Ash (wood)

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Any of several hardwood ash trees from the family Oleaceae, genus Fraxinus. Ash trees are widespread throughout the temperate regions of North America (white ash-F. americana; black ash-F. nigra; green ash-F. pennsylvania), Europe (common ash-F. excelsior) and Asia (Japanese ash-F. mandschurica; Chinese ash-F. chinensis). Ash trees produce distinctive growth rings with very large open pores followed by small, tight pores. The light-color, dense, elastic wood has a straight grain that is moderately durable but susceptible to insect attack and moisture degradation. The tough, heavy timber is used for ladders, tool handles, oars, poles, gymnasium equipment and hockey sticks because it produces a smooth surface that rarely splinters. Ash was also popular for furniture (especially colonial pieces), wheels, and carriage frames.


Synonyms and Related Terms

white ash (Fraxinus americana); black ash (Fraxinus nigra); green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvania); common ash (Fraxinus excelsior); American ash; European ash; Japanese ash (Fraxinus mandschurica); Chinese ash (Fraxinus chinensis); frêne (Fr.); Esche (Deut.); frassino (It.); fresno (Esp.); freixo (Port.)

Other Properties

Light-color. Rings: distinct. Pores: coarse (in rings). Grain: distinct. Rays: obscure rays. Hard; heavy.

Density 40-53 ppcf
Molecular Weight specific gravity = 0.69
Ash (wood)

Additional Information

Schoch, W., Heller, I., Schweingruber, F.H., Kienast, F., 2004:Wood anatomy of central European Species: English Ash,Fraxinus excelsior L.

Additional Images


  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, Comment: "ash." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service 7 Apr. 2005 .
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 74
  • F. H. Titmuss, Commercial Timbers of the World, The Technical Press Ltd., London, 1965
  • H.L.Edlin, What Wood is That?, Viking Press, New York, 1969
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=40-53 ppcf (0.65-0.85 g/cm3)

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