Species of Wood: Ash (White Ash Group)
Important species of the white ash group are American white ash (Fraxinus americana), green ash (F. pennsylvanica), blue ash (F. quadrangulata), and Oregon ash (F. latifolia). The first three species grow in the eastern half of the United States. Oregon ash grows along the Pacific Coast. The heartwood of the white ash group is brown, and the sapwood is light-colored or nearly white. Second-growth trees are particularly sought after because of the inherent qualities of the wood from these trees: it is heavy, strong, hard, and stiff, and it has high resistance to shock. Oregon ash has somewhat lower strength properties than American white ash, but it is used for similar purposes on the West Coast.
American white ash is used principally for nonstriking tool handles, oars, baseball bats, and other sporting and athletic goods. For handles of the best grade, some handle specifications call for not less than 2 nor more than 7 growth rings per centimeter (not less than 5 nor more than 17 growth rings per inch). The additional weight requirement of 690 kg/m 3 (43 lb/ft 3) or more at 12% moisture content ensures high quality material. Principal uses for the white ash group are decorative veneer, cabinets, furniture, flooring, millwork, and crates.
This article is part of The Wood Handbook, published by The Forest Products Laboratory of The US Forest Department.