Locust trees, how big? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-18-2008, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Locust trees, how big?

I know they use Locust for fence posts, because of its resistance to rot and critters. I don't think I have ever seen a large Locust tree. How big do they get and are they used in other larger things, like boats,etc?
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-18-2008, 10:19 PM
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black or honey locust? I have some honey locust lumber that is a pretty pinkish tan with nice grain.

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post #3 of 17 Old 08-18-2008, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't think about different types or Locust. I guess it don't make any difference as to type. Where could I expect to see locust in things other than posts?
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-18-2008, 11:42 PM
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Ron

I know that Black Locust trees can get very tall, up to 80 feet, and can have a pretty wide spread, maybe about a third of it's height. About the only redeeming quality that I ever found, was as an intruder deterrent. They've got thorns that will leave you with memories for a long time. In all fairness, when they're in bloom, and in the fall, they can be quite beautiful. Those that I've seen have been in pasture and wild type settings. They've always reminded me of Bonsai work. I enjoy them in woodturning because they give some interesting detail.

The Honey Locust doesn't get quite as tall as the Black does, but not much shorter. It's also thornless (correct me if I'm wrong, it's been several years since I've seen one) and is more of a fuller tree. I think I heard somewhere that it was a good tree for making bows, and it's also a good woodturning tree.

I don't know if that helps, and it's been so many years since I've seen these trees, that my memory may be flawed.

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-18-2008, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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I am a wood turner also and would be very interested in turning black Locust. I know that Alaska is one beautiful and most unspoiled state, so maybe it is only available there. I will do some investigating and see what I can find in Ohio.

Thanks for your reply.

Ron
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 12:33 AM
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Ron actually your area might be more beneficial to look in. My displayed location is a little misleading. I'm originally from Iowa, and there were a lot of those trees there. I had several Black Locusts out on my pasture and along the fence line. Sorry about the misinformation.

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post #7 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 06:39 AM
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Though black and honey locust appear simular and share part of their common names they are a different genus.

Black locuts allways has a distinct pairing of short thorns at leaf scars on their twigs. The pair forms a V. http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/Landown...s=pseudoacacia It's not the mean one.


On the other hand, honey locust may not have thorns. Or it may have thorns on its twigs only, or on its twigs and trunk. Sometimes the thorns form clusters on the trunk simular to witch's broom. The thorns on honey locust can get quite long. Those on the twigs usually are 1"+ long, single, and placed in a ziz-zag pattern. The ones on the trunk can be compound. I've seen them over 6" long. http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/Landown...es=triacanthos

Black locust is the most widely transplanted tree there is. It's now found on every continent except Anarctica. It's the main source of pegs for ship building. It makes very good firewood. It's used where a durable wood is needed to come in contact with soil or water. It's very stable around water...shrinking and swelling less than other types of wood.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 11:03 AM
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I have both on the farm. Around here the honey locust is more affectionatly called the thorn tree. If you don't think so then try mowing around one with your tractor. Caused me to buy tire irons last year to do all the repairs my self. Saves time and money. If you cut a black locust there will be hundreds of sprouts come up from the roots and the stump. That is where most locust thickets that are used for fence posts come from.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 11:20 AM
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Hi Otto. When I worked at Pacific Western Airlines we had a saying similar to yours, except we used to say Remember your seven Ps: "Proper previous planning prevents piss poor performance" I haven't seen that for years. Of course, I haven't seen proper previous planning for years either.

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post #10 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 08:05 PM
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Ron, here is a website that will give you an idea of what locust wood looks like, honey or black: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/person...ics/locust.htm . Honey Locust is actually the one with the most thorns, and they usually have multiples of 3 for the thorn tips. New hybrids and young trees are usually missing the thorns. Here is a pic of one of my Honey Locust trees:
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 09:12 PM
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Wow it's interesting what just a few years away form an area can do for the memory. The guys are right, they both have thorns, but to get to that beautiful wood, the fighting the thorns is worth it. I thank you for the correction on the Honey Locust thorns.

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post #12 of 17 Old 08-19-2008, 09:46 PM
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That's Honey Locust? Dang... I know where there are some nice trees.... that were cut down not long ago and probably went up in smoke by now...

I cut that board three times and it's STILL too short!!!...
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post #13 of 17 Old 08-20-2008, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Ron View Post
I know they use Locust for fence posts, because of its resistance to rot and critters. I don't think I have ever seen a large Locust tree. How big do they get and are they used in other larger things, like boats,etc?
So far none of us answered your size question. I consider a large black locust to be anything over ~18" DBH. Technically, both the black and honey locust are considered medium sized trees...typically topping out ~2' DBH. It's hard to find a good straight black locust. They are typically dog-legged. That's why so many are made into fence post. Ones that grow in competition, however, grow reasonably straight.

The national champs:
black locust i~100" DBH
honey locust ~75" DBH

Here's a black in Kentucky that's ~45" DBH:

http://www.forestry.ky.gov/NR/rdonly...lacklocust.jpg

And a honey that's ~55":

http://www.forestry.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/236717B7-F061-4A1A-94BF-E2718F95429F/0/honeylocust.jpg
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-21-2008, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all of you, I learned a lot about Locust and will try to get some to use.

Thanks Ron
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-23-2008, 10:38 PM
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Pictures

Got a Few Pictures today. First is Black Locust. Rest are Honey Locust. Why Farmers Hate them.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-24-2008, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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One more question about Locust trees. Do they have small leaves? Do the leaves turn brown earlier than most trees in the great lakes area?
The reason I ask this is that as my wife and I travel on interstate highways this time of he year, we see a lot of trees with small leaves turning brown. Long before others do. If it isn't Locust, do you have any idea what kind of tree it can be?
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-25-2008, 06:34 PM
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Yes, both black and honey locust have small compound (more than one leaf per leaf stalk) leaves. Sometimes it's easy to confuse black and honey locust. Just remember that black locust allways has a pair of thorns on the twigs at the leaf scars that form a "V". And honey locust may or may not have thorns, but it does have bipinnately compound leaves. (Bipinnately compound leaves are compound leaves that join a central leaf stalk, so a single central leaf stalk supports multiple compound leaf stalks.)

The following link has some excellent black locust pictures. Their slide show is very good. Simply click on one of the small pictures to start. Bear in mind the leaves look larger in their pictures than they actually are.
http://www.rnr.lsu.edu/plantid/webto...lacklocust.htm

Honey locust:
http://www.rnr.lsu.edu/plantid/webto...oneylocust.htm

The Fall colors can be seen in the following site.
Black Locust (description only):
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/r/robpse/robpse1.html
Honey Locust:
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/g/gletri/gletri1.html
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