The mesquite is a deceiving plant. The most common shrub or small tree of the desert Southwest,, mesquite often appears twisted, gnarly and usually thorny on the outside, in fact, some consider it downright ugly.
The taproots, which can be larger than the trunk, are often dug up and used for firewood, and next to ironwood, mesquite is the best-known firewood of the desert because it burns slowly and is smokeless.
The wood is also used for fence posts, tool handles and to create aromatic charcoal for barbecuing.
Finding mesquite pieces large enough to make into furniture is difficult- less so if you prefer rustic furniture and don´t mind having the imperfections on view. However, artisans creating fine furniture sometime go through many cords of mesquite to find enough usable wood to make a chair, a desk, or a table.
In the desert plains, mesquite is more of a bush, but the shrubs can grow and average of 20 feet tall in other areas. 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.
Mesquite is protected resource in Mexico and the Mexican government issues permits for a certain amount to be sold for businesses like mine.
Mexican landowners are allowed to cut only so many, so it is controlled. They are starting to become very aware of their eco-system and have started taking precautions to see that it´s not in danger.
It´s very dense harder than maple or oak, and one of the most stable woods in the world.
The exciting range of color, shapes, and grain dramatically present in the outer wood is the basis for our craft items.
Mesquite, teak and mahogany are equally ranked as the most stable hardwoods in the world. The American Hardwood Association classifies mesquite as ¨replenishable, rare and exotic.¨ ¨Mesquite is a very stable wood and when it shifts or moves, it doesn´t buckle or split,¨ he said.
Long-lasting, it can withstand heavy weight and moisture changes.
Mesquite cutting boards used in commercial kitchens and was washed repeatedly in dishwashers retain their integrity for a lifetime with no checking, splitting, or warping. “No other hardwood offer mesquite´s wide range of color and grain. It varies in tone from lemon, honey, and caramel, to burgundy and from straight grain to highly figured including burled, quilted, bird´s eye, and fiddle back.”
Mesquite has several characteristics that help it survive
It adapts to almost any soil that is not soggy
Mesquite beans can lie dormant for many years-some say up to 40 years- waiting for the right conditions for sprouting.