A Batch of Mesquite Rocker Back Legs

Mesquite trees do not grow straight or tall. They tend to make multiple trunks and to make branches low to the ground.  They twist. Most mesquite trunks of 12″ in diameter or more have many radial cracks, i.e. cracks from the heart of the tree to near the sapwood.   Other cracks appear randomly. Knots and other defects are numerous. The grain runs in wild directions.

Therefore, it is difficult to find and produce sound and beautiful parts from cuts of mesquite wood. I would not use the term “lumber” for cuts of mesquite wood for “lumber” implies a structural integrity to the piece. We must search for a few parts in a sea of waste.

Recently, we received some mesquite wood that had been selected for us by the sawmill from a large volume of wood. At the mill, they used our patterns to find backlegs, but they did not understand our specifications and how strictly we adhere to our specifications. Hoping against certainty, we marked and milled this wood.

Austin re-marking backlegs — on a shipping day.

Austin re-marking backlegs

We sorted the legs that we developed into three categories, with the worst face up.

  • Top: Firewood
  • Center: Let us look again and maybe…
  • Bottom: We can use these.

Legs sorted



Looking again . . . These are firewood.

Firewood too

We can use four of twenty-four.

Four we can use

This was an unusually poor yield, but it is illustrative of the amount of waste and the rarity of good, sound mesquite worthy of fine chairs. The mill went through another mountain of wood and sent some better rough blanks. The backlegs that meet specification are in the kiln.

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