as Juglians Regia
Hardness:  varies from region to region - blank to blank
Workability:  all the way from very good to poor
The best black walnut that we have encountered or used has been what we call Shade Tree Wood. This is mostly wood that has grown in yards, fence rows and parks.  This wood was planted by settlers from the east and Midwest, or purchased at a nursery and planted in a yard.  Most of this wood is found in areas where the wood is not native. In the state of Washington, east of the Cascade mountain range,  these trees could not grow in the wild due to lack of water, 90% are propagated, slow growing- extreme, seasonal changes, summer to winter, etc.  This is the black walnut that we mainly deal in and we consider it to be some of  the best.

Claro Walnut

Wood Type:  Juglans Hindsii
Sub-Species:  native to the Claro Valley in California
Color:  highly colored and figured, but quite brash and chippy
Weight:  light weight normally, varies from region to region.  
Some pieces I've had were as hard or dense as any English walnut and very good, but this not the norm.