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I've been looking at getting some timber for a shelf, and found a place online selling walnut "sap allowed" - which I initially took to mean "might be 'sappy'".

Having thought some more about it though, does it mean "sap has been allowed to [drain/dry/whatever you do to get rid of sap]"?

If it means "sappy", would that make it unsuitable for a shelf in anyway? If I decided to varnish it or something, would the sealing effect present a problem?

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It means sapwood (lighter colored) is permitted in the grading of the board,so it's not guaranteed to be a full-face of "black" walnut (which is the most common walnut to run into that terminology for.) If the's been steamed, the color may not be all that noticeable, since that migrates color into the sapwood from the heartwood - for air dried there is a striking difference (and I consider it more often of benefit than a defect.)

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