Featured Material: Black Locust

A native tree to the Northeast region, Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia) is one of the highest density woods in North America. As a building material, it is extremely strong, stable, rot resistant, and naturally durable, making it ideal for outdoor furniture, decking, and even in-ground applications like fence posts. It has a long history of vernacular utility and was the first forest tree species to be imported from North America to Europe in 1601.

In close collaboration with SITU, the project’s furniture fabricator, Tri-Lox sourced and milled Black Locust for custom benches on Little Island, a park in the Hudson River.

Black Locust seating, decking, and an outdoor shower, all part of a coastal residential renovation in collaboration with Schiller Projects.

Cultivating Forest Resilience and Regional Industry

The Black Locust tree is known for its adaptability and resilience, growing in a wide variety of site and soil conditions. Its ability to fix nitrogen—extract nitrogen from the air and convert it into necessary nutrients—means that it even thrives in poor soil. This quality also introduces more nutrients to the soil and surrounding plants and trees, helping improve water quality and control erosion. The flowers produced by Black Locust are an important source of food for honey bees. Overall, the tree is a valuable contributor to forest health.

Tri-Lox sources Black Locust from across the Northeast, where it is selectively harvested from local forests, woodlots, and farmlands in coordination with sustainable management practices that support long-term forest health and biodiversity. Working closely with a network of small- to medium-scale sawmills also strengthens manufacturing and local economies, empowering the strong local tradition of craft and many green jobs throughout the supply chain.

Key features

  • Locally sourced and made from sustainable practices
  • Low embodied carbon footprint through regional sourcing
  • Supports local manufacturing jobs
  • Offsets the need for illegal timber

Our Products: A Local Alternative to Tropical Hardwoods

Despite the impressive qualities of Black Locust as both a tree and timber, as well as its abundance in the region, it is an underutilized wood in the built environment. Black Locust offers the density and weather resistance of tropical hardwoods in a material that is harvested both sustainably and locally. In other words, the species presents the opportunity to meet performance demands while avoiding the ecological, social, and ethical harm caused by the excessively extractive and destructive harvesting practices that plague commercially valuable wood species coming from the world’s rainforests.

Decking and Cladding

For applications including decking, siding, and fence panels. You have the option to go beyond the standards and create custom specifications, including dimension, finish, and profile. Read more.

Landscape Timbers

Use naturally durable wood as an alternative to chemically treated wood. For applications that include ground contact such as retaining walls, timber pathways and steps, fence posts, and flower beds. Email us for more information.

Custom Fabrication 

With expertise in both digital and hand fabrication, we can collaborate with you to create custom components, furniture, and architectural installations. Contact us about your project.

Working with SCAPE, Tri-Lox engineered and fabricated custom Black Locust seating elements for Midtown Center plaza in Washington, D.C. Read more.

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The Howard Gilman Foundation