Mesquite

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Anyone use mesquite? I live in Arizona where these trees are pretty plentiful. I have a friend in the tree trimming business who often comes across very large sections of this tree. He brought me a few 2 foot samples today, just rough chain sawed. I dressed them into some 8/4 stock and they really came out beautiful (smelled like popcorn or something while milling). I'm just wondering if I've struck it rich here, or if it's just fool's gold.
Any experience with mesquite??
-m
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Mike Pio asks:

You've struck it rich. Mesquite is often high priced, is gorgeous and is not all that difficult to work--it is a bit brittle, but turns well and otherwise works well.
Get as much as you can.
Charlie Self "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." Sir Winston Churchill
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My local dealer stocks mesquite (from Argentina?) and it sell for $8 a bd. ft. Nice looking wood. If what you have is the same, you have a good deal. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Hard as hell, eats blades, absolutely beautiful.
--
Ross
www.myoldtools.com
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I just built a rocking chair made of mesquite. It's a little difficult, but not too bad. It turns your hands purple when you work it. Lemon juice will take care of that though. It costs $9-$10/board foot in Houston. I'd take all I could get. :-)

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"Mike Pio" wrote in message

Lousy wood! Smells, contracts and expands, dulls blades, and the seductive grain will turn on you like a bad wife. Get rid of it as soon as can. Tell you what ... just cut all you can get into 8/4 stock and we'll send you an address where it can be properly disposed of before it corrupts you further. .... even throw in free disposal of the chips and shavings.
You suck, BTW.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 7/10/04
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LOL -- If I hear you correctly (and I think that I do), this wood is complete garbage ;-) Gotcha. I'll be sure to toss those 6' logs right into the landfill.

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Mike, could you please send me the location of that landfil? I'm only 10 minutes away from Arizona. Many thanks, GerryG

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what are friends for, anyway?
Patriarch
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Here in the San Angelo area of Texas mesquite is considered a choice locally grown hardwood. The country side is covered in mesquite bushes that are considered a nuisance. Trees large enough to yield usable lumber from them are not so plentiful. Locally cut mesquite lumber is unique in its properties since most of it in this area of Texas is cut from trees that are relatively small, twisted, and prone to have knots and lots of limbs. There is a lot of waste in working around some of the lumbers defects. Long, wide pieces of lumber that would grade FAS are uncommon and bring a premium price. Around here a piece of mesquite that is 4 - 6" thick and large enough to make a fireplace mantle will cost $500 - $800 for a single board depending on width, length, and defects. Most of the lumber that is available is 4 - 5 inches wide, 1 - 2" thick and 3 -4 feet long, at best. Most of the smaller pieces of mesquite will sell for around $6.00/board foot air dried, when you can find it. Almost all of it will have a knot hole, a check mark or some other defect on it. Mesquite woodworkers around here accept the lumber for its unique properties and work around them or incorporate them into their finished pieces. For example, many of the boxes, and table tops made from highly figured mesquite will have the check marks, voids, and knots filled with black epoxy.
The lumber is exceptionally hard, dense and finishes well. The lumber does not expand or contract as much as many of the other domestic hardwoods. It can produce exceptionally attractive boxes, wood turnings, and table tops. I particularly like the table tops that have the lumbers defects removed from them because of the long straight redish brown grain in the parts of the lumber that is clear of defects. The boxes that are made from the burls and limb crouches of the lumber have exceptional grain patterns in them and the lumber used to make them will almost always have defects in it that will need repair of some form.
Some people (including yours truly) are allergic to the sawdust. Good dust collection would probably be advised. Sawing produces a very fine dust.

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Any thoughts on how Mesquite would turn for chess pieces? Grandpa (in NM)
Joe Nation wrote:

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Grandpa wrote:>Any thoughts on how Mesquite would turn for chess pieces?

Work at your leisure!
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On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 11:31:55 -0600, Grandpa <jsdebooATcomcast.net> wrote:

it turns nicely.
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My cousin runs a business near San Antonio called Mesquite Furniture of Texas which, as you might guess, specializes in mesquite furniture. Here in Chicago, the local place used to have it for about $11/bf. I notice it's not even on the current price list. The book on it is that it's hard, though it seems to work OK. BTW, he finishes everthing with a few coats of precatalyzed lacquer. Some of the larger (and especially the burled) logs get turned into fireplace mantels.
todd

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I love mesquite!! It is a beautiful wood. It is abrasion resistent and pretty stable as far as contracting and expanding with humidity. It is in the same family as poison oak and I react to it strongly. My eyes swell up, I get sinus drainage and it feels like a bad flu. I still have an unfinished set of pistol grips in some beautifully figured mesquite. Since I can't work with it, I have to console myself with cocobolo (which luckily I don't react to). The sad part is I'm in Texas where mesquite is also readily available. I still use it for smoking on the grill.

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Bruce C. responds:

Whoa! Seems to me that smoke would be as bad, maybe worse, than sawdust. Try a good pair of tight sealing goggles and a good dust mask, change clothing immediately after working with the mesquite, wash clothing separately and run an empty cycle through the machine right afterwards.
The Triton respirator might also do the job, but it's a wee bit pricey.
Charlie Self "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." Sir Winston Churchill
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Mike Pio wrote:

Grab it. Large sections of American mesquite are hard to come by--generally to get large boards you have to import it from South America.
Lovely to look at, and not at all difficult to work. Also one of the most stable woods around.
Finishing can sometimes be a pain--there's something in it that seems to make polyurethane cure slowly and sometimes the first coat is lifted by the second. Shellac seems to stick fine but doesn't bring out the grain particularly well. So far I've gotten the most attractive results with either polyurethane or boiled linseed oil with shellac over, but that's with "black" mesquite, not "honey" which is what most of the North American is, so YMMV.
Seems to glue all right but I haven't really tested it hard in that regard.
If you don't use scrapers you may want to try one--the mesquite that I've worked with scrapes beautifully.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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I used Deft Oil (Deft Danish Oil Finish) on a mesquite chair I made recently. The pro's at Homestead Heritage recommended it. I'm quite satisfied with it and it was easy to apply.
Deft has more varnish in it that other Danish Oils (or so I'm told).

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J. Clarke wrote...

The large sections we get around here -- I'm in Tucson, AZ -- are also imported from South America, sort of. Virtually all of the large landscaping mesquites are hybrids of South American species, grown in local nurseries.
The South American varieties grow quickly (as much as 40 feet in 7 years). I think because of improper planting and watering, they frequently grow with shallow root systems, having large, long runners that rise above the soil. Such surface roots wreak havoc with nearby walkways and driveways, and these trees often topple in windstorms.
So, (ahem) a "windfall" of quality lumber is truly possible. I've been the beneficiary on a few occasions. However, the landscaping and tree- trimming crews that I know usually sell the large stuff; they don't give it away. Mike's good luck is to be envied.
Jim
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Hi Mike, Don't listen to these guys on helping you to clean your shop of that Mesquite. I will trade you some nice Mrtlewood, or some fiddleback Maple, for some of 8/4 mesquite it use for making some NA style flutes.
--


Richard,

Richard L. Rombold
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