Has anybody out there ever used black locust as a decking material?
It is strong and rot-proof, but it might be undesirable in other
ways. I have used small pieces for this and that but have no
experience with it as boards out in the weather.
I use a lot for firewood, fence posts, etc. Also seen it for
roughsawn 4x4, beams etc.
I don't see it very practical as decking material - it is bad for
splinters (rough sawn/split), checks badly when cured, splits very
easy when dry. I, for sure, have doubts about trying to use nails to
fasten a 2x board.
Black locust sapwood is, as you note, very durable and weather/rot
It is very hard and has stiffness nearly that of the hickories so is
That said, it's very hard so unless it's laid green it will require
pilot holes likely to drive any nail or a pneumatic nailer to lay it;
I've never tried a screw gun but wouldn't be at all surprised if one
were to have difficulty there w/o pilot holes, too.
Trees grow typically w/ many limbs so large pieces of lumber are rare
w/o knots/holes and it's very prone to borers so much will have borer
holes as well unless graded.
It isn't used much as commercial lumber; a source might be an issue
unless you've got a supply on own ground or similar.
I've used it extensively in landscaping where the longevity is its
outstanding feature but there one doesn't really care about the
appearance aspects above.
All in all, if you have access to it and like the appearance, it will
work fine for the purpose accounting for the hardness in working with
it. (I've not used the imported recent ipe fad; know it's also hard but
didn't look up just how they might compare...but think ash/hickory hard
harder than oak for black locust)
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