Just a quick love letter to the Southwest’s one true hardwood – mesquite. You might know it as the stuff of rangeland fence posts and back yard barbecues, but … it has higher uses.
Furniture makers are drawn to mesquite for its color – a deep red and orange – and its character. The wood is fine grained and, because the trees are small, the lumber is often marked with “defects”, i.e. knot holes, worm holes, ingrown bark. Used carefully, these can make eye-catching details. The lumber is often used in live-edge slabs, but also looks handsome when milled square and incorporated into more rectilinear forms.
Mesquite is among the hardest of hardwoods, making it tough on tools. The trade-off is that it is also exceptionally stable. It doesn’t swell and contract as much as other woods do with seasonal changes in humidity.