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Try The Look of Ash and Save Some Cash

At the lumber store, we quickly found white ash and red oak boards that bore a strong resemblance to one another in grain size and pattern. Though not identical in color, they weren't far apart after a coat of Zar Provincial #114 stain.

Q: As I was admiring a friend's door, he informed me that it was made of ash. I would have bet that it was red oak. Is there any problem with substituting ash for oak in my projects?

—John Scott, Indianapolis

A: No problem at all, John. As you see in the photo above, the grain patterns of white ash and red oak are similar. The same stain or topcoat applied to each produces a lighter result in ash than oak, but if you see that as a problem, just select a darker stain than usual. And, who knows? You just might prefer the golden tone of ash once you try it.

Ash machines well; offers plenty of strength; and, when cut into thin strips, ranks as one of the premier woods for making bent laminations on a form. Even better, white ash beats red oak at the cash register. We found ash priced at $2.28 per board foot at our local lumber outlet, while red oak cost $3.44. That's a 33 percent savings, the kind of difference that really adds up on a large project.


Comments (9)
lugnut181963 wrote:

We in Kentucky are in the same predicament with the emerald ash borer. We had to remove fifteen trees from our yard already!

12/6/2014 06:21:14 PM Report Abuse
JohnDoonan wrote:

Here in the UK ash is plentiful and we use it a lot both in turning and in flat wood work.

10/9/2014 04:49:09 PM Report Abuse
Jim DiRenzo wrote:

My friend John and I just finished two small tables for a library in Maine. Working with a short budget we had to use ash for the legs and both tables finished well.

11/21/2013 04:32:53 PM Report Abuse
martelma wrote:

Try in Southern Indiana they have ash for 1.50 bd foot. I have seen the lumber and it is pick your own. MickeyAce.

11/21/2013 01:12:38 PM Report Abuse
CA Johnston wrote:

Here in Indiana we are losing our ash trees by the Emerald Ash Borer. Thousands of trees are being cut down. I'm wondering where all that wood is going?

11/21/2013 11:39:17 AM Report Abuse
clfdpr wrote:

Is cotten wood good for wood working ? Is it the same as alder or ash?

9/14/2012 09:28:00 PM Report Abuse
redramrver wrote:

so whats the difference between white ash and black ash?

9/13/2012 05:31:25 PM Report Abuse
grandpa1791265 wrote:

I buy from a mill and personal friends with I bought a Dakota 6foot bed with ash to top of fender wells for $55.00 Not bad .Pays to plane it that way

9/13/2012 11:55:23 AM Report Abuse
stevied12 wrote:

Be very careful when going with ash for the cost savings. In some parts of the country, ash is actually MORE than red oak (where I am it is about $.40 per board foot more). Make sure you shop around first.

4/8/2010 05:32:04 PM Report Abuse

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