Elm European Hardwood

Elm European

European Elm, also known by its botanical name Ulmus hollandica, is a species of wood with a unique character. When newly cut, the European Elm has a distinct sapwood, clearly separable from the heartwood. After seasoning, the European Elm has a dull brown hue. Its grain is usually straight, but can sometimes be cross-grained. The annual rings are particularly visible, due to the large pores in the early wood, and create an attractive figure in the coarse-textured wood.

European Elm is a highly versatile timber, with a range of uses. It is suitable for cabinetmaking, joinery, furniture and more. Its unique characteristics make it a sought-after species of wood, and it can be sourced from sustainable and legal sources.

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Material Type:

Also Called:
Cork-Bark Elm, Hollandische Ulme (German), Orme Hollandais (French), Hollandse Bastaardiep (Dutch)

Durability Notes:
The sapwood of Elm is vulnerable to attack from the common furniture beetle and powder-post beetle. European Elm takes preservative treatment well, whereas the heartwood is moderately challenging to treat. Elm is classed as non durable.

The drying and seasoning of Elm 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; Elm European - dries quickly and can experience distortion along with checking and slight splitting, unless care is taken. 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.

European Elm has low bending and crushing strengths and very low stiffness and resistance to shock loads. Dutch elm is much tougher than English elm (U. procera), and has very good steam-bending qualities. The wood can be challenging to work if it contains irregular grain. It has a tolerable blunting effect on cutting edges and is liable to tear during planing and to bind when being sawn. It accepts glues, stains, nails and screws well and a good finish can be obtained by polishing or waxing.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinets, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Artwork, Veneers, Turnery, Boatbuilding.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Possible Health Risks:
Dermatitis, irritation to nose and throat, and nasal cancer

Commonly asked questions about European Elm Wood

Is Elm a hardwood or a softwood? Elm is a hardwood. It is the same for; is European Elm hardwood or softwood? - European 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 European Elm? European Elm can be described as brown, dark brown, light brown, orange

Is European Elm good for outdoor use? or is European Elm good for exterior use? European Elm is most suited for internal/interior use. European Elm 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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