Ash Question

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I have been offered about 500 bd ft of 4 qtr rough sawn ash for $200. I have never worked with ash before. It is a usable wood (other the shovel handles)? How easily does it work? Does it take stain?
I do have a planer and jointer.
____________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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Bill Waller wrote:

I just saw some nice work in Ash. It was very nice free-standing cabinet, medium dark stain, machined dovetails. Country style furniture. It looked nice to me.
Someone posted a link to the wood handbook -- you might check there.
--
Will
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Keep in mind that transporting ash is heavily restricted in some areas. Michigan comes to mind. Has to do with the spread of the ash boring beetle. They are levelling stands all over SW Ontario as well. The woodpeckers are enjoying those beetles and as a result there is a noted increase of woodpeckers in the area helping with the control.
Ash....
A lot of 'Grand Rapids' style furniture from the early 1900's was not oak, but ash. That was one of the reasons that they applied almost paint-like heavy dark stains. Treated that way, it is hard to tell them apart. Works a lot like oak.
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Ash is among the cheaper woods, but $0.40 a bf is too good to pass. Ash works and stains well. It is not a particularly dramatic wood, but still looks good.
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I like ash. Some years ago I build a dining table and six chairs of ash. The wood is easy to work. I takes a nice finish. It is strong and yet light. Some pieces have an attractive figure.
Dick

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wrote:

For 0.40 / BF -- go for it. Ash is nice to work, as others have said it can make nice furniture, or it makes a good secondary wood for drawer sides, backs, etc.

+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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wrote:

It's about $3 +/- bd/ft. here in CT.

Yes!
Similar to oak, but harder than white and less "chippy" than red.

Not bad. It can be so hard that some dark stains don't penetrate well, and wipe right off. Ash can look GREAT with a simple clear coat. It's got a nice bright natural color and straight, but pronounced grain structure.
If you do stain it, most people will think it's oak. I actually really like working with it, it's a friendly wood.
Barry
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wrote:

I'm not entirely sure here, because ash (like walnut and beech) is a nicer timber in the UK than in the USA. OTOH, our maple sucks.
I really like ash. It's not a first grade timber for really high-end work, but it's nice for more rustic stuff.
If you stain it you can fake oak with it - this was commonly done early last century, particularly for visible secondary wood, such as the rear legs of a dresser (front legs, top and drawer fronts in oak). being ring porous it looks better on the impressive flat-sawn surfaces, rather than quarter sawn (where it merely looks untidy). There's no ray flake pattern, as for oak, so this was sometimes painted on in "better" faked work.
I prefer ash though if it's finished light, with the minimum of colouring. This works better with english ash (F. excelsior) as it's paler to begin with. A good finish for rustic turned work, such as Windsor chairs, is to melt some brown ochre into soft beeswax polish, then brush that firmly into the well-sanded timber. Finish with dry brushing the wax once all solvent has dried, then go over it again with a clear hard wax. Because ash is ring porous, the coloured wax sticks in the rings and highlights them, but buffs right off the non-porous timber.
--
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wrote:

Be a little careful with this.
If it's northern grown white ash where the winters are pretty cold it is a good buy.
There's been a problem for a number of years with "ash yellows" which has reduced the harvest, particularly along the natural borders of the white ash range.
There's green and brown ash that works different than the white and is not as valuable.
IIRC correctly there are more than fifty species of ash growing in NA and it would help to know which species it is.
If it's white ash and not punky, it'll work very much the same as white oak and is often blended with or substituted for quercus alba.
Makes good tools handles and baseball bats but will look good in a situation that usually calls for white oak. I don't know if it has the tannin content of WO and so don't know if you can finish it exactly the same in all conditions.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
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Just out of curiosity, I tried to fume some ash with ammonia, and it has virtually no tannins in it. I'd read this prior to trying it, but while I was trying some other pieces, I thought I'd throw some ash in the fumer.
I tried one control piece and one with tannic acid brushed on, and the control piece darkened not a whit. The piece brushed with tannic acid turned a kind of foul brown...not 'xactly what I'd call purdy.
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Even oak won't look all that nice just out of the fumer. Put on a few coats of garnet shellac and see how it looks. Follow with dark Briwax.
--
I can find no modern furniture that is as well designed and emotionally
satisfying as that made by the Arts and Crafts movement in the early years
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Nice wood, I like it. But it doesn't like me much, I get a cough for 2-3 weeks after I make anything with it. My dust collector looks a lot like the floor of my garage, and my air filter is a window fan with a furnace filter in front it. Bad housekeeping, in other words.
But I don't get the same reaction from any other woods.
-Dan V.
wrote:

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wrote:

It is used to make baseball bats, bannisters, handles, boatbuilding, furniture and steam-bends exceptionally well. It doesn't have the highest workability, but it does have a nice straight grain. Finishes well, but you'll need to test how well it stains. I have made fish net frames from steamed/bent ash.
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wrote:

It's definately useable. It handles like really, really dry pine- meaning it's easy on tools, can be dented if you're not careful, and it splinters rather than chips if you make a mistake. On the bright side, it is not all full of sap, and it really is a nice looking wood.
I haven't tried staining it, but I did ebonize some with india ink, and it soaked that up really well. I also made a wooden arrowhead plaque for my father for his birthday (he's a big cowboy buff), and burned the edges with the torch before my wife woodburned it. It's really kind of fun to burn- the grain gets dark very quickly, and it makes a beautiful contrast with the rest of the wood.
The most common application for it I've seen in these parts is trim. Usually it just gets a clearcoat, and it's quite striking.
For 40 cents a bf, it's a steal. I think I paid $2.25/bf for it the last time I bought it.
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All kinds of ash, of course, as mentioned. All kinds of figure in ash as well. We even have exotics like English ash, which makes lumber inferior in every way to the domestic varieties, planted in cities.
Now, fresh cut log run stuff isn't worth anything near two bucks, but would seem worth half a buck. At worst, you've got some heavy, cheap, secondary wood. At best, you've got some figured stuff that takes a dye and holds a finish well.
"White" ash is about the driest domestic hardwood in the log, but you still might want to consult http://www.firstgov.gov/fgsearch/resultstrack.jsp?sid 7085475&url=http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr117.pdf or other on stickering, stacking, and caring for your stash.
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IMHO, I'd rather work ash than oak.. especially if you do any wood turning.. Ash is sort of treated like oaks "red headed step son", but I find that it cuts, saws, stains, finishes, etc. as well as oak, ad with less splinters..
mac
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One man's opinion...and it's an OPINION only, but I don't care for ash. (Don't like oak either, so there you go.)
If you want a nice "blonde" wood, it's great. But if you want to stain it, don't bother. You know that really offensive (to ME!) (gotta put in those qualifiers, you know?) way that oak takes stains? Makes the grain so pronounced that all you can see is grain GRAIN GRAIN? Well ash is worse.
On top of that, it doesn't take dye well at all, and oil-based pigment is what makes it look like oak from hell.
If you can take some quarter-sawn pieces off, it might not be so bad, but you gotta ask yourself, just how bad do you want your furniture to look like zebras?
You could try filling the pores and glazing/toning it, but even that doesn't come out particularly well.
HOWEVER, I agree with everyone that, for backers and utility wood, it's decent. And for .40 a board foot...hell I'd by ANYTHING for .40 a board foot.
No flames guys...just one man's opinion!!

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picked up my first load...I only have an F-150. Hopefully, I will be able to get back down there later today and get the second load. The third will have to wait until later this week.
The next step will be to set it up for drying. Maybe, by August, I can start planing. That should be a whole lot of fun. I think I will perform that little operation out in the driveway. :-)
____________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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Planning on flaunting your gloat to all the rest of the woodworkers on the street? :)
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____________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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