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Thread: Anyone Used Ash For Projects?

  1. #16
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    Mar 2003
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    Ash is really nice to work with and while it has a lighter color, the grain pattern is similar to oak, etc. It's not lightweight.

    There is a ton of ash on the market...emerald ash borer has killed a huge percentage of these trees now. 100% kill on the property we're in process of selling right now. I have a few logs to be sawn from there including one that measures almost 40" at the larger end.

    And yea...you need to properly dry it before use by stacking and stickering it off the ground in a place where there's good air flow. The only cover should be something on the top to keep standing precipitation off the stack.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #17
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    Grain pattern is very much like red oak but without the porosity.
    NOW you tell me...

  3. IMG_6114.jpgIMG_6116.jpg


    Here in Weston, CT Ash trees have been dropped by the state and town HW departments because they have died from Emerald Ash Borer. The beetle does not travel past the bark so the trees so long as they are gotten to the mill in time such that they are not effected/destroyed by other forces post mortem, produce outstanding clear lumber.

    I have salvaged quite a bit of dead ash that was dropped on my 250 feet of roadside frontage by the state.

    The ash stumpage mills EXTREMLY well for multiple reasons. First ash is relatively dry off the stump to begin with. Secondly the EAB beetle girdled the ash which caused the ash to be even be drier off the stump. Any experienced and OBSERVANT sawyer knows the drier wood is the easier and straighter it cuts on the band mill. The more moisture in a log and the more pitch the more difficult it is to cut straight. Water tanks on band mills should only be used to reduce PITCH BUILD UP on band blades. If your logs are dry, they likely will not create pitch build up on your blades .... SO DO NOT ADD WATER FROM THE WATER TANK IN THIS CASE. you will resuscitate pitch build up if you do ( you are re wetting the natural glue in the wood ) and deteriorate blade cutting performance.


    Regardless of pitch ( say there is none in the wood at all ) water added to a band blade creates more friction on the blade to wood contact. With any type of wood. Contrary to popular belief it does not reduce friction.

    You grip a axe handle in the dry cold fall by licking your hands so the wood handle does not slip from your hands. If you want the axe to slip from your hands and knock someone in the head you keep your hands bone dry.

    I learned all this on my own with a LT10 sawmill. The concept can be scaled up to any size BAND sawmill. Enough said.

    Some Ash grows very slowly ( 30 rings to the inch ) and is outstanding wood, Some grows very quickly (3 rings to the inch) and is far less stable across all aspects.

    Here in Lower Fairfield County CT a lot of our dead ash were VERY old growth trees. ( Lots of rings per inch )

    Ash trees in Vermont ( even northern ) sometimes have 3 rings per inch. I don't know what that's about. Different tree perhaps.

    In general Ash works for me as a very stable wood. I will bet handsomely that it will work for you I work with the quarter sawn aspect of it only. If you go flat grain, all bets are off.

    It is an excellent contrasting wood when synergized with other darker woods like Cherry or Walnut.

    Photos ... Some 30 ring ash I used for drawer rails. And a ash bird tail in a Cherry drawer face. The ash was dropped by the state in front of my house after it passed on from the dreaded EAB.
    Last edited by Robert Wachtell; 06-04-2021 at 9:43 AM.

  4. #19
    I understand the EAB (thanks China) will kill 100% of all ash varieties unless individual trees are treated annually. So enjoy what Ash you have, there won't be anymore anytime soon. Once the pest has killed everything and moved on eventually it may die off (nothing to feed on). Then the forests can be replanted.
    I'm in central west ohio and lost at least 50 mature trees on my 16 ac.

  5. #20
    Some 4/4 curly and quartersawn Ash I have acclimating indoors for an upcoming project. I favor quartersawn over flatsawn.

    ash01.jpg

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Russell Hayes View Post
    I understand the EAB (thanks China) will kill 100% of all ash varieties unless individual trees are treated annually. So enjoy what Ash you have, there won't be anymore anytime soon. Once the pest has killed everything and moved on eventually it may die off (nothing to feed on). Then the forests can be replanted.
    I'm in central west ohio and lost at least 50 mature trees on my 16 ac.
    The good news is that small young ash trees ( their bark not yet fissuring ) are impervious to the EAB. There are many young saplings around are area.

    The question is how long will they remain impervious and will it be long enough until the EAB dies off. Or will the ash sapling groves provide sleeper cell locations from year to year for the EAB as they mature ultimately wiping the ash off the continent completely over time.

    My guess is the great ash will outlive the insect and grow big and tall again.

    Too bad we won't be around to know for sure.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Ash is really nice to work with and while it has a lighter color, the grain pattern is similar to oak, etc. It's not lightweight.

    There is a ton of ash on the market...emerald ash borer has killed a huge percentage of these trees now. 100% kill on the property we're in process of selling right now. I have a few logs to be sawn from there including one that measures almost 40" at the larger end.

    And yea...you need to properly dry it before use by stacking and stickering it off the ground in a place where there's good air flow. The only cover should be something on the top to keep standing precipitation off the stack.
    I have milled about 1000 board feet of EAB White Ash and found that it was already very dry off the mill. So dry that I did not use any water on my blade when I cut it. Because of that it cut like butter even with a dull blade on a Woodmizer LT10. I had no cupping un on anything quarter sawn and very little on boards with flat sawn grain in them. Even with no weight on those boards at the top of the sticker pile.

    Rather magical to say the least.

    Wish I had gotten more of it but the dead stands are probably pretty sponged up by now.

    Its cheap now but my guess says $10 a board foot in 5 years. No less then that or more.

    Ash needs timbor after the cut or you will have a LOT of holes. Big time!

  8. #23
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    Apr 2013
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    Tons of ash trees around here, and they're all gonna die. I like ash too, and it takes dye very well. Good for ebonizing, because it still shows strong grain.

    Chestnut and Ameircan elm wiped out by bugs. Most troubling of all is a bug-carried disease threatening black walnut out there - Thousand Canker disease.
    Last edited by Stan Calow; 06-04-2021 at 12:43 PM.
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  9. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Rockingham, Virginia
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    293
    In days past, the S. Bent Bros. Chair Company of Gardener MA made fantastic furniture out of ash. They were kind of the Rolls Royce of Dining Room Furniture - Sheaf Back Chairs, French Provincial Legs, beautiful corner China’s etc. They got some kind of brown stain on it and it turned a light brown color. I think Target Coatings has some stains that would achieve a very nice look, but you will have to wait for it to dry and use a spray lacquer. So, yes I value ash - have several hundred board feet of it sitting next to my QS White Oak and various Cherry types. In addition, it makes a super secondary wood for drawers (great contrast for Mission) and I agree it machines well - it works very well with my Dominos. It also has the virtue of being relatively inexpensive for the reasons discussed above.

  10. #25
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    Mar 2010
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    Somewhere in the Land of Lincoln
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    Thanks for all the replies. I think I will move forward with this. From my research and others also stated that the EAB attacks the bark and leads to the tree losing it's ability to intake nutrients. They don't live in the wood itself.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
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    I picked up some ash a couple years ago and air dried it for about a year before I used any. It was my first drying experience and I was pleased with the results all around.
    The ash was very nice to work and I got several projects out of it. Like some others here, I found it took colour well- I used analine dye. I’m in the process of moving now but I hope to acquire some more once I get resettled.
    The desk is stained ash. I think it’ll be worth the effort to get some milled up. Good luck!
    359E576D-7501-4052-A805-B6B5B1998D52.jpg

  12. #27
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    Feb 2003
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    Doylestown, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wachtell View Post
    The good news is that small young ash trees ( their bark not yet fissuring ) are impervious to the EAB. There are many young saplings around are area.

    The question is how long will they remain impervious and will it be long enough until the EAB dies off. Or will the ash sapling groves provide sleeper cell locations from year to year for the EAB as they mature ultimately wiping the ash off the continent completely over time.

    My guess is the great ash will outlive the insect and grow big and tall again.

    Too bad we won't be around to know for sure.
    I hope ash will follow the course of Chestnut. Some trees may be naturally resistant to EAB. Find those and use them for seed stock. Or use genetic engineering to insert genes making them resistant to EAB.

  13. #28
    I have a project for a client at the moment that is using a lot of Ash. Custom interior passage doors, trim (casing and baseboard) and a few furniture projects that will all use Ash.

    It’s beautiful lumber that can have a really nice clean aesthetic if you select the grain carefully - just like most woods, I suppose. There’s something really special about mostly rift sawn ash with some careful selected flat sawn areas with a clear finish that can be very classy and elegant without feeling like too much.

    It’s hard, stable, and right now a very attractive price. Just paid between $3.40-4.40 bd/ft for S2S1E 4/4, 6/6, and 8/4 FAS grade ash. I priced 6/4 FAS white oak earlier this week for a potential upcoming project and it was $9-10 bd/ft.....
    Still waters run deep.

  14. #29
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    Feb 2003
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    Hayes, Virginia
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    Just a thought for any of you who use ash for projects if you have drops that can be cut into 8" by 10" plaques you can sell them to people who laser engrave. Smaller 5" by 7" and larger 10" by 12" plaques are also valuable to the right person. Ash is just one of the wood species that laser engraves really well. The same is true for cherry, hickory, mahogany, walnut and others that laser engrave with nice contrast and they are pretty expensive if you buy them already finished which is an easy task for any woodworker.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Blue View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. I think I will move forward with this. From my research and others also stated that the EAB attacks the bark and leads to the tree losing it's ability to intake nutrients. They don't live in the wood itself.
    For sure, but if the trees have been dead for a while there may be something else deep in the wood by now. Got to get them soon after the beetles kill them.

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