Bois de arc/Osage Orange

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Blog entry by Gatesville posted 01-30-2017 02:33 PM 838 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have quite a few rough saw boards of bois de arc. Just wondering if anyone has any experience building with this wood. Would it be stable enough to make a woodworking bench? Thank you in advance for any input.

2 comments so far

View Planeman40's profile


1499 posts in 3534 days

#1 posted 01-30-2017 03:04 PM

I have worked with Osage Orange to some extent when I was looking for a yellow colored wood for an accent to a project. I found it to be hard and brittle to a considerable degree and have found that over time it loses its yellow color and becomes an orangy-brown. Don’t think I will ever use it again. Personally, I would not use it for a really nice European style workbench. I would stick with maple or beech. In the mid 1970s I made a Danish style workbench designed by Taige Fried that was featured in an early edition of Fine woodworking (no plans for it at FWW) and used Beech. I found Beech to be an excellent choice.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

12179 posts in 4202 days

#2 posted 01-30-2017 03:19 PM

Osage orange will certainly be stable enough for a work bench. But it must be allowed to completely dry before using. And, during the drying process, it will crack.
As planeman discovered, it will lose it’s pretty yellow color as it ages. And, as he suggests, Beech or Maple would be a better choice for a really nice bench. But, if it’s a bench you’ll use for multiple purposes, Osage orange will stand up to some hard use.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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