For many woodworkers, Claro walnut is the connoisseur’s walnut — and it’s easy to see why. Claro is a medley of subtle intermixed colors — browns, reds, black, purple, yellows — and beautiful figure.
What is Claro Walnut Wood?
It is difficult to precisely define Claro walnut. Claro is the wood of the Hindis walnut tree that grows from California up to Washington. It has a subtle-but-gorgeous marbled color palette that’s highly sought after. In fact, it’s one of the more expensive types of wood — not only because of its color, but because it’s durable, high-quality and easy to work with.
Look At That Figure!
Claro is at its best in quartersawn and riftsawn boards with a marbled assortment of rich and varied colors. Add curly figure and this is as beautiful as any wood you’ll ever see!
Good to Know: The shape of the wood’s grain and the pattern it creates is referred to as its figure. The most common figures associated with Claro wood are curly, crotch and burl.
The tree, of course, must be endowed by nature, but the skill of the sawyer is critical in bringing forth the potential in a good log. Particularly for Claro, it’s important to choose a sawyer-seller whose wood aesthetic is in line with yours.
You can go for a more subtle, clean look:
Or choose a cut with a ton of curl:
Flatsawn Claro can also be lovely, no question, with dramatic engaging swirls and colors. But good flatsawn boards are harder to come by because many are loaded with grain reversals and knots, which overpower the nice colors. As with black walnut, boards with excellent crotch figure are available, as well as impressive large slabs.
Plan the Look
When designing with Claro walnut, especially choice material, be aware that this wood has major visual impact. Between its depth and variety of colors and figures, it’ll always be the star of your piece. Because of this, you might want to use Claro to create simple designs and let the wood do all the speaking for itself.
If you’re hesitant about making a design all in loud Claro walnut, good news: it works great when paired with other woods. Pear wood’s salmon tone enhances Claro’s reddish brown hues, while its fineness contrasts Claro’s porous texture. It’s a killer combo! Claro walnut also goes well with dark brown woods. These can serve as a backdrop and really let the Claro shine.
Working With Claro Walnut Wood
Claro walnut has physical properties that are very similar to black walnut, including excellent hygroscopic stability. The working properties are very favorable for any woodworker.
This wood can sometimes be slightly brittle to plain, but the best surface can be produced by simply using a tuned smoothing plane tool . If your board has lots of swirls in the grain or grain reversals, this can be managed with some scraping. Claro is also easy to saw, chisel, glue and join.
The fantastic mix of color in Claro walnut becomes even more vivid with a good finish. Solvent-based varnish in thin coats (or for a lower key look, oil-varnish mix) pop the figure and enhance the color.
If you’re looking for a new beautiful wood to work with, you can’t go wrong with Claro.