The wood is dense, durable and resistant to rot—making it ideal for a wide variety of outdoor applications. Black Locust’s rot-resistant qualities are due to the presence of tyloses and extractives. Tyloses are bulges of plant tissue that block cell vessels making them watertight. Extractives are compounds with anti-fungal properties found outside the cell wall of certain plants, including Black Locust, that foster water resistance. If properly dried, Black Locust has excellent dimensional stability and is prone to minimal shrinkage. The wood’s extreme hardness requires the use of pilot holes when nailing or fastening. If properly fastened during installment, the stability of the wood results in little to no chance in loosening of nails, screws or fasteners. The species has an extensive history of projects that document its durability. A study of Black Locust rot resistance still widely used today was published in 1949 by the U.S. Department Of Agriculture.
ALTERNATIVE TO THE STANDARD
Domestic Black Locust is a sustainable alternative to endangered tropical hardwoods (Ipe or Teak), chemically treated lumber and decay prone woods. The Rainforest Alliance lists Black Locust among of the most preferred alternatives to tropical hardwoods for outdoor applications. The harvesting of rainforest tropical hardwoods is unsustainable; the event of transporting the wood to market is ecologically unfavorable.
Black Locust serves as an alternative to pressure treated lumber, which is treated with a wide variety of Red List chemicals. Pressure treated lumber lasts a fraction of the lifetime compared to Black Locust, and over its lifespan will leach chemicals into the surrounding environment. Black Locust is an organic product- it does not require treatment or finishes to increase its longevity.