Ash Wood Properties | Its Advantages and Disadvantages

Ash Wood is light-colored, smooth-grained hardwood. The Ash is a common name of 45 to 65 species of tree. The properties and habits of all these species are almost the same. Some main species are White Ash Wood, Black Ash Wood, Green Ash Wood, and many more. 

Ash is a member of the olive tree family. Ash trees are medium to large trees of the genus Fraxinus. Some Species are evergreen, But most are deciduous.

It is found almost everywhere in the world. Ash Wood has many properties such as great strength, lightweight, shock resistance, and workability. Ash Wood is famous for making furniture, flooring, doors, cabinetry, architectural molding, millwork, tool handles, sports parts, turnings, and many more. 

Due to their good strength and appearance, Some types of ash wood species are used for building construction. The length of an adult Ash tree varies from 35 to 40 meters. The heartwood color of Ash Wood gets darker over time and ages.

#Ash Wood
Scientific nameFraxinus
Janka Hardness (White Ash)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
Tree Height30 to 35 meters.
Color (White Ash)light to medium brown color
Bark ColorPale brown to gray
Workability Easy to work
AvailabilityEasily available and affordable
DurabilityDurable for interior application, but not for the exterior.
The Wood Properties

Ash Wood Advantages and Disadvantages

Ash Wood Advantages

  1. Appearance: Ash Wood has a typically straight grain and light-brown hue, It is wood that is very attractive and gives a uniform look. 
  2. Workability: Ash is relatively dense with good working and finishing properties. Its Janka hardness is medium. Therefore it holds the nail, screw, paint, and polish well. It can bend easily through the steam process.
  3. Versatile: Ash Wood is versatile and can be best durable for many applications. It is used to make furniture, smoke, toys, and sports parts. But white ash and black ash are the most common species used in furniture manufacturing.
  4. Shock Resistant: Janka’s hardness of Ash (White) Wood is 1320. Which is between the hardness of red and white oak. Due to enough hardness, this is the better option for flooring and roof construction. Ash hardwood floors are durable and shock-resistant.
  5. Durability: It is one of the most durable varieties and has been used in the United States for hundreds of years. If using Ash Wood for interior application and with little care, it lasts for several decades.
  6. Affordable/availability: Ash Wood is widely present around the world. Being easily present, transportation does not cost extra. Ash Wood is less expensive than other hardwoods with the same properties. The demand of the Ash Wood can be easily met in its bulk.
  7. Easy to maintain: If we talk about maintenance then it is easier to maintain than any other hardwood. If you have installed ash wood for a dry area, then it will need at least maintenance.
  8. Hardness: It has great hardness. Janka hardness of white Ash is 1,320 lbf (5,870 N), European Ash has 1,480 lbf (6,580 N), and  Mountain Ash 1,210 lbf (5,400 N).

Disadvantage

  1. Open Grain: Open holes are found on the surface of ash wood. To get a sine and a smooth surface, it is very important to fill these open grains. You need to use grain to achieve smooth and shiny ash surfaces.
  2. Not good for exterior Applications: Ash is not receiving a good rating in terms of durability. It is well used for interior and dry space, but when used for soil contact applications such as fence, and decking. Therefore It is susceptible to attack by insects and fungus after exposure to soil, especially the sapwood.
  3. Poor stability: Ash is its ability to be bent. Due to the low density. It starts to bend after exposure to moisture. It should be used for dry and interior places to maintain its constant stability.
  4. Easily Split: Ash splits very easily when the deal and screw are applied. Hence pre-drilling is required for the screw.
  5. Fast burner: Fire is always a danger to wooden structures. It is more flammable. For this problem, you can do the chemical treatment.

Ash Wood Uses?

  1. Interior applications: Ash is heavy and hard. Therefore It is mainly used for furniture, cabinets, doors, and windows.  Due to its medium hardness, there is a good choice for flooring. It does not scratch and damage easily.
  2. Exterior applications:  Ash is versatile wood. It has unlimited uses.. ash wood is neither rot-resistance nor waterproof. Even then, it is used outdoors and in the kitchen. Because Its heartwood is slightly durable in regard to decay. 
  3. Ash Wood has no taste and smell. Therefore it is used in making food containers.
  4. Due to its strong hardness and strength of European Ash (Janka hardness 1,480 lbf (6,580 N)), it is used to make sports parts such as baseball bats, hockey sticks, and tool handles.
  5. Since white ash is very easy to cut and curving, it is used to make boxes/crates and decorative items.
  6. Ash is also known as firewood. It has a low moisture content. Therefore it burns fast and easily. Ash is good with fish and red meats. 

How to Identify Ash Logs and Trees?

ash tree leaf
ash tree leaf | Image by SimachtBilder from Pixabay
  1. Light white/brown color is consistent throughout the Ash Wood.
  2. The bark of young ash trees is smooth and a similar gray to the twigs. But the bark of an adult Ash Tree is formed in a large parallel line. It looks even clearer with the growing age of the Ash tree.
  3. Ash has a compound leaf. The meaning of “compound leaf” is that when one leaf grows, there is always another one growing in parallel. In other words, we can say. “These leaves occur in opposite pairs.” There are typically 4-6 pairs, making 9-13 leaflets in total.
  4. The Ash’s buds are sooty black, with a large bud at the end of each shoot. The combination of sooty black buds is the easiest way to identify Ash in winter. when it has no leaves.
  5. During the autumn season, Its leaves turn pale golden yellow and drop from the tree.
Ash Tree Bark | Image by Wolfgang Claussen from Pixabay

Is ash wood water resistant?

No, Ash Wood is not waterproof. If we talk about wooden waterproofing, then no wood is 100% waterproof. Yes, it is sure that some of the wood species are able to withstand the moisture for a long time with little maintenance. Some paints and sealers make wood waterproof.  But not forever.

When ash wood comes in contact with moisture, wood expands and warps are causing structural problems. Somewhat pressurized treated lumber can withstand moisture.

In Conclusion

If you ask about hardwood in America. The name Ash Wood comes most commonly. It is famous for its many characteristics. But there are some flaws along with some good quality like every wood species. 

Therefore, it is important to know the pros and cons of that wood before using it. Ash wood is great wood. Which can be used for many applications. In this blog post, we try to cover Ash Wood Advantages and Disadvantages. Hope this helps you.

1 thought on “Ash Wood Properties | Its Advantages and Disadvantages”

Leave a Comment