Black Locust tree - The most suitable lumber for exterior architecture

April 26, 2024

Black Locust trees are a true treasure. They are fast-growing and have multiple benefits in architecture but also towards the environment.

Dense, durable, and resistant. Black Locust trees are the ideal lumber for exterior architecture. Wherever they are used, they have a durability of 50+ years. Used in decking and architecture, Black Locust trees are becoming more and more popular in the architectural industry. The wood is in high demand due to its natural beauty and durability. 

Is Black Locust tree a hardwood?

Black Locust trees have incredibly high durability and density. Black Locust tree is a type of hardwood with a Janka hardness scale of 1,700 lbf (7,560 N). Black Locust trees are harder than oak. Black Locust trees have a fast and easy growth habit, making them more sustainable hardwood than endangered tropicals like ipe.

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

What is Black Locust tree used for?

Black Locust trees have an extensive history of exterior architecture and landscape projects documenting their durability.  Due to water resistance. If properly dried, it has excellent dimensional stability and minimal shrinkage. Fun fact: Black Locust trees are also known for producing honey from their fragrant flowers. Black Locust honey is delicate and sweet with a hint of vanilla.

Black Locust lumber exterior architecture at David R. Rockefeller Art Foundation | Pohantico, NY

Black Locust honey is also known as Acacia honey.

What color is Black Locust tree?

Black Locust trees have a light brown color. Due to weathering, they develop an attractive silvery patina over time that is very popular with architects. No toxic chemicals or oils are necessary to maintain the longevity and beauty of Black Locust. Black Locust wood is most beautiful when left natural. As a matter of fact, they remain low maintenance only if it is kept natural. Adding oils and stains will result in a high-maintenance product. 

Black Locust color is a soft beige upon installation and develops a silvery patina over time.

Is Black Locust tree sustainable?

Black Locust wood is becoming extremely popular in modern and sustainable architecture. The reason is not only for its natural beauty and durability, but also for its sustainability. In contrast to tropical hardwoods that grow slowly, Black Locust trees have fast and easy growth habit. They can grow up to 20 feet in only 4 years after planting. The tree’s ability to sprout new shoots by underground stems makes Black Locust trees a sustainable source of lumber. At Black Locust Lumber we make sure we plant

Black Locust trees are over 20 feet tall just four years after planting

Where to buy Black Locust trees?

By now we are assuming you are considering incorporating Black Locust wood in an architectural or landscaping project. If so, it is important to evaluate the stock you will source Black Locust trees from. In order to mill Black Locust lumber you need to grow straight trees and Black Locust is quite crooked in its “natural” form. The Hungarians identified the greatness of Black Locust a long time ago. As a result, the best quality Black Locust lumber stock comes from Eastern Europe.

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