ash

Ash Lumber and the Emerald Ash Borer

Ash is a great species of lumber to work with. Ash is known for its staining potential and ability to mimic oak. It has great shock resistance, and solid workability. To this point, it has been an economical wood that was always readily available.

The light brown and creamy white colorations of ash look great with a simple clear finish and are strikingly beautiful.

Uses for Ash Wood

Ash is used for furniture, flooring, doors, cabinetry, architectural moulding and millwork, tool handles, baseball bats, hockey sticks, oars, turnings, and is also sliced for veneer. It is a popular species for food containers due to the wood having no taste. Learn more about ash lumber.

How the Emerald Ash Borer is Killing the Ash Trees

Emerald Ash Borers are likely to kill 99 percent of the U.S. ash wood trees, says the U.S. Forest Service. This exotic insect girdles and kills the tree. The killer beetle has made a home in 26 states, two Canadian Providences and is continuing to spread. In just 10 years, it has become the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America.

The demise of the ash tree is a truly sad event.

Can the Emerald Ash Borer be Stopped?

emeraldashborer-adultResearch continues and (expensive) single-tree treatment is now available, but as of now, the infestation continues. In areas of the country already infected by emerald ash borer, quarantine efforts are underway to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer to new areas (the latest quarantine map).

Very recently, the USDA has approved three species of parasitic non-stinging wasps for import from China. The wasp eggs develop inside of the ash borer larvae, killing it. After they emerge from the trees, the adult wasps continue to feed on larvae and eggs in the area. Woodpeckers are the wasps only natural competition. According to the USDA, the wasps are not attracted to pets or people and have no stingers. What looks like a stinger is actually their egg-laying organ.

Currently, scientists are breeding and releasing them. As of the fall of 2017, the wasps have been released in 19 states. But their population still has to catch up to the immense borer population.

“It’ll be years before that balance comes back into the ecosystem until then, there’s no silver bullet to save those ash trees,” said Heminghous.

Giving Ash a Second Life

ash furnitureMany woodworkers and designers are embracing ash, with a desire of paying homage to ash in its wood form, embracing the idea that even when you can’t save the ash tree, you can save its wood. The Chicago Furniture Designers Association has even launched a furniture exhibition entitled, Rising from the ASHES: Furniture from Lost Trees.

This resurgence in the popularity of ash is bittersweet. We will continue to celebrate and use ash lumber while it is available, while cheering on the parasitic wasps and hoping they will catch up to the emerald ash borer.

 

Learn More

For more information refer to http://www.emeraldashborer.info/.
Be certain to check any quarantine regulations before removing ash.

Types of Wood: Comparing American Hardwoods, Softwoods and Tropical Hardwoods

Wood products are known for their natural beauty, but when selecting a type of wood for your next cabinetry, flooring, furniture or millwork project, it is important to also consider the level of durability by understanding the difference between wood types. Each type and species of wood has an individual cellular structure that creates unique physical properties that determine suitability for different uses. For example, the hardness of woods varies widely, so certain hardwood species are not recommended for flooring because they are not hard enough to withstand heavy wear and tear.

The following offers a brief comparison of American hardwoods, softwoods and tropical hardwoods and their appropriate applications:

American Hardwoods
Hardwoods are deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or nut and generally go dormant in the winter. North America’s forests grow hundreds of varieties that thrive in temperate climates, including red oak, white oak, ash, cherry, hard maple, hickory and poplar.  For a more detailed list of commercially available woods in the United States, refer to our species guide. Each species can be crafted into durable, long-lasting furniture, cabinetry, flooring, millwork and more. Each offers unique markings with variation in grain pattern, texture and color.

Softwoods
Softwoods or conifers, from the Latin word meaning “cone-bearing,” have needles rather than leaves. Widely available U.S. softwood trees include cedar, fir, hemlock, pine, redwood and spruce. In a home, softwoods primarily are used as structural lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s, with limited decorative applications. Woods such as white pine and cypress do break those rules and are treated in the lumber industry similar to hardwoods.

Tropical Hardwoods
Tropical Hardwoods, including mahogany, rosewood, teak and cocobolo, are not native to North America. They grow in the tropical forests of the world and are imported for use in the United States. Many tropical hardwoods are used for exterior applications where outdoor durability is important. However, many tropical hardwoods are also be used for interior applications, including flooring and woodworking projects. The color, grain pattern, hardness and luster of many imported woods differ from those of American hardwoods.

Visit the Species Comparison Guide to determine what woods would best suit your project needs.

Facebook Gooble+ Pinterest YouTube

Newsletter Sign Up