Paragraph 44. Native walnut is divided into two general classes, black walnut and white walnut. The white walnut, or butternut, is of little importance among the timbers of commerce, but the black walnut is possibly our most valuable native cabinet wood. Black walnut once grew in abundance in almost all of the Mississippi basin, where the forests were practically filled with large and beautiful walnut trees. In the days of the early settlement of these regions the settlers felt that the logs had but little value and consequently piled and burned thousands of feet of this very valuable timber in order to clear the ground for agricultural purposes. Black walnut was also used very largely for fence rails, and much of it for firewood. On account of this great waste it is now almost entirely destroyed; what is left is used only for the finest of work, such as in gunstocks, tool handles and veneer for cabinet work. The name black walnut is derived from the color of the wood, for it is almost always very dark, at least a beautiful rich chocolate brown. The grain and figure of the wood are usually very pronounced. The most beautiful veneer comes from the cross-grained logs and knots. The wood shrinks but slightly in drying and does not warp badly and takes on a beautiful polish. The beauty of walnut seems to increase with age. On account of its scarcity it has almost entirely passed off the lumber market. While there are a great many other kinds of hardwood trees which furnish more or less timber for commerce, the ones already enumerated are the most important because they are abundant and therefore the most common in general use. Most of the other hardwood trees belong to some of the families already mentioned.

Walnut 339