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General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: nybhh on September 10, 2018, 05:11:06 PM

Title: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 10, 2018, 05:11:06 PM
Hi guys,
I bought a mill this spring for the farm and milled a few thousand BF of EWP this summer for barn siding and a couple of other construction projects.  It was fun and I learned a lot in the process but pine is pretty forgiving and the use was not very precious.  

I plan to take down a few dozen Ash trees this fall that are on their last leg and mill them over the winter & early spring as weather permits.  This will be my first experience with hardwoods so I wanted to get any advise anyone is willing to share and I had a couple of questions also.  

My wife wants to use the ash as interior siding/paneling on the walls and cathedral ceilings of a cottage so they will eventually get planed down to 3x4" thick x probably 4" wide and ship-lapped with a dado blade on the table saw.  I plan to just plainsaw it unless someone suggest otherwise.  Will it be better to edge the boards down to 4" wide on the mill or let is dry first as full-width boards and rip it when finishing on the table saw?    I edged all my pine boards green on the mill and except for a few, they were all pretty well behaved but I don't know what to expect from Ash.

Unfortunately all my dry Doug Fir stickers are in-use and I have several hundred EWP stickers I milled a few weeks ago that are still drying.  I've read that ash is prone to staining so I'm not sure if the pine stickers will be ok or can I use green ash stickers I cut as I go?  Or should I suck it up and go buy some KD 2x4's to rip down?

As far as air drying goes (over winter).  I can stack in an "open" barn that won't get much in the way of a breeze but also won't get any blowing rain or snow on it either or outside with tin over it where it will get some blowing wind, rain and snow.  I've built some palettes for this purpose than I can move around with the tractor forks so I could relocate them in the spring if it would be preferable to get them in a better breeze once it starts to warm up.  I know they won't dry much this winter but insects and other heat related problems shouldn't be much of an issue as well.

Any other pointers?  Looking forward to trying some hardwoods but don't want to ruin a 1-2,000 BF of soon to be extinct Ash if I can help it either.  

Thanks all,
B

Edit: Oh yea, I'll be Anchorsealing the logs as they hit the ground and my current blades are 4-degree Kasco blades (from Cutting Edge).






Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: Magicman on September 10, 2018, 05:32:18 PM
I much prefer T&G rather than Ship Lap.  With T&G each board is giving support to the adjacent board.  With Ship Lap, there is nothing to secure one side of each board except nails. 
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: firefighter ontheside on September 10, 2018, 05:41:14 PM
Ive milled about 12 ash logs and they milled very nicely.  Ive got 5 more waiting to go.  It behaves a lot like red oak in my limited experience on the mill.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 10, 2018, 05:43:23 PM
I much prefer T&G rather than Ship Lap.  With T&G each board is giving support to the adjacent board.  With Ship Lap, there is nothing to secure one side of each board except nails.
I agree with you completely and that would be the perfect excuse for that new router table I would "need"  ;)
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: ladylake on September 10, 2018, 06:22:03 PM
If you want 4" boards I'd mill them 9 or 13" wide the saw them to 4" after they're dry, should end up straighter that way. A 4" will most likely bow.   Steve
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: WV Sawmiller on September 10, 2018, 06:46:52 PM
   Good point about the anchorseal as ash is very bad to check. Be sure to anchorseal the individual logs as soon as you buck them to length too.

    Ash is generally much drier than most hardwoods I have cut. I also find I need to use plenty of lube as it wants to build up on the blade during cutting. I always use a 4 degree blade when cutting ash.

    Ash is very straight grained. Be sure to pre-drill the boards before nailing or it will split badly. It is beautiful wood IMHO. Good luck.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on September 10, 2018, 06:57:11 PM
Agree, 4deg, incr. lube additive concentration to keep blade clean, cut to minimize crook or sideways bend, bow is easier to handle in long trim boards, and go for random width wider boards to keep yield of clear long boards up to be later cut out. At least1-1/8 thick.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: moodnacreek on September 10, 2018, 07:04:53 PM
Sticker 12" on center but let the end stickers overhang even if they don't line up vertically. Try not to let the prevailing winds hit the end of pile. If this cannot be avoided, paper or tarp the end where you know the wind hits. Also the rougher and dryer the sticks the better.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 10, 2018, 07:43:54 PM
Wow, thanks guys.  Im getting excited about this but yikes, 12 OC is killing me.  Feel like Ive been chasing stickers all summer.

@moodnacreek (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=34989)  Im a little confused about the overhanging stickers.  Do you mean push the last row of stickers all the way out to the very end of the boards even if they dont line up vertically? 

@terrifictimbersllc (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=11495) Do you mean 1-1/8 spacing including the kerf that would leave about a 1 board (what I had planned) or do you mean 1-1/4 spacing which will yield a full 1-1/8 thick board?
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: esteadle on September 10, 2018, 07:49:58 PM
We cut a lot of ash over the last few years as the EAB took down most of our stocks here in Western PA. 

Ash *will* move as it dries. Not might. Not Could. *WILL*

Thinner material has a tendency to side-bend, or bow lengthwise. When you stack and sticker, do so tightly, and push boards up against one another and leave no gaps. Then, when finished, band the stack with steel strapping, or binder chains to keep it tight and together. 

I can tell when my ash is going to bend this way, by watching the close end of the thinner boards as they are sawn. If you see them move slightly to the left or right of the cant, then they will side bend. If you see the end bow up and create a gap above the cant as the saw finishes, then take that board and flip it before you stack and let the weight above the board help hold it in place as you dry it. 

To counter this bending, turn the log frequently during your cuts. I prefer bowing to side bend in my final product, so I will watch the boards and try to cut to avoid the side bending. When you see it start bending, turn 90, to get wood off the next face. If you see if bending up, flip your log 180 to relieve the tension on the opposite side. 

You might consider sawing your Ash into cants a bit larger than your target widths of 4" and letting them dry that way. Then come back after a year or so and resaw them down to your final dimensions. But you might not be able to wait that long. 

Ash logs can show a dark grey heartwood color that some consider unappealing as you get into the middle. So plan to take your best boards from the outsides of the logs, and don't count on the log giving you it's full board footage as usable lumber. But... I agree with many others in that Ash is a beautiful wood, a feature wood for a special project. 

Best of luck. 
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on September 10, 2018, 07:55:01 PM
Wow, thanks guys.  Im getting excited about this but yikes, 12 OC is killing me.  Feel like Ive been chasing stickers all summer.

@moodnacreek (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=34989)  Im a little confused about the overhanging stickers.  Do you mean push the last row of stickers all the way out to the very end of the boards even if they dont line up vertically?

@terrifictimbersllc (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=11495) Do you mean 1-1/8 spacing including the kerf that would leave about a 1 board (what I had planned) or do you mean 1-1/4 spacing which will yield a full 1-1/8 thick board?
At least 1-1/8 thick rough green boards (3/8 over), for 3/4 finished trim.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 10, 2018, 08:29:46 PM
@esteadle (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=2549) Ive noticed a little bit of that stress movement with the pine you described so I get what you are saying although Im sure the ash will be more pronounced.   I like the idea to ratchet strap each palette nice and tight!  Were in no rush so sawing cants is an option but I like @ladylake (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=633) s idea to cut wide boards also so I can work around knots and imperfections at finishing.  Maybe I could do 9 cants?  Less stickers!  Seriously though, i think well be ready to use them in about 2 years so that might not fly.  
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: barbender on September 10, 2018, 08:33:46 PM
We have both black ash and green ash here. Black ash mills very nicely, much like red oak. Green ash is very dry off the stump and can be kind of a bear to mill because of that. It's hard on blades and it takes a very sharp blade to cut it straight. I could be struggling while cutting a green ash, load a black ash on and whistle right through it with the same blade. That's my experience, anyhow.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: moodnacreek on September 11, 2018, 08:25:40 AM
Wow, thanks guys.  Im getting excited about this but yikes, 12 OC is killing me.  Feel like Ive been chasing stickers all summer.

@moodnacreek (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=34989)  Im a little confused about the overhanging stickers.  Do you mean push the last row of stickers all the way out to the very end of the boards even if they dont line up vertically?

@terrifictimbersllc (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=11495) Do you mean 1-1/8 spacing including the kerf that would leave about a 1 board (what I had planned) or do you mean 1-1/4 spacing which will yield a full 1-1/8 thick board?
Yes, that's what I mean and strapping the pile, as mentioned, is what I do.   [moodnacreek]
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: Brad_bb on September 11, 2018, 11:58:42 PM
I've milled a lot of Ash for myself.  Some may not value it that much right now because there is so much dead around and it's just getting cut for firewood.  In five years though, we may not be able to get Ash so readily, and in 10 maybe not hardly at all.

I've been using it alot in some of the vanities and cabinets I've been building.  Barnwood on the exterior and Ash for the floors and backs/sides.  It's bright so it helps keep the cabinet from being dark inside plus its a pretty wood.  You can get some really interesting patterns and curl for sure around knots and branch/crotches. I've been cutting 3/4 and 4/4 and when dry plane it to 1/2 inch thick.  The thinner you mill it less you have to plane off, but you take more risk of cupping.  Go 4/4 and you reduce cupping, but have to remove a lot more material to get to 1/2 inch.

Tip.  If you have flare on the butt of the Ash log. Don't chainsaw it off to make a straight log.  Instead put the but on the far end of the mill, center the pith and mill the butt flare for short boards.  These boards will have Cathedral grain and will sometimes have some great patterns, better than typical flat sawn.  Took me awhile to realize this and i know some good stuff ended up in the firewood pile.  A little more work to cut, edge, and trim, but can be worth it.    I'll try to remember to snap a pic to post.

Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 12, 2018, 05:12:30 AM
Thanks Brad.     I agree.  No one has the space for this but if I did, I would stockpile all the nice ash cants I could get hold of.  I think that in 10 years, ash is going to be extremely rare and therefore sought after and pretty valuable for millwork and architectural purposes.

Its good heirloom wood.

Ive heard Loisville Slugger is filling up wharehouses of it also.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: Mad Professor on September 12, 2018, 05:53:54 AM
You are not too far from me.

EAB is here and salvage what you can.

End seal ASAP logs and boards.

I use ash for stickers.  When you get a cull log make stickers.

Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: Don P on September 12, 2018, 07:56:13 AM
I took my circle blade to be hammered after a run of ash. The sawdoc saw the buildup and told me to mix poplar logs in with the ash to keep the blade clean.

My SIL's house is paneled and floored in ash, beautiful.

In my teens I worked at a whitewater canoe shop where we rented boats as well. The rails on a canoe are typically ash and for one boat that came back broken they were 17' long pieces and weeks away. Dad had some nice red oak so I rerailed the boat with that and sent it out the next weekend. It came back with cracked rails from a pretty light hit, and that is when I came to appreciate the impact resistance of ash.

Back in the 19teens car frames were made of ash and the demand was exploding. Tucked away at the forest products labs is a report from the time. They had been asked to find the next best wood because we were bound to run out of ash soon. Just like baseball, they chose maple. The auto industry chose steel.
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: Brad_bb on September 12, 2018, 12:27:49 PM
Nybbh, here is an example of butt flare cuts on ash.
(http://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/16191/E8FAB25F-3912-4E28-A1DF-984E7EE3905C.jpeg?easyrotate_cache=1536769648)
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: nybhh on September 12, 2018, 03:13:19 PM
Wow, that is gorgeous!  Thanks for posting.  Sort of reminds me of a topographical map.
I'm so ready to mill something that doesn't require a 45 minute shower afterwards to wash sap off of skin parts you forgot existed.  8)
Title: Re: Any tips for Ash?
Post by: esteadle on November 06, 2018, 08:15:24 PM
I'm so ready to mill something that doesn't require a 45 minute shower afterwards to wash sap off of skin parts you forgot existed.  
Try this next time... rub some baby powder into the sap. I find it turns into a nice little roll that comes right off.