Ash trees grow throughout Europe and as far as the Caucasus and Asia Minor. They can be found in mixed woodland, in the planes, in hilly areas as well as at higher altitudes in southern Europe. Ash woodland is relatively uncommon and can be found along the rivers of Hungary and Rumania.
The native ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) belongs to the species Fraxinus from the olive tree family. Other species of the same family can be found throughout Asia and North America. Trees which grow in water meadows and riverside forests are often known as water ash, trees which grow on chalky soil are sometimes known as chalk ash. Ash trees grow in forests, in parks and alongside roads.
The ash belongs to the so-called heartwood trees: the heart and sapwood are generally whitish to yellowish or white-reddish. Occasionally a light or dark-brown coloured heartwood can develop, in rare cases an olive coloured heartwood develops, the wood of which is much in demand due to its similarity to olive tree wood.
As with oak, elm and robinia (false acacia), the springwood can easily be differentiated from the summerwood through its large pore structure – annual growth rings are easily discernable. The large pore structure is clearly visible in longitudinally cut wood, either as clear stripes (radial cut) or grain (cross cut).
Ash is heavy and hard. It has very good strength and stability, comparable to oak. It is tougher than most other woods, and due to its high elasticity and abrasion resistance it is used widely for many different applications.
The wider the annual growth rings – i.e. larger summerwood proportion - the better its mechanical properties. As a result, the wider rings of the faster growing water ash are often used for high-load applications.
It has poor natural durability when used outdoors, and is not well-suited for use with preservatives.
Ash wood is not subject to major shrinkage and once dried is very stable. It can be worked fairly easily by hand or machine. Sawing, cutting, peeling or turning is unproblematic, as are a variety of Surface finishings. Ash can be split, and when steam-treated can also be bent. Nailed, screwed and glued connections are straightforward. The wood can also be stained.
Ash is available as round or sawn wood, or as sliced veneer.
- Tools, Grips, Handles
- Coach building
- Mechanical Engineering
- Sports equipment
- Ladder struts
- Covering veneer
- Furniture and interior furnishing