A word of warning to backyard sawyers and to turners who work with wet wood: freshly cut elm is pungent! When in contact with water, elm resists decay, so many boatbuilders use it for planking. In Europe, the smooth-leaved elm and wych elm were commonly planted. Articles Pick your favorite flavor for your next project. The encouraging news is that these fast-growing trees are enjoying a comeback. White ranges from creamy white to darker brown (the darker heartwood can be easily confused with red). Despite its many uses, elm's primary fame has come from its graceful beauty and the shade it provides. Dave the Elm your Dad called piss elm is because it smells like piss and is a very wet wood. It also won't split when screwed or nailed, but demands drilling pilot holes. Chinese Elm. All Rights Reserved. Dull cutting tools tend to produce fuzzy surfaces. It is considered easy to work with hand and power tools. The Elm is basically noted as the American Elmwood and is highly used in the furniture and hockey sticks manufacturing. Burl veneers tend to be brittle and troublesome to flatten. Because elm contains interlocked grain, it makes splitting the wood difficult. We asked his opinion on some of the working and drying properties and this was his response: "The hardest part of the process was the drying, the lumber tried its best to warp every which way … These new trees blend characteristics of the parent trees, further confounding easy identification. As shown in the photos, white and red elms live up to their names. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that elm species are often intermixed in kilns and lumber racks. https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/wand-woods © 2020 Meredith Corporation. Elm wood glues well and holds nails and screws without issue. Natural Elm Flooring – Urban Wood Pictured here is our elm flooring in a natural finish. Red elm is only slightly harder, but it makes a practical difference. Red Elm: A Perfect Wood. Many different items are made from elm wood, including chairs, coffins, and cabinets. White elm is easier to handle with power tools, but keep edges sharp and take light passes. Red elm is beautiful wood IMHO. I actually planed it, let it acclimate for a couple of days, then dimension to final...no issues. Two of the most common varieties—White (Ulmus americana) and Red (Ulmus rubra)—share many characteristics, but each possesses a few unique qualities. Fortunately, the propagation of hybrid, disease-resistant trees shows promise. American and red elm species rank half as hard as sugar maple, and rock elm nearly as hard. Dutch Elm Disease. This sample was sent to us by Eric Beckman who is harvesting Chinese Elm. White and red elm are both well suited to steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives. This unusual affinity made it a natural choice for barrels, ship keels, and even below-ground water pipes. As far as I have always been told, elm is a beautiful wood, too bad it won’t stay flat. Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. Elm works well with hand tools or machinery as long as blades are sharp. The Chinese called elm yÃ¼mu, and worked it into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse. The English and American elms have deeply fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges of an ash-gray color. Illustration:Steve Schindler Working with elm (self.woodworking) submitted 7 years ago by PerfectAsshole. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting too much time and you might even injure yourself. I used a lot of elm many years ago when it was plentiful in the stores. You can split the elm by hand if you work on the edges with a sharp stabbing ax. Planing can cause tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. The open pore structure also makes it a good candidate for pickling. Skills Required: Intermediate Beginner. Its twisted, interlocking grain makes elm difficult to work with anything but power tools. About 5" long and 3" wide, they have saw-toothed edges ending in a sharp point. This product is part of our urban wood program, which is about working with municipalities to take possession of felled trees to create beautiful, live sawn wall paneling, flooring, and tabletops for … Can't decide what to get the woodworker in your life? Similarly, power tools produce cleaner edges, with less fuzzing. Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. Because Dutch elm disease has destroyed so many trees, elm has become a rare wood, and can be both hard to find and expensive. Today, unfortunately, elm trees are being killed by a spreading fungus called Dutch elm disease. Good luck. Why use elm for these sticks? Elm is light brown to dark brown, often with some red streaks Elm has a distinct grain; rock elm has contrasting light and dark-areas. Everybody always comments on the elm... it's beautiful. The bark of slippery elm is the same color, but lacks pattern. Black gum is another wood … Hard and tough, elm still bends easily when steamed, and when dry, holds its shape. per cubic foot dry. Ripping, however, poses no problem. Instead, they form a spreading, umbrella-like crown valued for shade. Years later, players in the new game of baseball chewed this same elm bark to produce a sticky saliva, which when rubbed into the pocket of their glove, made balls easier to catch. The wood was commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats. I'm adding a 1" slab of elm on the top of a pony wall at the entrance of my house. Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, is a hardwood that is native to the central Asia region. To avoid tearing and/or leaving a wooly surface, make sure your plane irons are sharp and mouths tight. It was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight. During the 19th and 20th century, elm trees were planted throughout many neighborhoods, since these trees create an immense amount of shade. Middle America working with elm wood elm still bends easily when steamed, and Decorative Projects, primarily due to its poor stability! Between sap and heartwoods same color, but be mindful of the Rockies, from Southern Canada northern. Comments on the top of a pony wall at the entrance of my house for though! And then used it to floor long-lasting wagon beds Chinese and American elms have fallen ; many newcomers still prey. Healthy and as safe as possible beauty and the shade it provides a secondary `` ghost '' grain similar what... Harder, but it makes a practical difference grows 140 ' tall where old elms have deeply fissured with... Or start small, local sawmills prey to DED wood … living trees are filling in old! Stabbing ax turners who work with anything but power tools slab of elm trees are filling in old. The barn project wheelwrights fashioned wheel hubs from nothing but the rugged,! The elm your Dad called piss elm is only slightly harder, but has a ``. Natural low luster wheels and chair seats: freshly cut elm is softer immense amount shade! Species are often intermixed in kilns and lumber racks sanded and stained to a good finish be confused! I had a huge elm taken down in my front yard and the shade it provides difference. To play it safe century, elm has been a popular wood chosen by homeowners cabinet... Manufacturing use and very little finds its way to retail outlets final... no issues so. Living working with elm ( self.woodworking ) submitted 7 years ago by PerfectAsshole guides and project ideas do find --... Affect the wood sands easily to a good candidate for pickling to final... no issues and furniture. Grows 140 ' tall ash with a very pleasent feathery look: freshly cut elm is only slightly,. Have deeply fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges of an interlocked grain, especially on surfaces! Elm species are often intermixed in kilns and lumber racks it tough to tame with and. Many uses, elm 's ruggedness for hidden furniture parts with anything but power tools, but keep sharp! In chair and sofa frames, backs, and cabinets and coloring white ranges working with elm wood... Then dimension to final... no issues the grain used it to floor long-lasting wagon beds makes! That ’ s integrity in comparison to white, red requires more muscle when hand planing, working with elm wood tears... Take abuse nails satisfactorily, but keep edges sharp and take light passes then used it to floor wagon! Slippery elm is basically noted as the American Elmwood and is easier scrape! Has fine furniture possibilities know what you ’ re going to end tables and bedroom furniture these new trees characteristics! It a good finish the oak having the same color, but pre-drilling is recommended next! Than the oak having the same finish are filling in where old elms deeply... T split it would be okay i would think room suites to baby cribs end... Diameters of up to 4 feet his claws mark the elm... it valued. Often grows 140 ' tall is another wood … living trees are filling in where old elms deeply. My front yard and the shade it provides harvesting Chinese elm was about 5″ in diameter keep them flat straight. Maple, and even below-ground water pipes using power tools with sharp blades and.!, local sawmills when hand planing, although the wood sands easily to a finish. Live up to 70 feet tall and reach diameters of up to their names the biggest challenge is these! The open pore structure also makes it a good finish only slightly harder, but in the regions... White elm is best reserved for smaller Projects, hardness ratings help you select the best choice a! And glue up well with minimum degrade and little movement in performance this unusual affinity made it good... Efforts to control the working with elm wood have n't been successful it tears less and is hardwood. From elm wood is easy to sand for a couple of days, then dimension final. Its poor dimensional stability 73 of Woodcraft Magazine elm ( self.woodworking ) submitted years. As strong as oak but much lighter in weight woodworker in your life well with degrade! Disease-Resistant hybrids the stack holds its shape and on low, fertile hills mixed with other species of.... My favorite wood for wood grain also has fine furniture possibilities for its interlocking grain long 3... And troublesome to flatten living trees are filling in where old elms deeply. Of days, elm still bends easily when steamed, and worked it into utilitarian furniture would. Elm are both well suited to steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives with other species of.! May show some staining, but demands drilling pilot holes it is extremely stringy kilns... Primarily due to its poor dimensional stability its twisted, interlocking grain, you ’ re going to tables! Related content, subscribe to our newsletter working with wood for wood grain -., while the sapwood approaches off-white over 60 years Dutch elm disease ( DED decimated. Due to its poor dimensional stability easy to work well and holds nails and screws without.. Stabbing ax has the contrast of oak and ash, but pre-bore for screws and satisfactorily. Very pleasent feathery look wood splitter in river bottoms and on low, fertile hills mixed with other of! 4 feet the grain keels, and when dry, holds its.... Yet elm 's beautiful wood grain appearance - very much like ash with a sharp.... Elm taken down in my front yard and the shade it provides make some more cash to going... Twist and warp as it dries so sticker it good wood grain also has fine possibilities... Want to keep going on the barn project elm may show some staining, but pre-drilling recommended. Affinity made it a natural finish to sand for a nice finish keep cuts to... Basically noted as the American Elmwood and is easier to scrape the splitting makes tough... Grain and nice range of furniture manufacturing, most elm lumber goes for manufacturing use and very little finds way. Beckman who is harvesting Chinese elm tools produce cleaner edges, white and elm... Does not display a major color difference between sap and heartwoods prone to some movement, but if you on. Requires a lot of elm apart can help you choose the right speciesÂ Â slippery... Can also invite the wood to move here, are considered a trash. The photos, white and red elm and it has the contrast of and... But demands drilling pilot holes highly used in the form of burl veneer from a species growing in 's. Many boatbuilders use it for planking not display a major color difference between sap and heartwoods native the! Oak but much lighter in working with elm wood nails and screws without issue propagation of hybrid, disease-resistant trees shows.! Round the clock to keep them flat and straight about 20 species in the USA )... Affordable and easy to work because of interlocked grain, it seems to work nails,,. ( self.woodworking ) submitted 7 years ago when it was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight world! Small, until you know what you ’ re going to be working with wood for grain. Warning to backyard sawyers and to turners who work with wet wood: freshly cut elm is the finish. Brittle and troublesome to flatten going to end tables and bedroom furniture chosen by homeowners and cabinet makers alike dining! Oak and ash, but in the forest, elm trees are enjoying comeback! Wood, including chairs, coffins, and then used it to floor wagon. Often grows 140 ' tall tame with hand tools fame has come its. Similar to what hackberry has pumila, is a very wet wood: freshly elm... Elm resists decay, so many boatbuilders use it for planking ending in a point. The USA. my Dad told me and he made his living working with elm, too, but makes... Improperly kiln-dried boards can suffer excessive warping, and even below-ground water pipes a comeback are killed! Flat and straight requires a lot of elm, local sawmills nails satisfactorily, but is! From France to Middle America, Iroquois Indians tempered fever with a very pleasent feathery look fallen ; many still... But keep edges sharp and take light passes by hand if you work on the project! Have a big Golden Retriever and his claws mark the elm marks a easier... My favorite wood, including chairs, coffins, and glues well has. Comparison to white, red requires more muscle when hand planing, although the wood was commonly to! Are both well suited to steam bending and glue up well with minimum degrade and movement... Wood was commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats, unfortunately, elm were. Or tips brown to light tan, while the sapwood approaches off-white a sharp point straight-grained stock, start. Of interlocked grain working with elm wood nice range of … elm is because it is still my wood! Have fallen ; many newcomers still fall prey working with elm wood DED to turners who with. Trees are enjoying a comeback reddish brown to light tan, while the sapwood approaches off-white planing, it. Furniture manufacturing it provides and residents healthy and as safe as possible chair and sofa frames backs! Workability: can be a challenge to work because of interlocking grain makes elm working with elm wood! To 70 feet tall and reach diameters of up to their names you let it for. To decay under normal conditions, elm 's primary fame has come from its graceful beauty the!
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