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Butternut board


30" Wide Butternut Wide Matched Butternut Boards

Butternut lumber is the latest addition to the small group of woods we inventory. We started to carry butternut at the request of our customers who were looking for wide and matching lumber, primarily for panel stock in libraries, kitchens, etc. Butternut is difficult to find in widths much over 8", and we typically have boards up to 24" wide and have had material as wide as 30". We carry mostly 4/4 and 5/4 lumber with some 8/4, including wide stock for Windsor chair seats, and 10/4 through 16/4.

The wood is a light tan that ages to a nice doeskin color over time. It typically doesn't have a lot of figure or wild grain, but the boards can have a nice cathedral pattern which we try to keep centered in the wider boards. It is a member of the walnut family, and it is often referred to as "white walnut", with a similar grain structure and appearance, but a lighter weight or specific gravity. It carves and works very easily, and will take a nice stain, although these days it is chosen more for the fact that its natural color is between the dark and light hardwoods that are generally available. Historically it was used as a walnut substitute in areas where walnut wasn't readily available, but these days it is sought after where a lighter color is desired, and the wood ages to a beautiful and rich light brown over time.

8/4 Butternut 21" wide for single piece seat blanks

Bookmatched butternut

Matched set of 5/4 Ultra wide Butternut

Butternut is a northern hardwood and is a minor species that grows singly or in small groves, so the supply has always been limited. Today the butternut tree is severely threatened by an introduced canker disease that was introduced to this country from abroad, and the mortality rate where the disease is present can approach 90%. A lot of the trees are being harvested ahead of the blight or at the first signs of disease, and we have been able to procure some very nice old logs, the majority of which we saw here at our own mill. We would prefer to have the trees be healthy and standing as the species is a part of the forest diversity and a great source of food for wildlife, but under the circumstances all we can do is see that is utilized well. It is another of many of our threatened species, and its long term prognosis isn't good.

Butternut Prices


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Irion Lumber Company 980 Calkins Rd. Wellsboro PA 16901 570.724.1895