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Thread: How to tell honey locust from black locust?

  1. #1
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    How to tell honey locust from black locust?

    I have some pieces of locust (green logs), how do I tell which it is?

    Dan
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

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  2. #2
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    Usually honey locust will have VERY pronounced thorns, usually extending from the trunk, not the branches. The thorns are MUCH longer than those of black locust. Also, the bark is generally a bit smoother on honey locust if the tree is small, then cracking a bit like hickory as it gets larger. The only honey locust trees have been much more yellow/tan than the greenish color of black locust when its freshly cut.

    Edit: I looked at your location; its probably black locust--I've read that the black locust (originally endemic to the eastern US) was brought there for agricultural use--fenceposts & firewood, and is now considered a pest. I don't know about the honey locust ever growing there unless as an ornamental
    Last edited by Nathan Hawkes; 06-14-2009 at 5:44 AM.

  3. #3
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    Dan,

    Post some pictures of the end grain.

    Regards, Steve

  4. #4
    In my experience, Black Locust is a bit more pale yellow/brown with a greenish cast, and Honey Locust is a more reddish hue, rather like red oak, with a pronounced white sapwood. Black Locust seems much harder and "cracky", (could just be the pieces I have- which are full of shakes) and doesn't seem nearly as porous as Honey Locust. Both are fairly hard wood, and both turn real well.

  5. #5
    Black locust is the more common. They can get large (24 inch plus trunks) the bark is rather coarse, and the wood tends to be greenish yellow. It will turn amber when it ages. Trunks tend to have a lot of deep bark inclusions. Not much in the way of thorns, especially in larger trees. The wood also smells kind of bitter. Seed pods are a couple inches long with small seeds in them. Makes excellent split rail fences.

    For the Honey locust, there are 2 types. The wild version, common in the midwest has a lot of thorns in the 6 to almost 12 inch long size. There is a hybrid type (Moraine locust) that is grown ornamentally which is more common out west. The wild type seldom get very big, not much more than 10 inch diameter trunks. The Moraine can get up to 24 to 30 inch diameter trunks. The seed pods get big (1 inch wide and 8 or more inches long), and the seeds look kind of like milk duds. Bark is coarse, but more flat pieces rather than ridges like Black locust. Wood is brown to amber with distinct dark and light rings, and it smells kind of sweet when turned.

    robo hippy

  6. #6
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    Honey vs. Black Locust? Now with pics

    No thorns at all on these, the bark is very thick, with almost a woven look. All of the end grain is sealed with Anchor seal, but here is the unwaxed (mostly) face. The trees can get quite large in diameter, , some of my pieces have bark inclusions.





    Dan
    Last edited by Dan Forman; 06-14-2009 at 4:57 PM.
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  7. #7
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    I'd say confidently that's Black locust. Happy turning! It gets HARD when dry.

  8. #8
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    I concur with the Black Locust. Wood is HARD when dry and burns HOT as firewood.
    The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.
    - Marcus Aurelius ---------------------------------------- -------------

  9. #9
    I agree on the black locust. It makes great fence posts too, they will out last you.

  10. #10
    Black locust (robinie her in denmark) and its great.. rock hard when dry great for making bowls that are to bes used daily. I use it for all kinds og things...

    se if you can get your hands on some with burls you will never look back.. if i coud only choose on type of wood to turn for the rest of my days it would be black locust burl..
    Rasmus Petersen - woodturning.dk.
    Itīs not a failure itīs a design opportunity

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the ID help.

    Dan
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  12. #12
    Black Locust.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reed Gray View Post
    Black locust is the more common.
    Not to pick nits, but more common all depends on where you're standing.

    Around here, Black Locust is uncommon, Honeylocust is everywhere. 60 miles NE of here the reverse is true.

    Lux
    Ridiculum Ergo Sum

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