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Thread: Anyone Used Ash For Projects?

  1. #1
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    Anyone Used Ash For Projects?

    I have an opportunity to acquire some Ash and wondered if it was worth the trouble? I know it's a light colored wood. It is classified as a hardwood falling between red and white oak for hardness. The log hasn't been milled yet. The tree was just felled last week. Ash Borer got to it. It didn't leaf out this year. So it will be wet but not like it would have been if it were a growing healthy tree. I haven't saw it but the owner said he sees no checking on the base. Basically I will only have the milling costs involved. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I’ve used it a bunch and am a big fan. I dropped a few at my house and had it all quarter sawn. I’m getting to the last 50 bd foot or so. I’m having trouble finding an Ash log locally that’s not too far gone to replenish my supply. But I should be getting a few 30”ish logs come winter after the ground freezes. I don’t love flat sawn Ash but it’s perfectly fine. Any future logs I get will all get quarter sawn. I’ve had good luck with hand and power tools. The air dried stuff planes beautifully.

  3. #3
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    I have used some in the past. For sure a hard wood and was not the best to stain. Not against using it but would make sure your finishing plan works ahead of time.

    Chris

  4. #4
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    Here is a desk top I finished (flat sawn stuff I had) last week. I have very little experience with staining anything but this is what they wanted. I guess it does have lighter and darker areas after the stain. Anyhow, this is how it looks stained...

    8009D5C5-4FAD-44B6-BE5C-836812F33138.jpg

    2CDD33AE-BB10-420B-9553-458ECAC7E2F0.jpg

  5. #5
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    Long ago. The yellow undertones made my first instinct on finish fail. I tried to finish it like white oak. It took on a green tint. Some "maple" brown with more red undertones than blue solved that.

    SU-Compare-002.jpg

    It's times like these that a color wheel comes in handy ;-)
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  6. #6
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    Doughnut Board.jpg Cornhole Boards.jpg Blanket Cabinet.jpg
    Ash is a terrific wood to work with! It mills well and looks terrific. It looks somewhat similar to oak and is often used as an oak substitute in the furniture industry but I like it a lot better than oak.
    These are a few things I've made with it. The doughnut board and cornhole boards have walnut as the dark wood and ash as the lighter wood. The blanket cabinet is all ash with a layered gel stain. All are finished with a wipe on polyurethane.
    Last edited by Eric Arnsdorff; 06-03-2021 at 9:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    I built both my bench and timberframe style lumber rack with White Ash. Love to work with it. Have not put a stain on it but I believe it would behave much like white oak. It can have some color to it sometimes, some greens and pinks. Never worked with black or green ash. It takes an oil finish beautifully. I plan to lay in a good sized store of it as the EAB is going to make it extinct.
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 06-03-2021 at 9:48 PM.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  8. #8
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    I love ash. Some call it the poor man's oak. Even a healthy ash tree has only 45% moisture. Standing dead ones might only be half as much so 4/4 - 6/4 air dries in only a couple of months. Cut it now and you'll be able to bring it inside for final drying by Fall.

    Ash is great to work with both with power and hand tools. It's one of the best woods for bent lamination work and for steam bending, and is tough, strong, and has great shock absorption. I like all grain orientations with ash, but rift sawn is special. Much like rift sawn white oak, it's quiet elegance.

    If you can get it for the cost of milling I definitely would do it if it's a good log. Good log to me means no limbs; I'm looking for clear wood. The ash borer has no effect on the wood. I've milled some ash that has been dead standing for two years and it's hard to believe how beautiful the wood is inside those ugly looking trunks.

    John

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    I love ash. Some call it the poor man's oak. Even a healthy ash tree has only 45% moisture. Standing dead ones might only be half as much so 4/4 - 6/4 air dries in only a couple of months. Cut it now and you'll be able to bring it inside for final drying by Fall.

    Ash is great to work with both with power and hand tools. It's one of the best woods for bent lamination work and for steam bending, and is tough, strong, and has great shock absorption. I like all grain orientations with ash, but rift sawn is special. Much like rift sawn white oak, it's quiet elegance.

    If you can get it for the cost of milling I definitely would do it if it's a good log. Good log to me means no limbs; I'm looking for clear wood. The ash borer has no effect on the wood. I've milled some ash that has been dead standing for two years and it's hard to believe how beautiful the wood is inside those ugly looking trunks.

    John
    I've not laid eyes on it but it sounds like there is at least 10 feet clear. He was going to measure the diameter and length but he was guessing 24" or better in diameter. It hasn't been cut from the top yet.
    So it looks like plain sawn and quartersawn both have their appeal. I know the yield won't be as high if it's quartersawn.

  10. #10
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    I used Ash for the "legs" for this coffee table. The four curved ones were steam bent to get the desired curvature.

    P1040098.jpg

    Cheers!

    Tim

  11. #11
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    Just finished an entertainment center and credenza in ash...my first time using it. Found it nice to work with and plan on using it in future projects.

    20210306_164025.jpg
    A wannabe woodworker!

  12. #12
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    I like Ash just fine. I am a bit leery of the borer, but all the Kiln Dried stuff I have seen up here has been free of worm holes. It is great for tool handles, axes, shovels, wheelbarrow, that sort of thing. Both of my grandpa's preferred Ash to Hickory in these applications. Just BLO and sweat for finish.

    Air dried, as John TE has already pointed out, it is a fabulous choice for steam bending. KD/steam bending not so much.

    If a piece has borer holes it is pretty much no go for structural uses. I don't know of anyone willing to grade a structural piece of Ash after injecting contrast dye into the borer holes and taking an Xray and trying to grade the board. There is no procedure for that in the NELMA grading guide for one thing. I wouldn't make tool handles out of a piece with borer holes either. Maybe a small screwdriver handle, but definitely not an axe haft.

    Great firewood, useless in the BBQ pit (I have tried smoking potato slices on Ash, don't bother). I would want to be there when the sawyer was cutting slabs off with an elevated suspicion I was paying the mill to get me started making firewood, but if I could get some 6/4 or 8/4 slabs out of it for tool handles and steam bending after airdrying with no borer holes I would be ecstatic.

    Not very rot resistant, but good for outwales on boats that get beat on often running into docks. You might have to repaint often, but you won't have to replace the outwale regularly.

    I am personally not a fan of the grain patterns with clear finish (my opinion), but Ash is a legit eastern North American hardwood like oak or maple or beech or hickory in painted applications to me.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Arnsdorff View Post
    Not to hijack the thread or anything, but re your first pic, tomorrow is National Donut Day.

    I'm just sayin'.

  14. #14
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    Now to get back on topic- I love ash too. Really stable. A joy to work with.

    But ANY ash wood that has been attacked by the borer MUST! be kiln dried. You do not want to spread it. Many states have strict laws re this. I don't think I would use air dried ash.

  15. #15
    Ash looks very nice without stain. It was widely used in the manufacture of Airstream travel trailers, one of the finest.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

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