Black Walnut – the Black Beauty of flutes

From our series of Profiling The Woods We Use

What is Black Walnut?

Juglans nigra, or Black Walnut, is a valuable hardwood species. The trees can grow to 30 to 40 meters in height. In forest conditions, where the trees must compete for light, it grows a tall, straight trunk.

Black Walnut as a flute wood

Black Walnut is a truly handsome wood and produces a voice that is bright, clear, and strong due to the hardness of the wood. The wood colour is typically a swirling combination of browns and blacks. This is highly figured wood, with knot inclusions and other wild grain patterns.

We like to use Black Walnut for Custom Carved Totems as it is a joy to carve and handles well with detailed work.

What looks good with Black Walnut?

What can you add to such a handsome wood? Yes it looks stunning on it’s own – like a decadent chocolate desert. That said, there are a couple of pairings that I particularly like. Match Black Walnut with Puriri – equally dark yet offers a muted earthy contrast. Or try it with the outrageous tiger-print grain of Rewarewa to zing up the look.

Black Walnut looks great with a Turquoise or Lapis Lazuli stone for a bold contrast, or try garnet as a sneaky insert.

How stable is this wood?

Black walnut is a strong and robust wood. Part of the joy of working with walnut is finding the knots and gnarls and working these special features into the flute grain while keeping the integrity of the flute structure. We typically work with the heart wood which is darker.

Sustainable woods

Black Walnut is native to America but grows well also in New Zealand. There are no plantations in NZ, so our wood comes from fallen trees or trees that need to be removed from private properties and then collected by a keen wood worker up north. The wood we get is hand selected and milled by a friend who reserves a special selection for Southern Cross Flutes.

What our customers say about Black Walnut

Hi Todd and Bruce, I received my beautiful flute today. It sounds and plays beautifully! I’m so impressed by the craftsmanship and I’m so pleased that I waited for the wood I wanted. So much character in the grain of walnut.  It feels lovely to play; mesmerising actually. It’s so relaxing for me to play after a stressful day at work. My neighbours came around having heard it and asked what instrument was creating such calm and beautiful sounds. I’ve given them one of your cards.

Thank you so much for being the craftsman that you are and having the passion to produce such beautiful pieces of art.  I may be ordering another flute from you in the near future.

Many thanks,

May, Black Walnut Love Flute

Hi Todd & Bruce, my new Walnut G Hijaz flute from you just arrived this morning, safe and sound (perfectly packaged), just in time for Christmas.

This is a masterpiece, I absolutely love it 

The voice is … just perfect, clear and powerful, fully resonant. Great Hijaz tuning. I have to confess that it took me a moment to understand the fingers placement – must be the effect of age… – but it is self evident once one gets the knack of it!

The wood is absolutely wonderful. Fantastic grain, very smooth surface, you really picked a nice piece for me! And the Punamu blends in perfectly. 

I have a special relation to Walnut, so it is wonderful to have such a nice walnut flute. Thanks so much mate and congrats for making such pieces!

Philippe, Black Walnut Hijaz Grandfather Flute

Wow wow wow wow!!! Beautiful sound! I can see I will live on this one!! We made a beautiful eagle song together and it’s a stunning key combination. Mysterious and gorgeous. Incredibly happy with its song and its look! The photo didn’t do it justice. I was blown away by the skill of how you have crafted this flute, and how you kept the integrity of the black walnut wood. You have made my day!

Amelia, Black Walnut Harmony Flute

A few Black Walnut flutes we have crafted

Like what you see?

Check out our Made to Order Black Walnut Flutes

Or go to our Design Your Own Flute online form (scroll to the bottom the page) and let us know what you want.

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