Ash (wood)

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Bird organ
MFA# 17.1943


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.

Bass drum
MFA# 1986.937

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.)

Ash (wood)


Links to Oddy Test results posted on AIC Wiki Materials Database Pages for individual materials below

° Ash Hardwood Tested in 2016

Physical and Chemical Properties

Light-color. Rings: distinct. Pores: coarse (in rings). Grain: distinct. Rays: obscure rays. Hard; heavy. All species look alike microscopically (Alden Link)

Density 40-53 ppcf
Molecular Weight specific gravity = 0.69

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • Alden Identification Services, Microscopic Wood Identification: Link
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • 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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