The Ash tree belongs to the Oleaceae (olive) Family with about 70 species in the world. Of these the White Ash and Black Ash are the ones that are used predominantly in the lumber industry. Ash wood trees grow throughout the world in places as wide apart as North America, Europe, North Africa and South West Asia. White Ash has a clear white to pale yellow sapwood, with the heartwood leaning more to the light to medium brown tones. Due to greater supply, Ash furniture tends to be more easily available and is cheaper too, in comparison to Oak. Ash wood has the same high quality standards as Oak, but, at a more affordable cost.
Ash wood is versatile and can be used in a variety of applications from tools to sports equipment and even furniture. Black Ash is a medium dense wood, similar to a Black Walnut, but softer than White Ash. Black Ash can be used for making baskets and other more detailed work because of its layered characteristics.
White Ash is often substituted for Oak. The wood of White Ash is similar to Red Oak in appearance and characteristics; when stained, it looks like Oak as the grain pattern of the two woods is similar. This allows Ash wood to be used in different types of furniture, modern contemporary Ash furniture designs, and also more traditionally designed furniture.
Ash wood is odor free because of which it can be used to make serving utensils.
Easy to Handle and Durable
Ash is a “user-friendly” wood, and takes easily to nails, screws and glue. Though it is hard, the wood bends well and allows a smooth finish because stain and paint adhere well to the wood.
The wood of Ash is typically easy to sand and machine. It is also easy to carve.
This is resistant to decay in the heartwood. This makes it durable and requires low maintenance.
Ash Wood has a Janka rating of 1320, making it between red and white Oak in hardness. This makes it a good choice for flooring in high traffic areas, or areas that are susceptible to rough usage, such as for use in kitchens. Ash hardwood floors are durable and shock resistant. Though it is hard, the wood bends well.
Ash wood has the best strength to weight ratio and is therefore used to make baseball bats. Since most players do not want a bat greater than 32 oz. this becomes significant. It is also used for tool handles and other sports equipment.