Finishing Honey Locust

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Forum topic by builtinbkyn posted 09-29-2017 10:39 PM 2716 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3009 posts in 1713 days

09-29-2017 10:39 PM

I will be making a live edge slab dining table from honey locust. I’ve never worked with it before. Actually I’m not sure I’ve ever seen first hand, any furniture made from it. So any and all help is appreciated.

Im interested in suggestions for a finish, either using one type of finish throughout or a combination of finishes, including any suggestions for staining to bring out the figure in this particular wood. I think a satin or semi-gloss, hand-rubbed appearance is where I’d like to end up and on the lighter side, keeping it as natural looking as possible while enhancing the grain. I’d also like to hear about the difficulties, if any, with this wood from a finishing and even milling standpoint.

Is is wise to seal before finishing or is it unnecessary for honey locust? Does honey locust need to be filled to get a smooth surface free of pore and grain divots?

Pictures and examples are certainly welcome and appreciated.

These are the book-matched slabs arriving next week.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

3 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6402 posts in 2983 days

#1 posted 09-30-2017 02:36 AM

I’ve used some honey locust, including one current project.

Milling is pretty straight forward. It’s pretty hard and can be prone to tearout, depending on the piece. Best comparison is that I find it similar to working white oak. I generally end up having to use a scraper, but it can be planed, especially if you have a higher angle frog.

For finishing, honey locust has a fairly coarse and open grain. Not as bad as red oak, but more than most other furniture woods. As such, you will need to pore fill to get a really smooth surface. I’ve not seen any need to seal, though you might feel otherwise. Biggest thing with honey locust, as other woods, is to test your finishes. Some of the wood has a really unique pinkish-orange tinge that can be attractive. If you want to keep the color, you will almost have to use a water based finish. Oil can help the figure & grain, but will also affect the color.

Can’t wait to see the finished project.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1713 days

#2 posted 09-30-2017 03:25 AM

Thanks Jay. I was thinking a water based poly would be the call. But as you suggest, I’ll try a few different things and see where it goes. The slabs are 123”. The finished table length is 114”, so I’ll have some cutoffs to test finishes on.

Hope my LN 4 1/2 with a 50 will do. I better eat my Wheaties before getting started. :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View steliart's profile


2895 posts in 3460 days

#3 posted 10-09-2017 12:14 PM

wow this will be a great project buddy … no experience on that to help but still I’m sure you will do a fine job :)

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

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