Locust wood

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Forum topic by Nomad62 posted 05-07-2010 09:24 PM 1651 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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726 posts in 3159 days

05-07-2010 09:24 PM

Hello all. I’m hoping for information on Locust woods. The black variety grows like a weed here in NW Oregon, and I’ve seen it growing pretty much state-wide. I’m not sure how to recognize the golden locust tree, but I’ve heard it’s around too. I had some logs given to me in an effort to turn them into something besides firewood, they were the worst wood I have ever tried to cut. They relentlessly dulled any blade, and actually would spark when hit with an axe. I presume they were loaded with silica, my only test after all that was how well it heated my home…and they did well for that. I swore I’d never deal with it again, but I see where people do, and it is beautiful stuff. Was the wood I got atypical? Or is that just part of working with it? I suppose a person could find it if they looked hard enough, but it’s not generally for sale in my locale. I’m bound to be able to come up with more, wondering if it would be worth it. Thanx.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

5 replies so far

View Big_Bob's profile


173 posts in 3910 days

#1 posted 05-07-2010 09:38 PM

I buy a lot of Honey Locust wood from a seller on ebay. Her ebay handle is lumberlady6 If you were to email her I am sure she would answer your questions. As for my experiences with Locust wood so far I have been somewhat of a wood goat with the stuff. She would be a better person to ask.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

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3429 posts in 3173 days

#2 posted 05-07-2010 09:53 PM

Much of the advice I have seen related to black locust is that if you want to work it, work it while still green, because once it dries it is just plain tough on tool edges. For outdoor exposure though, it really can’t be beat. Anything you build with it today will likely be around long after you are gone (even if left outdoors).

If I remember right, the seed pods and maybe the leaves and bark are a bit toxic. This site has the specifics, but as of yesterday it is down for maintenance so you may have to check back

-- Galootish log blog,

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4107 days

#3 posted 05-08-2010 01:14 AM

Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) and Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) are not even related even though they both have seed pods/thorns. I don’t think honeylocust does grow in your area (but could be proven wrong) I have both here and what you experienced with black locusts hardness is not atypical, it’s pretty hard stuff 1700 on the Janka hardness scale (white oak is 1360, red oak ~1200 for comparison) ...worth it, sure. It is a very decay resistant hardwood, great for anything outside. And is just nice looking wood for any project inside or out. Check out this link it shows pictures of honeylocust, you can tell the 2 apart by their bark/leaves/seed pods. Click your area and type “locust” where it asks for “common name” it will show black locust too

View mike85215's profile


127 posts in 3346 days

#4 posted 05-08-2010 02:46 AM

There was a question about black locust not too long ago, yes it is extremely hard wood and no what you experienced is not abnormal. I grew up on a farm in western Pa and we used black locust for fence posts and for nothing else. I don’t think that I would recommend using it for firewood as I believe that it has a fair amount of natural creosote in it and may lead to a chimney fire. Even green the wood will dull a chainsaw so fast that you should sharpen the chain before you can even finish cutting the tree for a brush fire.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 3159 days

#5 posted 05-10-2010 06:03 PM

Thanx. I looked at the sites, filled in my questions well. Glad to see (well, sorta) that I wasn’t the only one with my attitude towards it. Onward!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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