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View Brad36's profile

Has anyone worked with locust

by Brad36
posted 03-14-2012 05:34 PM


22 replies so far

View bruc101's profile

bruc101

568 posts in 2194 days


#1 posted 03-14-2012 07:11 PM

We’ve got a some locust here and it’s harvested mostly for split rail fences, burns hot in a wood stove too.
I’ve not seen any furniture built with locust but have seen a lot of hand rails in log homes made with locust.
I’ve got a friend that uses it for hand rails.
We’ve got a cedar split rail fence around our home instead of the locust, was about 1/2 the price. Once either age here and turn grey I can’t tell the difference unless I get up close to it.

-- Bruce http://plans.sawmillvalley.org http://www.sawmillgirls.com

View interpim's profile

interpim

1132 posts in 2111 days


#2 posted 03-14-2012 07:25 PM

I’ve turned locust before… it is a beautiful wood, but is very hard on your tools. I’ve seen Locust logs buried in the ground for a fence before start to sprout new leaves… It grows like a weed and is tough as nails.

Click for details

-- San Diego, CA

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1578 days


#3 posted 03-14-2012 07:34 PM

Brad, I would be interested in some for a small feature. Send me a PM if you are wanting to unload some.

I have not worked with it before, but like the look of it!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Don W's profile

Don W

15026 posts in 1220 days


#4 posted 03-14-2012 07:51 PM

I’ve worked some with locust. The native north east stuff gets extremely hard when its dry. Keep your tools sharp. I once took the teeth off my chainsaw trying to cut a piece of old locust. Its great for fence post because it will outlast you even at the ground level. As Bruce said, it’ll burn forever in a wood stove.

That said it is a nice looking wood.

I’m not sure how you’ll cut reclaimed 100 year old locust. Plan on lots of sharpening.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View benchbuilder's profile

benchbuilder

101 posts in 1103 days


#5 posted 03-14-2012 09:33 PM

I believe it would make one great workbench.

View Brad36's profile

Brad36

13 posts in 918 days


#6 posted 03-14-2012 10:05 PM

I didn’t think about that benchbuilder thats a great idea I just stated puting a shop together to and need a good workbench

View Nomad62's profile

Nomad62

709 posts in 1611 days


#7 posted 03-14-2012 11:25 PM

It is gorgeous, but as stated above it destroys an edge. I cut some black locust for firewood, I had sparks from the chain as I cut it. I won’t use it, but some people do. It is a green hue when first sliced, then slowly turns dark, almost black, as a lot of time goes by. The workbench idea is a good one indeed.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1030 days


#8 posted 03-15-2012 12:17 AM

I have turned some handles for chisels & files.
It is hard and looks good.

I’ll return with couple of pics.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View HamS's profile

HamS

1168 posts in 1041 days


#9 posted 03-15-2012 12:46 AM

Black Locust are amazing trees. I planted four trees in 2003. Three of those trees are 4-5 inches in diameter now and 25 ft tall. I prune the lower limbs to make the trunks grow straight. They also have self seed seven or eight more trees that are already taller than I am. That doesn’t count the seedling I probably mow over. I am starting to get prunings big enough for tool handles and etc now.

I planted them to form kind of a hedgerow between my homestead and the cornfield. they are great at that.

-- My mother named me Hamilton, I have been trying to earn my nickname ever since.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3954 posts in 1032 days


#10 posted 03-15-2012 01:45 AM

We considered Black Locust to be pests, get one and they spring up everywhere. Cut one down and three more will grow back. They last forever as fence posts and so should make some exceptional outdoor furniture or decking.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1313 days


#11 posted 03-15-2012 02:35 AM

We have two floors of Black Locust; it was nice to work with. It is a beautiful wood. We found that the wood milled very nicely. The aged color reminds me of the color of dark honey.
It is also known around our area of Eastern Virginia as “Poor Man’s Teak”.

-- Barbara

View devann's profile

devann

1735 posts in 1345 days


#12 posted 03-15-2012 02:45 AM

I’m thinking it might be as hard as bois d’arc. If so you’ll need some super sharp cutters.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1128 posts in 1128 days


#13 posted 03-15-2012 03:54 AM

I think that the work bench is a great use for it.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT15 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln

View Don W's profile

Don W

15026 posts in 1220 days


#14 posted 03-15-2012 04:02 AM

If its green it mills nice. I may have mis-read your post. For some reason I was thinking it was reclaimed. If its green, mill it now. sparks when the chain saw hits a dry locust chunk is not an exaggeration.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Brad36's profile

Brad36

13 posts in 918 days


#15 posted 03-15-2012 09:28 AM

The logs have been holding up a barn for almost a 100 years I cut this little 20” peace on the band saw and the saw did like tjat much its the hardest thing iv ever cut

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

564 posts in 1030 days


#16 posted 03-15-2012 11:51 AM

Here are my pictures of the handles. The wood plank look pretty much like Brad36’s pic.
The guy who sold me the lumber intentionally had the lumber cut a 1-1/4”. He said that due to the nature of locust, it tend to twist and warp as they dry. The extra thickness will allow someone to mill it down to 3/4”.

Since I am using it as short pieces, it really didn’t matter and I gain the extra thickness which was perfect for the tool handles. The wood is hard and heavy.

The finish is amber Shellac.
You can see that there is two unfinished handles in the center.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1133 posts in 1415 days


#17 posted 03-15-2012 05:02 PM

I’ve never worked with a locust, however; they are pretty good roasted. :D

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1056 posts in 1778 days


#18 posted 03-15-2012 05:41 PM

Hi Brad… Oh man..this is one of my favorite trees.. I know an absolute ton of information about this tree and the wood. I can summarize or this would be a 4-5 page long essay. Suffice…

Black Locust is one of the oldest tree species in North America, a remnant from the time when North america was a tropical rainforest. The wood structure and properties are far more like a tropical tree from south America than any other domestic angiosperm. There is only one know natural grove of Black locust in the virginia / north carolina area. Yet the tree grows absolutely everywhere and is considered a useful weed… I found it growing all over in Italy too. The tree absorbs calcium oxalate as it grows, which gives the wood resistance to rot and insect damage, which is why is dulls tools so easily, but also why it is still used to hold up walls in Mines.

Black locust is from the legume family, and relies upon a symbiotic relationships with specific fungus and molds which live in “nodes” among the roots, which sucks nitrogen out of even the poorest soils. Thus the tree is used to shore up damaged soils and loose soil areas… they promote other plants to grow around them. Alas, there are several toxic components in black locust including the toxic protein robin, the glycoside robitin, and the alkaloid robinine, found in EVERY PART of the tree. These are only toxic only if ingested.. along with thorns, these are both protections against animals and insects. Working and handling the wood is NOT toxic, but as with ALL wood breathing the dust is very bad. The wood is very dense, heavy, it sinks in water and will fade to a amazing silver if left to weather in the outdoors. oh.. and it tends to glow yellow under a black light. Finishes really well, but no need to go beyond 320 grit… it does not seem to stain well, but that could just be me. :)

Oh but if you have any scrap of knots or useless boards, let me know.. I will take them.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1056 posts in 1778 days


#19 posted 03-15-2012 05:44 PM

I forgot to ask if you meant Black Locust or Honey Locust.. entirely different species with radically different properties.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3954 posts in 1032 days


#20 posted 03-15-2012 06:02 PM

That’s a handsome plank of wood Brad. Wonder if it’s worth taking to a sawmill for cutting.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Brad36's profile

Brad36

13 posts in 918 days


#21 posted 03-15-2012 06:38 PM

Im going to have it milled my buddy has a portable mill. I believe its black locust and thanks epjartisan for the info

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

1056 posts in 1778 days


#22 posted 04-19-2012 10:27 PM

Ha.. sorry, I just read another post and double checked.. not calcium but silica.. being wrong makes me happy.

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

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