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You don't say where it chipped. And no pictures. The chipping may be related to the density of the wood, the fit of the wood to metal, or the strength of the loads. The location of the chips could give a clue.

But yes, different walnut trees will have different densities of their wood, related to how fast/slowly the tree grew. Density affects hardness and tendency to chip. And inner and outer sections of the log will also have different hardness and density.
 
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