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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-08-2014, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Question Working with Mesquite

I purchased some mesquite in Arizona last fall. Does any one have tips, precautions or other advice for working with this wood? I will be doing some kind of project like boxes, cutting boards etc.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-07-2014, 10:35 PM
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Wear a mask and make sure you are okay with the wood.

I love the smell of it when I turn it, but I have had others say they hate the smell.

I just turned some spindles today of mesquite. I love the grain it is very beautiful. To me it reminds me of more exotic woods, it can finish to a smooth tight finish. I always use water in my last several sandings, it lifts the grain and makes it smoother. I find the way it reacts to water interesting. It seems to raise more than some other grains. Maybe due to it being a water hog in nature. They say if you rid your property of mesquite you will have all kinds of water for other plants. Don't know if that is an old wives tale or not.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:02 AM
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One thing you might need to be aware of is that mesquite is susceptible to borers. If you bought, or cut, logs or large blocks, there may be areas of where they have bored cavities.

It's really not as hard some assume but it does dull HSS readily. Probably due to a high content of minute sand particles (silica?) from the blowing desert sands. I know that even my bi-metal blades dull quickly when resawing mesquite.

I've used quite a bit of mesquite and don't find the dust an irritant. Not all people are unaffected, though.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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After a bit of work, I found that my piece sawed, resawed, and sanded fairly easy. The only problem I had was routing crossgrain. That may have been due to not so sharp bit.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 07:01 PM
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I have used a bit of mesquite here in AZ and love the smell and beautiful wild grain in it. It definitely dulls tooling very fast and I always get everything sharpened before starting. After a good sanding it will finish amazing
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 07:32 PM
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Works well in the smoker for ribs.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene Howe View Post
One thing you might need to be aware of is that mesquite is susceptible to borers. If you bought, or cut, logs or large blocks, there may be areas of where they have bored cavities.

It's really not as hard some assume but it does dull HSS readily. Probably due to a high content of minute sand particles (silica?) from the blowing desert sands. I know that even my bi-metal blades dull quickly when resawing mesquite.

I've used quite a bit of mesquite and don't find the dust an irritant. Not all people are unaffected, though.
??? It's not hard? I always assumed it was. (I haven't worked with it.) Is it softer than Madrone? Madrone seems hard and dense to me. I just thought they were related somehow...(?)

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 07:40 AM
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Mike,
I didn't mean to imply that mesquite wasn't hard. Just not as hard as some folks might assume.
According to the Janka scale, Mesquite is probably one of the hardest of the domestics. Hickory and Pecan are just a bit less hard. But the Janka scale is used primarily as a test to determine suitability for flooring. How mar resistant is it. Workability isn't a consideration. I find mesquite relatively easy to work.



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??? It's not hard? I always assumed it was. (I haven't worked with it.) Is it softer than Madrone? Madrone seems hard and dense to me. I just thought they were related somehow...(?)

Gene Howe
Snowflake, AZ

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