|Making Locust Posts
Fence Posts of Black Locust were appreciated by Settlers
because they last forever (almost), the price was right,
and there was no Fence Post Store in The Mall.
These two Black Locust Logs show the Posts being formed by natural drying.
Locust Deadfall indicates how the wood remains sound even after it is
attacked by Mosses and Bacteria, and the splitting effects of aging,
which produces ready-made Posts of random thickness. A Hatchet or Axe can be used to shape or split them further.
On the left are five potential Posts sturdy enough to confine Horses and Cattle
The eight on the right are smaller; just right for Sheep, Goats, and Chickens.
of the Trade are shown with the Locust Logs that have developed the
typical split Lines around their circumference, which multiply and
become more pronounced as the wood ages. These are the natural
parameters which determine the Post dimensions.
Here, two Wedges are being used to coax Posts from the Log. Square Wedges are preferred for this job, and the round Wedge for splitting Firewood, where it is driven into the center of the log, often creating three or more splits.
Depending on conditions, Nature may form nearly complete Posts as the Log ages. It
may also develop circular Check Lines at one or more Growth Rings,
which will determine the thickness of these natural Posts.
This pile of Posts was split from the two Logs shown above.
Most aging Logs of other species develop only Radial Check Lines
which radiate out from the center, like Spokes on a wheel.
Note that some radial splits are still available which
would produce more but narrower Posts.
Note the vertical
cracks in this bare Locust Trunk. They're an indication of Fence Posts
waiting to be split out. Before long, the Wind will lift the Roots from the
Ground, and the Tree will fall over. Then it will lie there for many
years impervious to the attacks of Weather and Creatures.
Dead Locust may be recognized by its total lack of Bark, which has long since fallen off and decomposed. And if
the Locust Tree is lying on the ground, its Roots may elevate the trunk, making it
easy to cut without worry of Stones and dirt dulling your Chainsaw.
First cut the Trunk into the length of the Posts you want:
A five-foot post with two feet buried would be a seven-foot Log.
A 28-foot Trunk would give 4 Logs, or 15 to 20 Fence Posts.
Mark the Trunk starting near the Roots. Then cut it, starting at the top, to take advantage of the Root elevation. Of course, the Log nearest the Roots should produce more Posts than the thinner Log near the top.
Use a Steel Wedge at the end of a Log to widen an existing split, or to start
your own split if you want thinner Posts. Splits tend to be parallel,
which produces relatively straight Posts. If you encounter a knot, you may have to
use a Chainsaw or Hand Saw to free the post.
If a Locust Tree happens to be hollow, it may be a blessing;
Trees tend to split easier, and the post thickness is often more uniform. This means even
less work per Post.