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Black Walnuts: Slicing Them Isn't Very Easy

Updated on March 14, 2020
firstcookbooklady profile image

Char is a writer who has written for the Freelance Writers International, Yahoo, Constant Content, Squidoo and now Hubpages.

Nut Cutter - How to Safely Cut a Walnut - That Was the Problem

All of the videos I watched to learn how to cut black walnuts, involved a band saw and a pair of pliers. Definitely not safe. I have heard that the one person who was cutting nuts with a pliers, is now deceased. Hope it wasn't because of the slicing method. How tragic! My sympathy to his family.

Now, I had decided to design a holding device for my nuts so that I could slice them without losing any fingers, or my life:

First, I built a jig box that was the width of a black walnut to hold my walnut. Then, I positioned it in front of the saw blade. I drew the saw across the top of the miter box and sliced the nut.

Now, I try to hold them in a jig, and saw them with three blades.

Be careful with power tools.

Be responsible.

Gluing Them Together as the Shapes Warrant Inspiration

This is a Bird
This is a Bird

Black Walnuts

The nations new hobby is making pine needle baskets with sliced walnuts around the rim.

I started by walking in my yard and picking up a bucket full of black walnuts. It is Fall now, and the green husks have turned a dark chocolate brown and are what I describe as crispy and dry. When you press on them, the dark coating basically drops off and reveals a tan nut. Some are not so tan. Some of the dark coating stays on them.

This is okay. When I was a kid, my parents used to split English walnuts in half and make monkey faces. They were adorable. However, I am using black walnuts.

I see that people are using them in pine needle baskets. The cross shape helps start the basket. Some people set them in resin and drill holes around.

I like them. They are pretty. I take a walnut holding jig that I designed. I put the walnut in it, I turn on my radial arm saw and I cut my slice. I move my walnut over and make another slice. It is probably not very safe to do. You have to be careful of walnut pieces flying at your face. Be sure to wear safety glasses if you try it at home. I wear glasses so I feel somewhat protected. Your vision is something that you should protect!

Yes. It works the best to do only two slices. So, out of a walnut, I can get two end pieces, two middles or two halves. The two end pieces can be used for jewelry. The two halves can be used to carve caricatures. The two middles can be used to make a pine-needle basket.

You can try to be consistent with the pattern of the walnut that you are cutting. I prefer to try different angles.

Someone's Pine Needle Basket

See the black walnuts in the top edge of the basket?        type=text
See the black walnuts in the top edge of the basket? type=text

Instructions on how to make a PINE NEEDLE basket

click on the basket picture to go to the webpage, then, hit your left arrow key to return to this webpage. Ooops, sorry. I guess you'll have to Google Nara White Owl and then you'll be taken to the following page:

Pine Needle Baskets by Nara White Owl - Pinterest

Do you need walnut slices??????????

I can cut some for you.

Walnut Slices Waiting to be Cleaned

See the Ears on my Creation? Yes. It's a Head

When They Are Growing

Mmm.....they smell so 'fresh'.... I like the smell of a green walnut.

Perhaps they wouldn't smell like that for long. They would probably scent up my house for a bit, like cedar does. I am not sure when they actually are mature enough to grow into a tree. That's all it takes, a little walnut like these and a little rain, some sun, and VOILA... a walnut tree.

Actually, the truth of the matter is, the green husk is actually the future placenta shall we say. When the green walnut falls off the tree, the husk turns brown. Sometimes, it turns to a fuzzy root system which merges with the dirt in the soil. Soon, it gets somewhat sloppy. If you cut around the husk when it is brown, you will discover it is full of little maggots.

Now, if a squirrel buries said nut, soon a root and a stem starts to grow, ergo new walnut tree.

So, for my idea of having a basket full of walnuts in my house to throw a nice, walnut scent, would end up being a brown, gooey, sloppy mess.

Walnut Mill

I currently slice walnuts using a larger milling system.

It holds the nut in a special clamp and four blades slice the nut into multiple slices. I use the slices for different projects.

How About You

Do you have a need for black walnut slices?

See results

Nut Slicing with a Sawmill

This one did not cut completely off
This one did not cut completely off | Source

Slicing Nuts


My Bald Eagle Walnut Slice

See the wings, head, legs and feet?
See the wings, head, legs and feet? | Source

Pretty Pattern With Blue Background


Glue 12 Together and Make a Pretty Rose


I Even Have Nut Meats for Cookies or Fudge



There are problems. The blades spin too quickly. The slices fly into the air and get lost. The nut is loose and the blades shatter the nut. It's a dusty, dirty job.

Yes. Slicing black walnuts is not an easy process. In fact, the chance of slicing one the first time, is a fifty-fifty chance. You either will be successful, or you will not. I find that if you position a bucket of water at the exit spot, where sawdust usually sprays out, you will be successful in catching the slices. The slice goes into the bucket and stops.

Now, if I pick walnuts off the tree when they are green, I slice them with the husks on. They must be dried to remove the green. They also shrink.

New Guestbook

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    • firstcookbooklady profile imageAUTHOR

      Char Milbrett 

      2 years ago from Minnesota

      Mark: I have heard that there are black walnuts that get rather large. Ours are mid sized. I have many black walnut trees and many, many squirrels... Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      it was a very good year for the black walnuts here in NEPA i got a couple thousand learned how to crack the big ones and now im learning how to shape and cut the smaller ones and the ones that were empty

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      where do I buy and how much buy English walnuts for pine needle baskets?

    • MG Seltzer profile image

      MG Seltzer 

      5 years ago from South Portland, Maine

      I love the green walnut smell too, and I loved seeing the photo of the baby tree. I like tutorials that explain in a problem-solving way, including what didn't work and what corrections were made. Very helpful. Voted this thumbs up!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very cool.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      This has got to be the smallest piece of woodworking I've seen, right up there with turning pens. Thanks for sharing and helping all the digits get to bed after woodworking fun safely. Great job!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That's one piece of woodworking I've never tried. Walnut wood is fun to work with though.

    • kathysart profile image


      9 years ago

      Darn interesting.. very unique lens. THUMBS UP on this one and another one on cookie bars that didn't have a guestbook.

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Never heard of this before. thanks for enlightening me.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      9 years ago from Vermont

      Oh my another crafty use for the hundreds of walnuts that fall and kill my lawn every year. Have you ever heard of black walnut ink? Interesting lens!

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 

      9 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Interesting Lens! Thanks for visiting my lens as well!

    • Nara White Owl profile image

      Nara White Owl 

      9 years ago

      charmilbrettdotcom,I like the way you tell us how to cut the walnuts . Nara


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