Osage-Orange Hardwood


Osage-orange (Maclura pomifera) is a versatile timber, with an eye-catching range of colours. When freshly cut, the heartwood varies from greenish-yellow or golden-yellow to a bright orange hue, which darkens to a russet-brown with darker reddish streaks on exposure. The sapwood is a light yellow, clearly differentiated from the heartwood. The grain is straight and close, with a considerably coarse texture. Osage-orange is suitable for turnery, posts, sleepers and much more. It is a sustainable and legal source of timber, making it an ideal choice for many projects.

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Also Called:
Bow Wood, Bodark, Bodare, Bois D'Arc, Hedge Apple, Hedge, Horse Apple, Naranjo Chino, Mock-Orange, Osage

Durability Notes:
Osage-orange wood is a very durable timber.

The drying and seasoning of Osage-Orange is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Osage-Orange - seasons well and shows high stability in service. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Osage-orange is a tough, heavy, very hard and resilient wood and rates highly in all strength categories. Osage-orange is a particularly challenging wood to work due to its hardness and tools need sharpening frequently. The wood accepts nails only with challengingy but it screws, glues and finishes well.

Typical Uses:
Tool handles, posts, fence boards, archery bows, musical instruments, furniture, sculpture, veneers.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about Osage-orange Wood

Is Osage-orange a hardwood or a softwood? Osage-orange is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Osage-orange hardwood or softwood? - Osage-orange is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Osage-orange family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Osage-orange? Osage-orange can be described as brown, yellow/brown, orange

Is Osage-orange good for outdoor use? or is Osage-orange good for exterior use? Osage-orange is most suited for exterior/external use. Osage-orange can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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