This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V23", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The Gardener's Chronicle says:
In connection with the subject of the uses of black walnut wood (Juglans nigra), referred to in the Gardener's Chronicle for August 28 last, p. 2(33, we have recently received information from an undoubted authority that American black walnut is of no use for gun-stocks, being too short in the grain, besides being gritty; and that the Americans even, who make some of their gun-stocks out of it, prefer to buy for best work English, Swiss and Turkey wood."
Knowing that most of the guns we have seen had black walnut stocks, we were rather surprised at the expression "no use for gun-stocks;" and handed the paragraph to one who has been largely in the gun business, and give herewith his reply: -
"Perhaps one per cent. of the guns made in the United States have imported stocks. The government works and all the large factories using machinery, such as Colts, Winchesters, Sharps, etc, use American wood. It is only the small gunsmiths who make single guns to order who use imported walnut, and then only for fine work. The trouble with American walnut is that the grain is too open, not that it is too short. Occasionally magnificent stocks are cut from American wood, but then they are harder to work than the Italian walnut, which cuts very easily, and is well adapted to hand tools; its slow growth makes it very close grained, which is another advantage. A wholesale dealer in arms, selling some thousands of rough stocks in a year, may include, perhaps, a few dozens of the imported goods. These are cut in the Appennines principally, the wood being better than British wood, which can scarcely be had, the supply of walnut in Great Britain being practically exhausted."