Elm (American) Hardwood

Elm (American)

American Elm (Ulmus americana) is a light to mid-brown hardwood, with a red tinge and a straight, occasionally interlocked grain. Its texture is coarse and woolly, with a greyish-white to light brown sapwood. American Elm is a highly versatile wood, suitable for furniture, boatbuilding, coffins and a variety of other applications. If available from sustainable and legal sources, it can be used to create beautiful, durable pieces.

American Elm is a strong and hardy wood, with a medium density and good shock resistance. It is easy to saw and work with hand and machine tools, and takes stain and polish well. It is also resistant to rot and decay, making it an excellent choice for outdoor use.

American Elm is a great choice for a variety of projects, from furniture to boatbuilding. Its unique grain and color make it a beautiful addition to any home or workspace. With its excellent strength, durability and resistance to rot, American Elm is a timber that will stand the test of time.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
American White Elm, Florida Elm, Elm, Soft Elm, Water Elm. , White Elm

Durability Notes:
Elm (American) wood is moderately durable

The drying and seasoning of Elm (American) 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; Elm (American) - dries well, but care should be taken to prevent warping. Ring failure can occur. 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.

American Elm has medium crushing and bending strengths, a high resistance to shock loads, very low stiffness and good steam-bending properties. The wood works well with hand and machine tools. American Elm has good nailing, screwing and gluing properties. American Elm takes stain well and can be polished to a high finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Flooring, Cabinetry, Millwork, Trim, Doors, Musical Instruments, Turnings.

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

Commonly asked questions about American Elm Wood

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

Is American Elm good for outdoor use? or is American Elm good for exterior use? American Elm is most suited for interior/interior use. American Elm can 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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