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Author Topic: Ash, Elm or Something Else?  (Read 1031 times)

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Offline CabinCreations

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Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« on: July 09, 2019, 07:52:23 PM »
Hello all, 

We had a dead tree come down in a storm this past weekend and I am not sure what it is. From a distance I actually thought it was a walnut as it is surrounded by young healthy walnuts and has some similar characteristics, but as I got closer it obviously is not that. My second guess as I was bucking it for firewood was maybe elm or ash but I have no experience with these woods. I am hoping this is an easy one for you experts! Here are some pictures of the bark and since it was already dead I have never seen the leaves. 





Thank you all in advance for any insight!
-Kody
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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 08:10:10 PM »
Need a real close-up pic of the end grain.  Bark looks like red oak.
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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 08:37:22 PM »
Maybe I am way off!  :D Here is a picture of the end grain and a piece I split with an axe real quick. If these arent clear enough I can try to make a fresh cut tomorrow to show the end grain better. Thanks!




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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 09:09:56 PM »
It surly doens't look like ash at all. Nor red oak. The long swaying grain is weird to me. White oak, might be an option, but I don't think it's that either/ Elm would be my best guess and I have no confidence in that. But it's not white ash.
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Offline olcowhand

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 05:27:21 AM »
I'm betting it's Elm, based on the Bark appearance and the way the bark looks to be separating after it's been dead a while.
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 07:08:37 AM »
Definitely not oak.  I believe it is elm or hickory.  I cannot see the wavy bands of latewood pores that would indicate elm, but that does not mean that they are not  there.  I agree with OCH that it is likely elm.  One way to check is to look at the end grain very closely, a magnifying glass will help, and if elm, the latewood will have the pores arranged in distinct wavy bands like this:

American elm
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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 11:42:33 AM »
Thank you all for your input - You have me leaning towards elm, but I will take a closer look tonight at the end grain to see if I can identify the wavy bands of pores as WDH suggests. 

It seems to be extremely difficult to split with an axe, which I have heard to be a characteristic of elm as well. 

@Old Greenhorn - For my future reference, what is the give away that it is not ash? 

Thanks again!
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 11:48:34 AM »
Well of course I defer to the smarter folks here, but for me I don't see the straight grain that ash has, the color changes thru the log are no consistent with ash, but mostly it's the grain pattern. Ash is straight unless it has no choice, like a branch or split during growth, etc. If you look at the finished benches in my gallery they are all ash except one maple, the grain is always straight.
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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 09:37:21 AM »
Thanks for that - I'll keep it in mind. Beautiful benches, by the way!  
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Offline olcowhand

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2019, 05:23:32 PM »
Thank you all for your input - You have me leaning towards elm, but I will take a closer look tonight at the end grain to see if I can identify the wavy bands of pores as WDH suggests.

It seems to be extremely difficult to split with an axe, which I have heard to be a characteristic of elm as well.

@Old Greenhorn - For my future reference, what is the give away that it is not ash?

Thanks again!
That pretty much seals the deal: ."It seems to be extremely difficult to split with an axe.....". Elm splits hard when compared with anything, but most Red Oak and especially Ash are quite easy to split by hand. I have videos of my then 7 year old daughter splitting Ash with a small 4 1/2 lb maul....
Steve


BTW, Danny- The fact that we both are leaning the same way on this pleases me greatly; but it should scare you half to death!
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 07:51:04 PM »
Neither Elm, Hickory, nor Sweetgum splits easily.  :-\
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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 02:12:42 PM »
It seems like I have an Elm on my hands! Thanks for all your input guys -  maybe I should invest in a splitter?  :D

Question 2: Is elm worth milling at all? I have one good 14" x 8' log that I have not bucked for firewood yet and a crotch piece where it bifurcated about 6' from the ground. 
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Online doc henderson

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 03:23:21 PM »
Elm is a very beautiful and interesting hard wood.  Not popular since it is not a commercial species.  It actually has BTUs per cord in the same density of oak ect., but the lore is that is takes longer to season and it creates more ash. 



 



 

I would mill/saw the straighter logs and then split the cants or make benches.  yes you will want a hydraulic spliter unless you are a gluten.
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Offline olcowhand

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2019, 07:47:34 PM »
Elm is a very beautiful and interesting hard wood.  Not popular since it is not a commercial species.  It actually has BTUs per cord in the same density of oak ect., but the lore is that is takes longer to season and it creates more ash.


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 


(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 

I would mill/saw the straighter logs and then split the cants or make benches.  yes you will want a hydraulic spliter unless you are a gluten.
...What Doc said. Elm burns hot, requires quite a good amount of drying time, and produces more ash for the BTUs you're getting- but I certainly don't mind burning it when available.
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 11:05:32 PM »
Great info, Doc and OCH!

Ill get the branches and crooked pieces split and stacked somewhere for future use.

Is there a name for the small knots throughout the elm? I noticed it in the few pieces I did split and see it in Docs photos too.
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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2019, 01:33:50 AM »
yes... :D :D :D
Oh you also want to know the name?  @WDH 
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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2019, 01:45:38 AM »
Sawmills and Milling / Re: Whatcha Sawin' 2019 ???
on: June 10, 2019, 10:19:28 PM



per WDH 
Re: Whatcha Sawin' 2019 ???
Reply #782 on: June 10, 2019, 10:54:21 PM


I believe what you are seeing in the elm are stem sprouts from buds in the bark.  These are called epicormic sprouts.

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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2019, 05:48:10 AM »
Yep.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2019, 09:58:46 PM »
Doc mentions epicormic sprouts and somebody shows up at my house tonight with a log.  There was no bark on it and I said I think thats elm.  See those epicormic sprouts.....
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Offline CabinCreations

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Re: Ash, Elm or Something Else?
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2019, 10:38:20 PM »
Good info and thanks for digging up the links. Epicormic Sprouts - I think I may prefer teets as Doc called them!  :D

Those elm pieces from your link are really interesting, lots of character!
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