Ask The Experts

Timber Framing Questions & Answers

Ask Us a Question

Can Black Locust Timbers Be Used As Structural Beams?

Asked by Cliff on November 12, 2013

Hi. My name is Cliff Wallace & I am an architectural designer who, is currently in the preliminary planning stages for a home I hope to build for myself & future family. I have been thinking about the incorporation of heavy timber into the design & I needed to get some general information that I hope you cold provide.

Specifically, one idea has been to support a large expanse of ceiling that covers both the Living & Dinning rooms with some heavy timber Black Locust beams. I know this is not the typical timber of choice for structural beams but, given my the I’m here in Pennsylvania where Black Locust is readily availabile and where I’m considering building the house, I was curious if is something you had any experience milling and more importantly, is it even a good choice of material for this type of application? I would really appreciate you thoughts .


P.S. Great work featured on the website!!!

Answered by Doug Friant

Dear Cliff,

Congratulations on planning for you home. It is always an exciting endeavor. Regarding Black Locust, we did try to source it for a job at one point, but were unable to find lengths over 12 feet. It does have good design values however. If you can find the lengths, it is certainly a possibility. Other timber choices are Douglas Fir, Eastern Hemlock, Cypress, Red or White Oak, and lastly White Pine (which is much weaker structurally than the others).

Please feel free to contact us with questions any time.



  1. William Kitchens says:

    What are the dimensions for the compression ring for the Chapel for the Holy Apostles. I would like to investigate a similar design for the top of a round barn that I am planning. Thanks

    • Sandy Connolly says:

      Hello William, thanks for stopping by. Please call the office to discuss your project – 802-886-1917. If you want the steel ring for look alone, we can help with proportion. If you have a structural engineering need, we can also help. We look forward to hearing from you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Vermont Timber Works