Ash is a ring-porous wood with prominent growth ring patterns. The sapwood is light in color and can very from a creamy color to nearly white. Depending on the species, the heartwood can vary in color from pale yellow to light brown with greyish tones, sometimes tinged with red. A very straight-grained wood, Ash can appear similar to Red Oak, with a coarse, even texture.
American Ash is readily available and grows predominantly through the middle and northern Atlantic regions, extending into Canada. Some species also grow abundantly in the Appalachian region.
Depending on the species, Ash can be a very hard, strong wood. Typically, Ash is stiff with high shock resistance and excellent bending qualities. It saws and machines well, and can be worked suitably with both hand and machine tools, with a moderate blunting effect. Pre-boring is recommended for harder species. Ash provides great versatility for finishing options. It takes stain beautifully in a wide range of hues, and glues and polishes well.
Ash is a popular wood for sports uses, including water skis, oars, cues and baseball bats. Its bending properties and other characteristics also make it a favorite for use as tool handles and boat parts. Other uses include flooring, paneling, decorative woodwork, furniture and cabinets.