Black Locust - robinia pseudoacacia

Black locust belongs to the fabaceae or the pea family of trees. It is native to the southeastern United States and has been naturalized in the temperate zones of Europe and Asia. It was introduced into Britain in 1636. It grows to a height of 70 feet and has a dark grey brown bark tinged with red. The wood from the black locust is a pale yellowish brown and it is extremely hard and durable. It has a Janka Hardness Rating of 1,700 (pounds force).

Black Locust lumber is very useful because it is very resistent to rotting from exposure to water and grows rapidly. Furthermore, black locust can grow in poor soil because it has nitrogen-fixing bacteria on its root system. This means it can be grown without fertilizer inputs. Sadly many black locust trees have been ruined by a borer insect that makes it useless as a commercial lumber.

Because black locust is very hard, strong and rot resistent it a great wood for flooring. Plus it moves very little making it a stable flooring material. Black locust flooring has a similar grain to oak and has a beautiful golden colour. The wood polishes to a smooth surface, can be stained easily and polishes to a high finish.

Due to the borer insect blight of black locust it is now a relatively expensive flooring material and it makes a lot more sense to use reclaimed black locust. It has been extensively used in the States because it is harder than hickory, maple or oak for supporting mine shafts; and because it is rot resistent it was used for barn building and outdoor furniture. Thus there is a plentiful supply of antique and reclaimed black locust on the market. A reclaimed black locust floor will outlast nearly any other flooring.

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