Is Mesquite A Hardwood? (How hard is Mesquite?)

Is Mesquite a hardwood

Mesquite wood is mainly used for making furniture, fences, tool handles, decorative items, and many other woodworking projects.

When I was first working with Mesquite wood, I was curious about its hardness and eventually, learned so many things about the hardness of this cool lumber as a woodworker.

So, let’s discuss, Is Mesquite a hardwood?

Yes, Mesquite is a hardwood with excellent strength, toughness, and density. Mesquite has a Janka hardness rating of 2,340 lbf (10,410 N) which is significantly harder than most domestic hardwoods. Mesquite comes from deciduous hardwood trees, and it is the hardest North American wood.  

But there’s more to know about the hardness of Mesquite wood.

In this article, we’ll explore, is Mesquite a hardwood, how hard Mesquite is compared to other wood types, characteristics of Mesquite wood with all the pros and cons.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

Let’s jump in!

How Hard Is Mesquite?

Mesquite is known as the hardest among North American woods. It comes from deciduous trees like other hardwoods, but it is stronger, tougher, and denser than many of the well-known hardwoods.

According to the Janak hardness test, Mesquite has one of the best hardness ratings of 2,340 lbf (10,410 N). This resembles it is significantly harder than many other hardwoods.

Janka hardness rating is the standard method of measuring the hardness of wood upon its resistance against wear and shear forces.

If a particular wood has high shear and wears resistance, that means its Janak hardness rating is high.

Mesquite has medium to coarse grain fiber structure with wavy or straight grain patterns. The number of wood fibers per single cubic meter is so high.

This makes the wood so much denser and harder.

Mesquite wood is harder than Ash, Hickory, Maple, Beech, Red Oak, and Mahogany. Mesquite is 82% harder than Red Oak.

As you can see it is harder than any hardwood we have known for years.

Because of being hard and dense, the dimensional stability of Mesquite is also significantly higher than most woods. For example, Mesquite is 63% more stable than Red Oak.

You can easily select Mesquite among other woods for any project that has quite great hardness and strength. This is why it is popular in industrial projects as well.

Having excellent hardness is important to make both indoor and outdoor furniture and woodwork. You can use Mesquite furniture for so long with little maintenance.

Mesquite wood has a Janka hardness rating of 2,340 lbf (10,410 N) which is excellent. But let’s see how hard Mesquite wood is compared to many other wood types.

Wood SpeciesHardness value
Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Mesquite2,340 lbf (10,410 N)
Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Apple wood1,730 lbf (7,700 N)
Honey Locust1,580 lbf (7,030 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
American Beech1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Cherry995 lbf (4,430 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
Larch830 lbf (3,690 N)
Yellow Pine870 lbf (3,870 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
Willow570 lbf (2,530 N)
Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
Cypress510 lbf (2,269 N)
Cottonwood430 lbf (1,913 N)
Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
Basswood410 lbf (1,823 N)
Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
White Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
Aspen350 lbf (1,557 N)
White Cedar320 lbf (1,423 N)

As you can see Mesquite is placed well above most hardwoods. It has all the premium qualities considered hardwood.

Let’s see some characteristic features of Mesquite as a hardwood.

Mesquite Wood Characteristics

Mesquite wood is such a beautiful wood with reddish-brown heartwood which darkens into unique luxurious color with age. This brings a unique appearance to your furniture.

Mesquite has a diffuse porous structure with a normal space between wood fibers.

As you, there’re so many woods with incredibly high hardness values, but when it comes to the outdoor world, they rot and decay quite easily due to environmental elements like moisture, temperature changes, UV light, insect attacks, and a lot more.

But Mesquite is quite impressive. It has excellent rot and decay resistance which is so useful when it comes to outdoor projects.

Mesquite is surprisingly more durable than many other kinds of wood on the planet.

Therefore, Mesquite is able used for outdoor furniture. The wood can withstand moisture, temperature changes, and harsh weather conditions.

But I highly recommend you apply a proper quality sealant over Mesquite for better protection.

After applying a quality sealant on Mesquite furniture or woodwork they will easily last for a lifetime with no issues. They only need very little maintenance from time to time.

When it comes to working, Mesquite is surprisingly easy to work with. Most woods with great hardness and density are difficult to work with because of their toughness.

But working with Mesquite is quite easy with both hand tools and power tools. You can cut, screw, drill, or nail Mesquite wood easily.

This is because Mesquite is a quality that is free from defects.

But areas with irregular grain patterns and knots make working a little bit difficult. But it can be fixed by selecting a straight-grain Mesquite wood for your projects.

Finishing, staining, sealing, and gluing Mesquite wood is also easy because of its excellent finishing properties.

Because of being durable, hard, and dense with high workability and excellent weather resistance Mesquite is one of the best wood for furniture and other woodworking projects.

Mesquite is a great wood even for a beginner in woodworking. It is so difficult to tell the drawbacks of this amazing wood.

Here’re the most significant qualities of Mesquite wood,

  • Hardwood
  • Excellent durability
  • High rot and decay resistance
  • Darkens over time
  • Easy to work with
  • High density
  • No characteristic odor
  • Easy to finish and stain

Here’re the main characteristic features of Mesquite wood.

ColorReddish brown darkens with age
Density820 kg/m3
Hardness2,340 lbf (10,410 N)
Wood TypeHardwood
ApplicationsFencing, Furniture making, Flooring

So, let’s have a look at some advantages and disadvantages of using Mesquite wood.

Pros And Cons Of Mesquite Wood

Excellent hardness and densityLess availability
High durabilityModerately expensive
High workability 
Easy to finish 
Decay resistant 
Attractive wood color 
No characteristic odor 

As you can see there’re lots of benefits of using Mesquite over other wood despite being rare. It is one of the most underrated woods on the planet.

Let’s see some applications of Mesquite wood.

What Is Mesquite Wood Used For?

Mesquite wood can be used literally for any woodworking project without working about its stability, strength, density, or hardness.

It does an exceptional job as a hardwood for the woodworking field. Mesquite is great for both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects due to its high weather resistance.

Here’re some popular applications of Mesquite wood,

  • Making indoor and outdoor furniture
  • Residential projects
  • Industrial projects
  • Fencing
  • Flooring
  • Wood carving projects
  • Wood turning projects
  • Cabinets
  • Paneling
  • Doors making
  • Knife handles

As you can see the clear reason behind the versatility of Mesquite wood. It is a top-rated hardwood with lots of benefits.

How Strong Mesquite Wood Is?

Mesquite is one of the strongest hardwood types on the planet. You can use Mesquite wood for any project that carries a heavy load and force. It won’t break quite easily as softwoods.

Mesquite has exceptional density and high dimensional stability which is useful to keep the wood steady even when the forces are applied on.

The crushing and bending strengths of Mesquite wood are impressive.

The compressive strength and bending strength of Mesquite wood are as follows,

  • The compressive strength of Mesquite wood is 67.3 Mpa
  • The bending strength of Mesquite wood is 115.5 Mpa

Having high bending strength is super useful when softening wood with steam and for woodturning and carving projects.

You can shape and cut the Mesquite wood easily without chipping, warping, or splitting the wood.

Overall, Mesquite wood is stronger and heavier than Hickory and Oak.

That’s it, folks! Hope you knew everything you wanted to know about, is Mesquite a hardwood.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Is Mesquite Harder Than Oak?

Yes, Mesquite is harder than Oak. Both Red Oak and White Oak are softer, less dense, and weaker than Mesquite wood.

Therefore, you can easily replace Oak with Mesquite considering their hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Mesquite and Oak are as follows,

Wood Type Hardness
Mesquite2,340 lbf
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf

Is Mesquite Hard To Split?

Mesquite is a little bit hard to split because of its tight grain structure, high density, and hardness.

But splitting Mesquite is easier than many hardwoods because of its straight grain structure. You can use Mesquite wood as firewood.

You need to have a well-sharpened axe and try to split Mesquite when it is greener since it will be much easier to split when the wood is fresh.

Is Mesquite Harder Than Hickory?

Mesquite is harder than Hickory. Mesquite is heavier, stronger, denser, and more durable than hickory. It is one of the hardest wood among North American hardwoods.

Therefore, you can easily replace Hickory with Mesquite considering their hardness.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Mesquite and Oak are as follows,

Wood Type Hardness
Mesquite2,340 lbf
Red Oak1,820 lbf

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Mesquite A Hardwood?

In this article, we have deeply discussed, whether is Mesquite a hardwood and how hard Mesquite is compared to other popular wood types like Hickory and Oak. The characteristic features of Mesquite wood with pros and cons.

Mesquite is a hardwood with extremely high density, toughness, and strength. It has a Janak hardness rating of 2,340 lbf (10,410 N) which is significantly harder than any North American hardwood. Because of its being hard and durable, Mesquite is used for commercial and large construction projects.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about the hardness of Mesquite wood.

Now you know, is Mesquite a hardwood or softwood. try to use it for your next woodworking project and experience its hardness in a practical scenario.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

1 thought on “Is Mesquite A Hardwood? (How hard is Mesquite?)”

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