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.    


This 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.


These two Black Locust Logs show the Posts being formed by natural drying.
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.



Tools 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.

Most aging Logs of other species develop only Radial Check Lines
which radiate out from the center, like Spokes on a wheel.



This pile of Posts was split from the two Logs shown above.
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.




Making Posts:
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;
hollow Trees tend to split easier,  and the post thickness is often more uniform. This means even less work per Post.



A tapered Post top sheds Rain, and helps prolong Post life, and if you  backfill the Post Holes with 2B Stones or Gravel to provide better drainage, your Posts will last even longer. A coating of good Barn Paint will enhance their appearance,
and further protect them.


Locust is also a Great Firewood.

But be warned that this Wood is extremely hard, and hard on saw teeth, too.
It is said that "Dry Locust should have one Man sawing, and two Men sharpening."

If you find lots of Woodpecker Beaks and Insect Teeth lying near the Trunk,
you can bet it's a Locust Tree.









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