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Carving Honey Locust

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Forum topic by pontic posted 02-18-2020 12:10 AM 357 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pontic

760 posts in 1288 days


02-18-2020 12:10 AM

I have a future project of carving a large outdoor piece. I would like to use honey Locust. I have a few large logs on hand that are fairly fresh. Is it hard to work with green and will it stand up to the weather when it’s done. What treatment should I use? Let it dry first or just put oil, on it when I’m finished. This wiil be outside in the Indiana weather.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum


10 replies so far

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ArtMann

1472 posts in 1496 days


#1 posted 02-18-2020 01:09 AM

Honey locust used to be used for fence posts around here because it is rot resistant. You have chosen well for an outdoor project. I would let the wood dry thoroughly before applying a finish to it.

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Snipes

459 posts in 2924 days


#2 posted 02-18-2020 03:16 AM

I know black locusts was used for fence posts not sure on honey. I believe it’s ring porous. I did have a honey locust that sat 3 years before I got to sawing it and it showed very little decay. It’s very hard, I would not want to carve by hand.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

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PBWilson1970

64 posts in 73 days


#3 posted 02-18-2020 03:51 AM

I remember reading in Fine Woodworking years ago that Honey Locust does not have the decay resistance of Black Locust. Black Locust heartwood lasts for many years in the elements. The house I bought the better part of a decade ago had a neglected and uncovered wood pile made up of mainly Black Locust (I’ve got dozens on my property) and I’ve split it open to reveal nearly perfect wood. I’m making a set of socket chisel handles from some.

I also have some Honey Locust I had sawn up into slabs from my sister’s property. It’s hard (a lot like ash or oak) and would not be all that easy to carve, judging by the chisel and minor plane work I’ve done on some boards. Working it green should make it a bit easier but you’re in for some labor. It’s pretty wood under oil varnish and even comes to life using just mineral oil for cutting boards, but I don’t know firsthand how it might hold up over the long haul.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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therealSteveN

5182 posts in 1254 days


#4 posted 02-18-2020 04:42 AM


I know black locusts was used for fence posts not sure on honey. I believe it s ring porous. I did have a honey locust that sat 3 years before I got to sawing it and it showed very little decay. It s very hard, I would not want to carve by hand.

- Snipes


I remember reading in Fine Woodworking years ago that Honey Locust does not have the decay resistance of Black Locust. Black Locust heartwood lasts for many years in the elements.
- PBWilson1970

I think you guys are thinking correctly

Honey Locust: Rated as moderately durable to durable; susceptible to insect attacks.

https://www.wood-database.com/honey-locust/

Black Locust: Rated as very durable in regard to decay resistance, with good weathering characteristics. Frequently used as fence posts for its outdoor longevity

https://www.wood-database.com/black-locust/

-- Think safe, be safe

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pontic

760 posts in 1288 days


#5 posted 02-18-2020 11:01 AM

Yeah, a neighbor told me I’d have just as good result with the couple of big white oak logs I got.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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PBWilson1970

64 posts in 73 days


#6 posted 02-18-2020 01:39 PM

White Oak will be nicely weather resistant. Sharpen up your tools and have at it!

What’s the design?

I’m not sure what finish will be best for the outdoors, but no finish at all on White Oak will take on a great patina. The rule of thumb with finishing outdoor furniture is to either paint it (PLEASE DON’T!) or let it go without. Spar varnish is often used but it’s thick and you’ve got to be diligent in keeping up on it or water will get under and you’ll have a mess on your hands.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

1117 posts in 1656 days


#7 posted 02-19-2020 12:07 AM

I acquired a load of 8/4 black locust that was from a pedestrian bridge near the water. It was untreated the outside was a little gray and brown but once it cleaned up it looked good. I made a bench out of it. A little tough to work with.

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Phil32

989 posts in 583 days


#8 posted 02-19-2020 02:43 AM

Your projects on this site show that you have experience working with various woods, including wood carving. This may be more ambitious. How about carving the idea in a softer wood first? Maybe even scaled down in size.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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ArtMann

1472 posts in 1496 days


#9 posted 02-19-2020 03:10 AM

This is what the US Department of Agriculture had to say about it in the “USDA Plants Database”.

“Wood from the honey locust is very dense, shock resistant and commonly used in the timber industry. Honey locust wood is easily split, capable of obtaining a high luster finish, and is durable when in contact with soil. For these reasons, timber from honey locust has been used as fence posts, railroad ties, furniture, warehouse or shipping pallets, tool handles and fuel.”

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pontic

760 posts in 1288 days


#10 posted 02-19-2020 03:28 AM



Your projects on this site show that you have experience working with various woods, including wood carving. This may be more ambitious. How about carving the idea in a softer wood first? Maybe even scaled down in size.

- Phil32

Right you are Phil. I have some pine logs that are debarked and fairly dry I am planning to start wit a 1/3 scale pine mock up.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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