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QUESTION: A logger friend suggested that I try white ash for bows, spindles, and such, so I bought a veneer quality 20" log with nice tight grain and a small heart. It bends wonderfully but, judging from this log, I don't like it. It splits well along the ring plane, but poorly (jagged, unevenly, and a lot of connected strings and fingers which I had to hatched apart even on 1/4 spokes)along the face plane. Also, it has a propensity to tear out when drawknifing, as bad or worse than hickory. And, to go on, I wonder about strength, it feels light. The specific gravity is reortedly .60 and red and white oaks are about .68, and hickory .75, so it would seem to be o.k. but it just feels light. Anybody else have experience with it? BG-WKG 9/13/04

REPLY: Ash has a lower green moisture content than the oaks and hickory you have been used to. It dries out relatively faster as a consequence, so an ash log has a shorter shelf life than oaks or hickories. Especially if your log has been cut for a while, it may be behaving more like dry wood than green. I find it splits and works well, certainly better than hickory. It may not bend as well as red oak, but don't take that statement to mean that it doesn't bend well, I just bent an ash C-arm from a log that had been down over a year. GB 9/13/04

REPLY: I've been using White Ash for spindles and bendings for 4 years now.No real access to Hickory or Red Oak around my town.I've had similiar experiences with the Ash as you mention, but not often enough to switch.Ash is a strong wood in my opinion,and generally considered such among my woodworking friends.A local farmer tells of how they used to make oxen yokes from Ash.Check with Bruce Hoadley "Understanding Wood" for his comparitive specs on this wood compared to others that you do know.I like and trust it. MWT. 9/13/04

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