This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
There are a number of different kinds of walnut trees, of which only one or two, however, yield timber which is suitable for use in building construction. The best known trees are the "English walnut," the "black walnut," the "white walnut" or "butternut," and the "Circassian walnut." The English walnut grows in Europe, and is not very popular as a finishing wood, while it is too expensive to be used for rough lumber. Formerly great quantities of it were used in the manufacture of gun stocks, so much so as to create a demand for the entire supply. The black walnut is a native of North America, and until about thirty years ago it was used very extensively in the United States for interior finish and furniture, taking the place of oak for these purposes. During recent years, however, the wood has ceased to be popular, and is now very seldom used. This is partly due to the scarcity and consequent high price of the timber. It is a heavy hard wood of coarse texture and of a rich dark-brown color. Very handsome pieces having a beautiful figure may be selected for veneers for furniture and cabinet work. Although the wood shrinks somewhat in drying, it works easily, stands well, and will take a good polish. The tree is large and of rapid growth. It was formerly very abundant in the Allegheny region, and was found from New England to Texas and from Michigan to Florida. White walnut, or butternut, is somewhat like black walnut wood, but is of a lighter color and is not so pleasing when finished. Circassian walnut is beautifully figured, and is sometimes used for piano cases, and costly cabinet work, but it is very scarce and very expensive.