About the Tree

Black Locust wood, Robinia pseudoacacia, a tree with many names, but with the same environmental attributes.

Black Locust wood

The Black Locust is also known as, Robinia pseudoacacia, Robinia, Acacia, False Acacia, Salcam. It is native to the United States but is plentiful globally. With its fast and easy growth habit, the tree’s ability to sprout new shoots by underground stems makes Black Locust wood a sustainable hardwood. The tree’s deep root system helps control erosion and aids in rejuvenating soil as Black Locust wood is a nitrogen-fixing species. As a legume, its seed pods have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil.

Black Locust wood durability

Black Locust wood is dense, durable, and resistant. It is therefore ideal for a wide variety of outdoor applications. Black Locust wood’s qualities are due to the presence of tyloses and extractives. Tyloses are plant tissues that block cell vessels making them watertight. Extractives are compounds with anti-fungal properties. They are found outside the cell wall of Black Locust wood that foster water resistance. If properly dried, it has excellent dimensional stability and minimal shrinkage. Black Locust wood has an extensive history of projects that document its durability.

Black Locust wood, a natural alternative

Black Locust wood is a sustainable alternative to endangered tropical hardwoods, chemically treated lumber, and decay-prone woods. The harvesting of rainforest tropical hardwoods is unsustainable. Black Locust wood serves as an alternative to chemically-treated lumber, which is treated with a wide variety of Red List chemicals. Chemically-treated lumber lasts a fraction of the lifetime compared to Black Locust. Black Locust wood is an organic product. It does not require treatment or finishes to increase its longevity.

Black Locust wood characteristics

As Black Locust wood weathers, it develops a silvery-gray patina. The color is a result of natural weathering: U.V. rays, rain, snow and oxygen. There is not a known finish to eliminate U.V. deterioration for Black Locust wood or any other wood species, U.V. wood treatments will only delay the natural patina of the wood. One of Black Locust wood’s distinct characteristics is its ability to accept stain or paint.

Premium Grade

The grades are based on the percentage of clear, defect-free wood in the board. With Premium Grade, each piece is individually inspected to ensure premium quality, durability and appearance. Visually, Black Locust wood is known for its knots, mineral streaks, checks, minor grub holes, and bark insertions. To ensure superior appearances, only the most appealing pieces qualify as Premium Grade. Sound included knots, 3″ in diameter and less, minor mineral streaks and small bark insertions are admitted to highlight characteristics of the Black Locust wood species. Checks less than 1/12th of the board length are also admitted.

Landscape grade

With Landscape grade Landscape grade each individual piece of Black Locust wood is carefully inspected to ensure quality and durability. Visually, Black Locust wood is known for its knots, mineral streaks, checks, and bark insertions. All sound knots are admitted in this landscape grade. All other characteristics that do not affect the durability of this product are also admitted — surface checks, mineral streaks, bark insertions, and grub holes. A popular product, without the premiere price.

Site Furnishing Grade

Black Locust Lumber produces a unique grade for the site furnishing industry. Please contact a Black Locust specialist for more information.

Is Black Locust wood valuable?

Black Locust wood is valuable because of its exceptional durability of 50+ years and certifiable sustainability. Black Locust wood is naturally rot-resistant and has antifungal properties. Black Locust is a hardwood that keeps its attractive appearance without the help of chemicals or oils. No maintenance is required.

Is Black Locust wood toxic?

Black Locust wood is not toxic, however, just like any other tree it can trigger allergies. Some people are allergic to the roots or the bark of Black Locust wood.

Is Black Locust a hardwood?

Black Locust wood is a hardwood with a Janka hardness scale of 1,700 lbf (7,560 N).

Is Black Locust harder than oak?

Black Locust wood is harder than White Oak. We measure hardness of wood with the Janka Hardness scale: the higher the number the tougher the wood. Black Locust wood’s Janka hardness scale is 1,700 lbf (7,560 N) compared to White Oak Janka hardness scale of 1,360 (6,000 N).

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