Ash European Ash

About Ash

Common Name(s): European Ash, Common Ash
Scientific Name:  Fraxinus excelsior
Distribution: Europe and southwestern Asia. (View Map Here)
Average Dried Weight: 42 lbs/ft 3  (680 kg/m 3 ) Janka Hardness: 1,480 lb f  (6,580 N)
Crushing Strength: 7,400 lb f /in 2  (51.0 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 5.7%, Tangential: 9.6%,
Volumetric: 15.3%, T/R Ratio: 1.7
Color/Appearance: The heartwood is a light to medium brown color, though darker streaks can also be seen, which is sometimes sold as Olive Ash. Sapwood can be very wide, and tends to be a beige or light brown; not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood.
Grain/Texture: Has a medium to coarse texture similar to oak. The grain is almost always straight and regular, though sometimes curly or figured boards can be found.
Endgrain: Ring-porous; large earlywood pores 2-4 rows wide, small latewood pores solitary and radial multiples of 2- 3; tyloses common; growth rings distinct; rays barely visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), paratracheal parenchyma around latewood pores vasicentric, aliform, and confluent.
Rot Resistance: Heartwood is rated as perishable, or only slightly durable in regard to decay. Ash is also not resistant to insect attack.
Workability: Produces good results with hand or machine tools. Responds well to steam bending. Glues, stains, and finishes well.
Odor: Gives off a distinct, moderately unpleasant smell when being worked.
Allergies/Toxicity: Ash in the Fraxinus genus has been reported to cause skin irritation, and a decrease in lung function.
Pricing/Availability: European Ash is the European equivalent to White Ash of the United States, and both should be among the least expensive utility hardwoods available domestically, respectively. It is slightly cheaper than oak.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Flooring, millwork, boxes/crates, baseball bats, and other turned objects such as tool handles.
Comments: European Ash has fairly good strength properties for its weight, and is also shock resistant. When stained, ash can look very similar to oak (Quercus spp.), although oaks have much wider rays, which are visible on all wood surfaces—even on flatsawn surfaces, where they appear as short, thin brown lines between the growth rings. Ashes lack these conspicuous rays.