Characteristics of Honeylocust Wood

Thoughts on Honeylocust, a little-known but attractive and useful wood species. June 30, 2007

I didn't discover, or even know about, honeylocust wood until I salvaged a few pieces from a nearby golf course, and sent a sample to an expert for identification. I was surprised what a beautiful wood it is. I've since salvaged quite a few pieces of honeylocust wood for various projects, such as a bench, a table, and walking canes. Have any of you used honeylocust for your woodworking projects? If so, I'd like to read what you've made from honeylocust, and I'd like to see pictures of your completed projects.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor G:
I got some off the roadside from a tree that had fallen... made a lot of firewood out of it because the county had cut it up so short. I do love its color and made a knife handle and sheath out of the firewood. Now, you may say what the heck... but we have a log of honey locust we are picking up next week that we are plan on milling into a beefy mantel. I think it will be awesome. Especially if I can convince the customer to do a clear finish.
Have never bought any and don't know cost.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It is indeed a wonderful wood with great grain, etc. The strong red color will fade with time, a bit. Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is not related to black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). For that reason, perhaps, the official lumber name is spelled as one word.

From contributor J:
I have made coffee tables and benches of honeylocust. Unfinished it had a strong ash type grain. I didn't finish the items so I don't know how it finishes. It worked a lot like oak. Most of the furniture I used to make was unfinished, as I didn't have a finishing space and didn't want to build one.

From contributor D:
I love honeylocust. Mill a good deal of it and use it in some of my attempts at woodworking. Sometimes the wood can have punky spots in an otherwise perfect board, so it takes a little selective cutting of the stock. It is a good hard wood. Here is a set of patio chairs made from it. They are unfinished.

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Here is one of the chairs wet with water (washing it off before it left). It should show how a finish would bring out the color of the grain.

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From contributor U:
I just got some honeylocust logs from a local tree business two days ago. I cut one smaller log into two 4" thick slabs today, about 12 inches wide. I got the ends Anchorsealed. The wood was pretty slow cutting. The logs were frozen when I cut, however. There was a knot in the slabs on one side which will look really cool when dried. I will bookmark them into one large slab for a table top.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I had several trees sawed, dried, and planed into 3/4 inch boards and have made some beautiful tables. Some of the board are around ten years old and have acquired a yellow and red streak/appearance.