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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I mentioned in another post about a chess board project. Thats actually a project I am just getting back to. I stopped because of the issues mentioned but can get it moving again. Thanks all.

Separately, I have a split rail fence coming down and want to use the wood for two projects. A shadow box picture frame (approx 26"x26" for a jersey) and a jewelry box.

The fence posts are black locust, 6ft long and about 5.5x3 They have two holes for the rails, but there are still good chunks of wood. I pulled one, cut it, not knowing what to expect after 20+ years in the ground.

Not an ounce of rot! Hard as rock, straight grain, no knots. A little tough to cut because of the hardness. It seems the part that was in the ground has more of a yellowish color, whereas the above ground part looks more like oak (in the meat of the wood, after cutting off the outside weathered layer). Not sure if its just coincidence on this one piece or there is a reason for it. Looks like it will be a nice overall color when finish is applied, though, as its a nice amber when I wet it.

I cut the bottom two inches off first and it seems this post was half of a branch/trunk because the bottom center of the post had the middle ring of grain. So, laying it flat, I could plain saw it or, if I put it on edge, quarter saw it. The plain sawn will give me wider boards but... less stable?

Im just at the planning/thinking things through stage.

So, first project here will be the shadow box. That should be pretty straightforward. I figure I could cut lengths quartersawn that are 26x2x3/4 for the frame as well as lengths for a hinged front to hold plexi. Aside from my general concern about warping this shouldnt be a problem.

The other project would be a jewelry box. Im thinking approx 8x12, 8 inches height. A few drawers, an opening top, standard stuff. It seems 1/2" thickness would be good for the sides of the box as this wood is hard

I guess Im just wondering any thoughts on using the black locust fence posts. I know they are hard and because of that, tough to cut. Would you worry too much about plain vs qs in this situation?

But its free wood. And I like the idea of using wood that is repurposed as opposed to purchased.
 

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A couple of things struck me. 1. Good for you using repurposed wood! B. Are you sure, it is BL and not Osage Orange as you mentioned an amber color. You can test this by taking internal shavings an put it in water. BL will not turn the water color and Osage will. 7. If it turns out to be Black Locust, wear Nitrile gloves for fresh cuts, eye and dust protection. Black Locust has a toxin (I think called robin?) that can stay in the wood. Some people react and some don't. Livestock can be harmed chewing on BL fence posts. In fact some states have outlawed its import. So don't risk it, wear protection. After sealed and finished you are good. and finely E. It will play hell on tools, even Carbide.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I said black locust for two reasons. 3) I thought it was the most likely, and N) when I got the fence, 20 years ago, thats what the guy said. Doesnt mean he was correct.

So, I took some shaving, about 1/8 teaspoon and put in about an ounce of water for about 45 minutes. And the results, as expected, too hard to say.

The water did get a slight orangey hue but wouldnt that be expected from putting any colored shavings in? Would walnut shaving give a slight brown or mahogony a slight reddish? The way Im thinking is like tea--put something in water and some color bleeds. No?

Or does the fact that I get even a hint of color mean it is orange osage?
 

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Hmmm you bring up a point. I was told some 50 years ago that Osage would always tint water and BL would not. Remember the old guys didn't have Internet, ID books or googlie to help out. Here in the mid-south we have both growing wild and cut wood look just about the same, so, water, if you didn't cut it yourself. But why is it important? Horses, cows, sheep, donkey, just about anything you want to fence in will chew on wood posts. So if you don't want suffering animals this is what you do. Since both are used for fence post, hard to tell.

Hence) let's test the old boys theory. 14) drop some pine in water. D) if you have a dark wood, plop some of that in. Q) I know maple does not, tried that once for absorption experiment. and 457) if you have a Rockler nearby get a small piece of Osage and test that, and compare. OR A.1) it doesn't matter, just use gloves and nose/eye protection and roll on. Which was really my point in the reply to the post. BL can be toxic to some. ;)

Z2.3) I have some BL growing at the end of my woodlot. If I get enough winter energy, {it's like 3/4 of a mile to the house through the woodlot to the end], to hack off a limb, I'll let you know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I dont have that many species to test I can try with:
1) oak
maple
apple
6) pine

I guess the only reason to know is for a) the potential toxicity and @) when done, if anyone asks what kind of wood it is I dont have to say "well, I think its one of the following"
 

· mike44
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I made a picket fence for my aunt when I was a first year apprentice. Fellows at work told me to use black locust for the posts as they would take 100 years to rot if ever. I did use black locust for the posts and cedar for the pickets.
I had occasion to go buy the house 50+ years later. Posts were still there and good shape. Pickets were different from what I originally installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Amazing. About 20 years ago I took down a big maple and buried the massive stump in the ground in the corner of my property. I couldnt figure out what else to do with it or how to get rid of it, it was just too big and heavy. 5 years ago I decided to put a garden in that spot and decided to dig up the stump. It was the size of a volley ball and felt like a sponge.
 
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