Tag Archives: relcaimed

Caring for Rustic and Reclaimed Furniture

We are often asked the best way to care for rustic and reclaimed furniture as well as stick work and driftwood furnishings.  LittleBranch Farms in Tennessee has put together a little primer published by mountainiving.com with great tips to help you keep your treasures looking their best for many years to come!

Caring for Rustic and Reclaimed Furniture

What is that Wood? Honey Locust


Honey Locust photo by Famartin
Honey Locust
photo by Famartin

Continuing our look at the different types of wood Jeff uses in handcrafting his stickwork furniture, home decor and garden art, today we take a look at Honey Locust.

According to Wikipedia.org, “Honey locusts produce a high quality, durable wood that polishes well, but the tree does not grow in sufficient numbers to support a bulk industry; however, a niche market exists for honey locust furniture. It is also used for posts and rails since it takes a long time to rot. In the past, the hard thorns of the younger trees have been used as nails.”  Nails?  I think Jeff would like to try that!  And, as you can tell, we have figured out that it makes great stickwork furniture!

We like Honey Locust for several reasons: it dries evenly, has a beautiful grain, is very durable, and it is plentiful in our area.  Many farmers don’t want the volunteer trees in their fields, so they are happy to allow us to harvest our materials from what they remove.  Reclaiming branches, roots and tree trunks is good for everyone.

One other tidbit about Honey Locust that would be a great question for Trivial Pursuit: when freshly cut, it emits a smell that is very much like fresh carrot juice.  (Hat tip to Tiffany for figuring out why that smell was familiar!)

What is that Wood? Black Locust

One of the most asked questions about our stickwork creations is, “What wood is that made of?”  The answer to that question can be complicated – but only because many of our pieces are made of several types of wood.  Jeff has made pieces from Black Walnut, Apple, Black Locust, Honey Locust, Maple, Cherry, Hickory -and the list goes on and on.

Since this question is asked so frequently, I wanted to offer a few posts about the woods that Jeff uses the most.  Today I start with Black Locust.

According to http://www.Wikipedia.org: “It is one of the heaviest and hardest woods in North America.  The wood is extremely hard, resistant to rot and durable, making it prized for furniture, flooring, paneling, fence posts and small watercraft.”  Wow – what a great wood!  We think it is very underrated!  That part about it being resistant to rot is especially important for outdoor furniture in more humid climates like Ohio.

Another characteristic of Black Locust is that it grows very rapidly.  If you are a farmer, and you see it in your fields, you are less likely to think so kindly of these trees.  However, that said, Black Locust has a reputation for lasting 100 years untreated in the ground as fence posts – maybe a payoff for growing in unwanted spaces?


Bench using Black Locust for seatBench using Black Locust for seat

We find most property owners love to have us harvest the Black Locust from their land, saving them the work, cleaning up the down and dead trees, and providing materials for our furniture.  To us, using Black Locust is an all-around good choice!

Whether the bark is left on or removed using a draw knife, this wood retains a rustic feel that is perfect for rustic style furniture that fits perfectly in a cabin or cottage.


Table using Black Locust for frameworkTable using Black Locust for framework

And since the trees were originally native to the southern Appalachian region of the U.S., the wood has a feel that connects at a deep level to mountain decor.  Of course, outdoors, these branches fit right in a garden area and are quite natural on the deck.