When freshly cut, the heartwood is golden yellow, sometimes with reddish streaks, but becomes russet-brown upon exposure. The thin sapwood is white and
sharply demarcated from the heartwood. The odor and taste are not distinctive. The luster is high. The wood is very hard, heavy, tough and resilient. Osage-orange
ranks very high in strength properties compared with other North American timber species. It surpasses white oak in strength but not stiffness.
Because of the hardness of the wood, it is difficult to work and tools require frequent sharpening. It is difficult to nail, but holds screws well, and is
easily glued. When finishing, oils should be avoided, as they will accelerate the color change process.
In the past, Osage-orange was widely used for wheel rims and hubs of farm wagons. Because of its durability when in contact with the soil, it makes superior fence posts and
railroad ties. It is extensively used to obtain important dyestuffs. The woodworker will be tempted to use it for turnery and novelties.