Known commonly by its nickname, “White Walnut” (a nickname which is earned, as it is a member of the true walnut genus, Juglans), Butternut is considerably lighter and less dense than its walnut (Juglans genus) compatriots; combined with its light weight and low density and hardness, it is very easy to work. Courtesy of its fluted trunks, the lumber produced by Butternut trees can have some irregular, but visually-striking, grain patterns. Its pleasant light tan coloration has a very pastel look, and certain examples can exhibit a pink or reddish tint.
Sustainability: This species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. That said, many Butternut trees in North America have been afflicted by a fungal disease known as “Butternut canker.” There has been a rapid decline in its population, prompting the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list it as a “species of federal concern.” The tree has received similar attention in Canada, also.
Common Uses: Veneer, carving, furniture, interior trim, boxes, and crates.
Comments: This is a very soft, easy-to-work wood. Despite its light weight and lack of density, it is a fairly durable wood. (… although, like all walnuts, the wood is susceptible to insect attack.) Its recent sharp decline in population could lead to this tree getting federal protection, as it already is receiving this attention from Canada. Like its walnut cousins, the wood turns, glues and finishes well.