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Working white ash.

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Forum topic by muleskinner posted 06-04-2016 05:03 PM 960 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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muleskinner

888 posts in 2160 days


06-04-2016 05:03 PM

A little binge buying yesterday. Went to get some cherry to continue on a kitchen project and ended up coming home with a bunch of 6/4 white ash also. No reason or plan. It looked nice, felt nice, and was priced nice.

My experience is mainly limited to cherry, walnut, maple and softwood. Have never worked with ash before. So this morning I’m thinking I might try to turn this ash into a liquor cabinet. I played with a piece this morning and first impression is that it works pretty smoothly.

Any body have any caveats or advice on it’s properties? Finish problems?

-- Visualize whirled peas


17 replies so far

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cabmaker

1566 posts in 2532 days


#1 posted 06-04-2016 05:19 PM

works well and finishes well

View JayT's profile

JayT

5375 posts in 1934 days


#2 posted 06-04-2016 05:23 PM

I like ash, it is stiff, strong and works fairly easy. One thing to keep in mind is that it has fairly large pores and open grain, similar to red oak. If you want the cabinet to have a very smooth finish, you’ll probably need to use some sort of grain filler.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

6160 posts in 3091 days


#3 posted 06-04-2016 05:24 PM


A little binge buying yesterday. Went to get some cherry to continue on a kitchen project and ended up coming home with a bunch of 6/4 white ash also. No reason or plan. It looked nice, felt nice, and was priced nice.
- muleskinner

So I’m not the only one that buys wood because it looked nice and felt nice!
My wife always says, “what are going to make with that?”

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View AgentTwitch's profile

AgentTwitch

610 posts in 3220 days


#4 posted 06-04-2016 05:51 PM

I really like white ash. The only bad experience I had with it is that the grain can tear out easily in areas that have reversing grain (knots for example) when planing/jointing.

-- Regards, Norm

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BB1

734 posts in 571 days


#5 posted 06-04-2016 05:51 PM

I concur…there are many times I have added wood to my stores for a future yet to be determined project just because it was too pretty to pass by! Never have regretted (or not admitting to regret)!

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muleskinner

888 posts in 2160 days


#6 posted 06-04-2016 08:14 PM

I try to avoid commenting on unnecessary purchases that my wife makes. I know all she has to do to go out to the shop and point up to overhead and ask me “what’s all that for?” All I’ll be able to reply is that I liked it. The same argument she makes.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

474 posts in 472 days


#7 posted 06-04-2016 09:04 PM

My workbench top is 2 1/2 inch thick spalted white ash. I glued up all the necessary chunks and hand planed it flat. That is some wonderfully tough wood. And, just to mention it, I finished it with a few coats of Minwax water based poly. That was to keep the color white, and it worked out great. And, surprisingly (to me anyway) the finish has endured for 10 years and shows no sign of giving up the fight.

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shawnn

65 posts in 1088 days


#8 posted 06-05-2016 12:46 PM

It tends to splinter more than other woods, you’ll have more splinters than normal! Here is a jeweler’s bench I made from ash with clear finish. The legs are poplar.

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shawnn

65 posts in 1088 days


#9 posted 06-05-2016 12:55 PM

Here is another pic including the hutch. I was told that ash is referred to as “blond oak” and that a lot of furniture labelled oak is actually ash. It is heavy, dense wood. End grain is touchy too.

View sawdust703's profile

sawdust703

270 posts in 1143 days


#10 posted 06-05-2016 01:27 PM

Awesome work, Shawn! Well done, Sir!

-- Sawdust703

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1319 posts in 1713 days


#11 posted 06-05-2016 02:28 PM

Ash is very similar to red oak to work. It is one of the worst woods for tear out when hand planing, especially when dimensioning, not so much when smoothing. Machines just fine. It is harder, and a little more difficult to work than the woods you listed, but is a good choice for furniture.

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muleskinner

888 posts in 2160 days


#12 posted 06-05-2016 02:31 PM

Shawn, it certainly has an oak-ish look and heft to it. I re-sawed and planed a short piece just for a test and didn’t have any splinter problems but we’ll see how badly I fair with a router. This picture is pretty well color balanced. A coat of poly on the small piece.

Very nice desk.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View tacky68's profile

tacky68

17 posts in 1150 days


#13 posted 06-05-2016 04:31 PM

Muleskinner, I took a ww’ing class 20 years ago, our teacher gave us a list, and a sample of about 20 different species of trees, Ash being one of them. He stated that Ash grows in Silica rich soil, and that Silica is tough on cutters, and blades. I have never had the opportunity to work with Ash, so I can not confirm his statement. I just took him at his word. Hopefully, other posters will respond with their experiences.

Gratitude.

Tim.

View Dabcan's profile

Dabcan

255 posts in 2395 days


#14 posted 06-05-2016 10:59 PM

Ash is pretty cheap right now as the emerald ash borer is slowly killing them all in North America. The wood is fine once kiln dried, but these beetles are making the tree extinct. I like working with ash, as others have said it tends to splinter with reversing grain.

-- @craftcollectif , http://www.craftcollective.ca, https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?

View boatz's profile

boatz

92 posts in 1374 days


#15 posted 06-06-2016 10:21 PM

I’m building a four drawer chest from ash. It milled well and easily. I have finished the milling and tongue and grooves for the frame.

-- You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you'll get what you need

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