Brown yellowish with olive tones, resembling the teak wood at some extent, with thin, long grain. The wood exhibits pronounced chatoyance (different looks when light falls from different angles). Light rays appear frequently along the grain. On the end grain, it shows a velvety texture reminding of the old tobacco color. A well adaptable presence, it can warm an austere ambiance, or attenuate the exuberance of a vivacious one.
Remarkably hard (1700 on the Janka scale), stable (one of the lowest shrinkage rates) and prominently decay resistant (the longevity of locust wood articles is subject of legend in the rural society). Its long grain provides very good elasticity and exceptional shock resistance. It has a good ability to resist friction while staying smooth and is also famous for being stable and resistant even under extreme conditions of chemical activity, heat and moisture. On the grounds of these qualities, the black locust wood is frequently employed for tough, heavy-duty applications such as mine posts, railroad ties, ship decks and heavy traffic floorings. As a kitchen top or a bathroom counter top, however, it is used primarily because its aesthetics. Although tasteless and odorless, it doesn’t make a very good cutting surface because it dulls the knife blade quite fast.
It saws well but, being a dense and hard wood, it will wear out the saw blades quicker than other wood species. It sands very well but it tends to clog the sandpaper. Polishes to an exceptionally smooth surface, stains and finishes very well. Being already oily by nature, it will absorb very slowly an oil finishing or any other similar penetrating finishing.
Unlike the great majority of wood species, the quality of black locust wood is in an inverse proportion with the quality of the soil; the poorer the soil is, the denser and harder the wood becomes, due to the slow annual growth.