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Black locust tree appearance wood uses and lumber

Black locust trees are very common throughout Europe and North America. The tree is also known as false acacia and has excellent wood properties. Black locust lumber is a good alternative for many endangered tropical hardwoods. The scientific name of this tree is robinia pseudoacacia and is part of the leguminosae family. Black locust is a fast growing tree that prefers moist areas like riversides.

black locust deciduous tree with good wood properties

Black locust tree, leaf and fruit description

black locust tree leaves and flowersThe black locust tree can grow to heights up to 80 feet or 25 meters. The tree is classed deciduous and won't have leaves from late autumn till early spring.

Black locust leaves are alternate pinnate arranged and ovate to elliptic shaped.False acacia leaves have a grey green color and are silky smooth.

The blossoms of black locust are very noticeable. These white to yellow colored flowers hang in dense clusters beneath the leaves. A cluster of flowers can reach lengths up to 8 inch or 20 centimetres. Three fruits of the black locust are brown drooping seed pods that reach lengths up to 4 inches or 10 cm.

 

Black locust tree bark and trunk

Young black locust trees have smooth grey brown bark. When the tree gets older the bark gets more furrowed. The trunk of the black locust tree has many small branches that break off easy. The diameter of the trunk depends on the age of the tree. Old trees can have trunks with a diameter up to 3 feet or 0.9 meters.

 

Black locust wood properties and durability

Fresh black locust heartwood has a yellow to dark brown color. The sapwood of this tree is lighter and has a yellow color. Black locust wood has medium fine texture, high bending and crushing strength, high stiffness and shock resistance. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 750 kg per cubic meter. The durability of black locust wood is classed as 1 or 2 high durability. Due to these properties black locust wood is a good alternative for many endangered balau tropical hardwood species.

 

Black locust wood working tips and uses

black locust wood good quality hardwood with many usesBlack locust wood is heavy and moderately hard. It is therefore difficult to work with hand tools. The wood contains levels of tannin and has blunting effect on cutting edges.

Stainless steel tools are advised when working with black locust wood as is pre drilling when screws or nails are used. Black locust lumber is used in a wide range of products like

  • outdoor furniture
  • flooring
  • decking
  • fence posts
  • rails
  • tool handles
  • turned articles
  • and more

More black locust pictures!