Ash (European) Hardwood

Ash (European)

European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a versatile timber, with a range of uses from cabinetmaking and furniture to turnery. The sapwood and heartwood of European Ash are not clearly separable, and the colour is generally creamy to light tan, with occasional streaks of dark brown to black. This heartwood is similar in appearance to olivewood and is sometimes referred to as olive ash. European Ash is tough, heavy, straight-grained and flexible, with a coarse but even texture. It is a reliable timber, capable of withstanding a range of temperatures and conditions. European Ash is an ideal choice for a range of woodworking projects, and is available from sustainable and legal sources.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Commons Ash; Frene (French), Gewone Es (Dutch). Usually Distinguished By Country Of Origin: English, Gemeine Esche (German), Polish, Etc, French

Durability Notes:
Ash (European) wood is non durable. It is perishable and should only be considered for internal use.

The drying and seasoning of Ash (European) 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; Ash (European) - Since it dries fairly quickly, care is needed to avoid splitting and checking. European Ash is moderately stable 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.

Ash is an excellent wood for steam bending. European Ash has medium resistance to crushing and shock loads and low stiffness. European Ash is tough and resilient, with good elasticity. Ash works well with both hand and machine tools but can have a tolerable blunting effect on cutters. it saws, stains and finishes well.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinets, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Boat Building, Interior Trim, Turnings

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

Commonly asked questions about European Ash Wood

Is European Ash a hardwood or a softwood? European Ash is a hardwood. It is the same for; is European Ash hardwood or softwood? - European Ash 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 Ash 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 European Ash? European Ash can be described as light brown, yellow/brown

Is European Ash good for outdoor use? or is European Ash good for exterior use? European Ash is most suited for internal/interior use. European Ash should not 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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