alamo hardwoods | san antonio | texas mesquite honey lumber
There is no no more Texas wood than Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). Most of the world would consider it a bush or shrub, but Texas has long had a love/hate relationship with this tree. Texas is home to the "Honey" mesquite, which is a different species than the "Screwbean" variety found in Arizona and further west. The beans provide food for cattle and Native Americans. This also helped it's spread across the Southwest with the cattle drives.  It has since become the bane of most ranchers, who pay to have it eradicated by spraying.

The lumber of the Mesquite is remarkably durable. Mesquite wood is two to three times harder than oak, which makes Mesquite an excellent choice for flooring. Mesquite wood is also VERY rot resistant, making it suitable for exterior doors and woodwork. Mesquite wood was even used for wagon wheel hubs (see photo).

That's all the good news. The bad news is the tree itself. The Mesquite tree has one of the most irregular growing patterns imaginable. The wood also tends to crack significantly when growing, making it very hard to get large, clear pieces of Mesquite lumber.  Insects frequently attack the sap wood, leaving interesting channels as they eat the wood and digest it. Texas A&M University is studying various means of turning Mesquite into a less "feisty" and more useable species.

Once cut, Mesquite wood is remarkably stable and has a grain and color close to that of Honduras Mahogany. The most successful finishes on Mesquite tend to be the old fashioned oil/wax combinations that allow the wood to oxidize and richen to a dark reddish brown. Modern urethane type finishes keep the air away from the wood and leave it with a duller appearance. 

Mesquite lumber is available only from small, local sawmills so specialized pieces can often be requested. Natural edge mantels are a favorite mesquite use.  Large enough pieces can be sourced to produce flooring and moldings for traditional millwork, though.  One of the favorite mesquite flooring options is end grain blocks, set into mastic almost like laying tile. This is seen in the 1970's addition to the McNay Museum in San Antonio. The cracks and insect channels are part of the beauty of mesquite wood, and if they are not to your liking, then Texas Mesquite should not be your first choice. Mesquite is an excellent wood for furniture and decorative items where its natural character and "personality" can shine. (and be sure to save your leftovers for the bar-b-q grill!)
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Mesquite, Flat cut with typical cracks

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Mesquite Trees near Mexico City

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Mesquite Trees (foreground)

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Wagon Wheel Hub

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Mesquite, Natural Edge Slab

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Mesquite Slabs showing typical insect damage

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Natural edge slab with square corbels

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Thick Lumber

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Showroom rack with lumber

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Mesquite End Grain Flooring Blanks

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Mesquite Flooring, finished

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Mesquite Mantel, Crown Style

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Craftsman Style Fireplace Surround

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Mesquite Sculpture Base, William Carrington Bronze Labs

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Mesquite Table

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Flooring and Bowl

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Herringbone mesquite floor in Mexico City's Chapultepec Castle

#1 Fredericksburg Road at “Five Points” | P.O. Box 5398 | San Antonio, TX 78201 | T 210-736-3137 | F 210-736-3136