If you ever want to dabble in woodworking, you will more likely tinker with Ashwood, and you might also ask whether Ash is hardwood. Ash is a significant wood in the lumber industry because of its strength and lightness. It is also shock resistant and can give your project a great look.
As a hardwood, Ash has a Janka hardness rating of 1,320 lbf or 5,900N. Being a hardwood, it comes from a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves during autumn. It is highly resistant to scratches and dents and is characterized by durability. Besides, it is easy to maintain.
Density and Hardness of Ash Wood
You can find many Ashwood products today because Ash is an excellent wood. But it is challenging to gauge the qualities of Ashwood if you would not compare it to other wood types. Of course, Ash (1,320 lbf) is harder than most softwoods and many hardwoods. Moreover, it is harder than Red Oak (1,290 lbf), Birch (1,210 lbf), Walnut (1010 lbf), and Cherry (950 lbf).
A closer look at the Ash wood structure would reveal its large ring-porous structure. Because of this structure, it is denser than other wood. Besides, its pores control the extension and spread of its grain, making it denser and harder than other woods.
The scientific name of Ash is Fraxinus, and it belongs to the olive tree family. You will find up to 65 species of this tree. Besides, it grows in almost all parts of the world. In North America, for example, you will find dozens of ash tree varieties. Nevertheless, the most widespread types of Ash are Green Ash and White Ash.
Characteristics and Properties of Ash Wood
Ashwood carries a light color with smooth grains. Its straight grain ranges in color from light brown to beige color. Besides, its grains are attractive, making it an excellent choice for fine furniture. Plus, you will find durable varieties of Ash wood. Additionally, throughout the centuries, Ash has been used for making furniture.
Ashwood is durable and lightweight. It is also aesthetically excellent and carries stains well. It is also shock-resistant, which makes it a perfect choice for making baseball bats, restaurant furniture, and tool handles.
The colors of Ash, as mentioned above, range from light brown to beige. Nevertheless, you can also find white and soft sapwoods in this tree. Moreover, this wood gets often used for making dining tables because of its excellent grains and colors.
When exposed to UV light, Ash wood’s color changes from lighter to darker, especially for species with a lighter color. However, those with darker color changes to a lighter color.
The grain pattern of Ash is highly patented because it is hardwood. Yet, its grain patterns can also be determined by the growing conditions in which it finds itself.
Although not wholly resistant to pest and insect attack, it can exhibit a fair resistance to pests. One pest that constantly affects this wood is the Emerald ash borer.
4 major Types of Ash Wood
If you travel around the world, you will find around sixty species of Ash. However, you will only see around eighteen species in the United States. Below are the most common species you will find:
1) Green Ash Wood
The heartwood of the Green Ash Wood carries a medium to light brown hue, while the sapwood ranges in color from light brown to beige. It has a coarse-to-medium texture like that of oak and is a bit more durable than oak. Nevertheless, it is workable. This tree can grow up to 65 feet.
2) Black Ash Wood
The Black Ash Wood is native to the wetlands of the North. This tree belongs to the smallest species of Ash and carries a dark-brown heartwood with a bit of light-colored sapwood.
3) European Ash Wood
Another popular variety of Ash is European Ash which grows naturally throughout Asia and Europe. It also grows in North America. Moreover, its heartwood carries a medium to very light brown color. Its wood is workable. Thus, it gets commonly used for making tables, chairs, and flooring.
4) White Ash Wood
White Ash grows taller than other Ash tree varieties. Its trunk can expand up to 6 feet in diameter and grows up to 120 feet tall. It also has a whiter hue than other types of Ash, yet, it is not pure white but tannish. It also exhibits a coarse texture and straight and even grains.
Applications & Uses of Ash Wood
As mentioned above, you can use Ash for many woodworking projects. You can use it for making doors, flooring, furniture, architectural molding, and cabinetry. You can also use it for making oars, baseball bats, veneers, turnings, and millwork. Below are the most common applications of Ashwood:
- Cabinets: You can make excellent cabinets using Ash wood. The cabinets you can make out of this wood can be very awesome and durable. Besides, they could be beautiful.
- Furniture: Ashwood has long been used for making different types of furniture. The furniture you can make out of this wood is solid and durable. Besides, they could be stunning but inexpensive to make.
- Wooden Tool Handles: Ashwood is ideal for making tool handles because of its shock-resistant property. Thus, it gets often used for making garden rakes and shovel handles.
- Hockey Sticks: Manufacturers also use this wood for making hockey sticks. Of course, most hockey sticks used in tournaments are made of willow and maple wood. Yet, these woods are expensive. Thus, Ash wood can be an affordable alternative to these costly woods.
- Doors: Ashwood is an excellent candidate for making doors. It is solid and beautiful and is shock resistant. As such, it is perfect for making doors and door frames.
- Household Items: You can also use Ash wood for making household items like drum shells and bowls. It is elastic and durable, which makes it perfect for such things.
- Hardwood Flooring: Ashwood is a perfect choice for making hardwood flooring. Its heartwood is durable and can absorb shock well. Thus, it is an ideal choice for areas that experience heavy foot traffic. Besides, it is beautiful to look at.
- Other Timber Products: You can make various timber products out of Ash wood. These timber products include treads, staircases, timber frames, molding, and tools. This wood is excellent for its elastic qualities, which means you can steam bend it to make tools like baseball bats, drum shells, tool handles, and bows. Maple is the ideal wood for baseball bats, but it is expensive. So, if you want a cheaper alternative, you can also use Ash wood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from knowing the properties and applications of Ash wood, it will also help if you are familiar with the FAQs about Ash wood, for they may also be the questions playing on in your mind:
Is Ashwood ideal for woodworking?
Yes, Ash wood is a perfect choice for woodworking because of the abovementioned sterling qualities of this wood. It is strong and shock resistant. It is also beautiful when finished. Besides, it is elastic and perfect for steam-bending wood. Such properties are seldom seen in some wood, especially hardwood.
You can also stain it well, and it is easy to polish. Thus, it is perfect for furniture making and flooring. Moreover, it handles screwing, nailing, gluing, and machining well.
If you’re a beginner in woodworking, you might find it hard to tell whether a piece of furniture contains Ash wood. The reason is that Ash resembles the properties of oak, especially when stained. Thus, you may mistake a piece of ash furniture for oak.
Ashwood is one of the least rot-resistant wood. So, you can’t keep this wood outdoors. Yet, if you can seal this wood well, you can use it outdoors. You can also use various finishes on this wood, like varnish, wax, lacquer, and oil. Each finish, however, necessitates different care.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.