Davishomesteadandforge

Black locus scales

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Has anyone used black locus for knife scales? Im about to clear out a patch of forest around my house for more farm use and read its close to hickory in hardness. It would be a shame to waste it if it could be used. 

If it is of any use any tips on aging it? I'm familiar with the microwave method but I'm not in a hurry to uses it. Should I just debark it, cut it in foot long peices and wax the ends? 

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Mr. DVSH. …

I have use some black locust wood, for knife scales, when I could get it.

It is one of the hardest woods in North America, and extremely rot resistant. (due to favenoid chemicals in the wood. And bark).

Seal the ends and leave the bark on some of the wood. Doing so will help prevent checking in the wood. (though,  for knife scales, that shouldn't present a problem).

Remove the bark if stored outside. (to discourage insects).

Incidentally, the wood gives off almost as much heat as hard coal when burned.

SLAG.

 

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Great info slag! Does it follow 1 year per inch like most woods for aging?

Also I know about the rot resistence from experience they make great fence posts nice and straight at that. 

The heat of them burning is amazing to know i have a whole forest of them so if I'm short on coal that would be great. Do you age it before burning usually or just burn it green?

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Mr. DVSH …,

I sealed the cut ends and put the wood pieces aside,  out of the rain.

I debark them after a year. (i.e. the ones still drying).

I would suggest burning  them after they are dry.  I do not know if the one inch "rule"  applies.

You can try an old homesteader trick to speed up drying.

They would girdle trees in the early spring and then let them leaf through the spring and summer. Then they harvested them in the autumn.

By then, the tree had used up most of the moisture in the trunk as no water was transpired above the girdled bole, from the roots.

You should get some nice knife scales from the wood.

The closest black locust trees,  "near' me,  are in the Ozarks west of St. Louis. Don't get there too often.

Regards,

SLAG.

 

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Mr. Davis,

There is / was no charge for the advice. I am just paying forward for all the help and advice I have received in the past many years.

I would very much appreciate some wood,  and will be very happy to pay for the shipping.

Regards,

SLAG.

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This black locust wood / tree looks to be a very close relative to acacia trees, as with "Robinia pseudoacacia" the name assumes.

Also end grain looks very similar to robinia and acacia species.

Godd stuff,....drying time 4 years....patience, time goes fast.

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When I was young and impatient I was thinking "a year per inch---that's impossibly long!"  I have some going on 20 years per inch of my own cutting.  Bought some walnut a farmer cut and tarred the ends in the 30's to make fore stocks for shotguns---his Grandson was cleaning out the barn and was willing to sell them to me cheap...and finally I haved one piece that's been air drying for around 250 years.  Came from a Barn in NJ that the Historical Society didn't manage to save from a developer; but I was able to get a piece from the spoil pile before they burned it.  Stock for a crossbow if I ever get too it---I've had it since the late 1970's.  White oak and works a lot like metal rather than wood.

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One of the first knifes I made the scales of black locust. It is very hard, rot resistant, and beautiful when polished. The locust in my area is almost neon yellow. I have been told that black locust in the southern states are mostly unusable due to a borer. Fortunately they havent made it as far north as Maine.

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Black locust can also be both fluorescent and chatoyant.

Got two each 5" dia. x 6' sticks - been drying for 18 years......

Robert Taylor

Edited by Anachronist58
addendum

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On 3/9/2019 at 10:29 AM, Anachronist58 said:

Black locust can also be both fluorescent and chatoyant.

Got two each 5" dia. x 6' sticks - been drying for 18 years......

Robert Taylor

What do you mean by fluorescent? As in glows?  Also chatoyant if it's polished with a gem like cut to shimmer since it's so dense correct?

On 3/9/2019 at 5:24 AM, 45-70nut said:

One of the first knifes I made the scales of black locust. It is very hard, rot resistant, and beautiful when polished. The locust in my area is almost neon yellow. I have been told that black locust in the southern states are mostly unusable due to a borer. Fortunately they havent made it as far north as Maine.

Mine seems very yellow not quite neon though lol. I'm lucky down here I haven't had too much of an issue with Beatles yet but I definitely need to do some clearing in my forest.

On 3/8/2019 at 9:52 PM, ThomasPowers said:

When I was young and impatient I was thinking "a year per inch---that's impossibly long!"  I have some going on 20 years per inch of my own cutting.  Bought some walnut a farmer cut and tarred the ends in the 30's to make fore stocks for shotguns---his Grandson was cleaning out the barn and was willing to sell them to me cheap...and finally I haved one piece that's been air drying for around 250 years.  Came from a Barn in NJ that the Historical Society didn't manage to save from a developer; but I was able to get a piece from the spoil pile before they burned it.  Stock for a crossbow if I ever get too it---I've had it since the late 1970's.  White oak and works a lot like metal rather than wood.

250 years is crazy Id have a hard time using it being that old! I think I can be patient but we'll see in a couple months what I say lol

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20160410_112020.jpgYes, as in, glows, or fluoresces under black light, one sure test, I have read, to differentiate them from Mulberry.* These are pegs turned with spherical terminations. Not properly finished, so they do not show their full potential. Certain applied finishes are said to enhance the effect, while others cancel or mute it. These were polished with 600 grit silicon carbide paper.

*Sometimes the fluorescence is not apparent 'in-situ', look up "Locust water or alcohol fluorescence".

Robert Taylor

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I once used the wood from a very large old black locust that had grown in my yard for firewood.  It was a tree with a stump over four feet in diameter!  

All firewood should be seasoned.  Green burning leads to creosote buildup in your chimney... which leads to roaring chimney fires... which leads to having the fire department in your attic all night on Christmas Eve... which I know because I was crawling around up there once myself!  Besides which burning green wastes much of the potential heat value... it’s like quenching your fire with a spritzer.  

That tree produced about six or seven cords of wood and heated a large old house for major parts of three years through Idaho winters!  It did burn much like coal!  Big logs would burn red hot for hours with little smolder!  It reminds me of how my coal forge burns when I have it really going!  When I moved from Idaho I still had some of that locust that I sold to a good friend.  

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