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Mesquite — One Texan’s Beast is Another’s Path to Beauty

Ask a rancher about a mesquite tree and they’ll likely tell you it’s a nuisance. Ask a craftsman and he'll tell you this blight on the Texas prairie is one of the state’s natural treasures.

Artists, craftsmen and builders have discovered a unique beauty hidden inside trunks so hard they’re called Texas ironwood.

“It’s just a really good-looking wood,” said Susan Lankford, co-owner of Lankford Mesquite Furniture (link opens in new window) in Abilene. “It’s a good wood for building. Because it’s a hardwood, it doesn’t require kiln drying and will not twist or warp like pecan or the softer woods. It shrinks only about six percent and it’s very stable.”

Lankford and her husband, Terry, own a mill they opened specifically for mesquite. They custom mill and sell lumber, but much of the wood is used to build one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.

“We make large items like beds and tables, and we’ve also made smaller pieces like coffee tables and lamps,” Lankford said. “We’ve made a lot of fireplace mantles, mesquite makes beautiful mantles. In the past year, we’ve sold a lot of lumber to an individual who is building a huge, new home and he’s making the whole thing out of mesquite. It’s going to be really something. The cabinets are out of mesquite and even the doors. And since mesquite is two-and-a-half times harder than oak, it makes really good flooring.”

Unique art and home furnishings — another way Agriculture is Your Culture.