Longhorn Mesquite Works
glandulosa) covers about 100 million acres in the southwestern states
of American and in Mexico. Over 50 million of those acres are in
Texas. Varieties include: honey mesquite, honey pod, algarobo, velvet
mesquite, common mesquite, and western honey mesquite. In the desert
plains, mesquite is more of a bush, but they can grow an average of 20
feet tall in other areas. A thorny tree, the mesquite flowers and
produces bean in autumn.
The mesquite tree's
root system can grow more than 100 feet down in search of water, making
it a hardy survivor in harsh climates.
Long before the
first Anglo settlers came to Texas, Native Americans used mesquite in
its entirety, seeing it as an integral part of their culture. They
made sewing needles from the thorns and used the inner bark to make baskets
and fabric. The bean pods served as food and were used to make medicinal
tea. The mesquite's sap was used for black dye and sweet gum, and,
of course, the wood was used to make arrows and bows for hunting.
Early pioneers used
mesquite for fence posts, wagon wheels and furniture, as well as fires
for warmth and cooking. Mesquite slabs even served as street and
Today, many people
associate mesquite with barbecue, but it has numerous other uses, such
as flooring and staircases where it's ideal due to its durability.
It's become a medium for artistic carvings, and is still used as a food
source in items such as jellies, honey, liquid smoke and pod flour.
It also provides livestock fodder and cover and is food for deer and turkeys.
Finally, mesquite is used to make furniture pieces ranging from doors,
paneling, lumber and fence posts to rocking chairs, humidors, desks and
Mesquite is a very
stable wood; when it shifts or moves, it doesn't buckle or split.
Long-lasting, it can withstand heavy weight and moisture changes.
Mesquite is medium brown and gold with a swirling smooth to coarse grain
that makes it a beautiful medium to work with. "Defects"
such as bark pockets, ring shake and resin pockets are found in larger
logs. Occasionally, mesquite wood will show evidence of mineral
streaks, ingrown bark, latent buds, and bug blemishes. These defects
often add to the character of the rustic furniture created from mesquite
Mesquite trees provide
much more than shade and firewood. Throughout history, they have
quietly provided necessities crucial to our survival and to the balance
of nature. From firewood to furniture, mesquite has proven to be
one of the most useful trees in Texas.