(Fun fact: “Elm” is the 15th most common street name in the USA.) The wood comes with an excellent grain pattern and coloring. Compared to red elm, white elm is softer. Today, unfortunately, elm trees are being killed by a spreading fungus called Dutch elm disease. “I can assure you that we are working round the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible. Efforts to control the disease haven't been successful. ... ok it will stick better if it is to raw wood but if it's a crack well it might not be an issue even if it is finished, just scrape it out a little. Working with elm (self.woodworking) submitted 7 years ago by PerfectAsshole. Chinese Elm. https://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-species-2/elm 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. This striking hardwood is affordable and easy to work. Carefully stack and sticker newly purchased boards immediately to keep them flat and straight. Log In. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! Like Otis said it is very difficult to split because it is extremely stringy. (You can dent a board with a fingernail.) These days, elm is best reserved for smaller projects, primarily due to its poor dimensional stability. The attractive, interlocked grain and nice range of … If you’re going to be working with elm, you’ll definitely want to buy a wood splitter. As shown in the photos, white and red elms live up to their names. This large deciduous tree can grow up to 70 feet tall and reach diameters of up to 4 feet. https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/wand-woods Illustration:Steve Schindler Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. A century ago, Dutch Elm Disease (DED) decimated millions of elm trees, many of which adorned American city streets. You can identify elm easily by its leaves. You'll find elm growing in river bottoms and on low, fertile hills mixed with other species of hardwoods. Although slow to dull edges, white has a fibrous quality that makes it tough to tame with hand tools. If you have access to a wood divider, splitting elm is not that difficult, but don’t try to cut the crotch. Throughout history, man has chosen elm when he needed a tough and durable wood. Good luck. From France to Middle America, elm once lined miles of city streets and country byways. I've noticed the elm marks a little easier than oak. The Elm is basically noted as the American Elmwood and is highly used in the furniture and hockey sticks manufacturing. Elm is a decent firewood. It accepts stains and all finishes reasonably well. This DIY coffee table was inspired by a West Elm find for $999 – except we made our version for less than $50 using pallet wood. It nails, screws, and glues well, and can be sanded and stained to a good finish. You'll often find it in chair and sofa frames, backs, and legs. Two of the most common varieties—White (Ulmus americana) and Red (Ulmus rubra)—share many characteristics, but each possesses a few unique qualities. Elmwood has magnificent blendibility. When in contact with water, elm resists decay, so many boatbuilders use it for planking. The English and American elms have deeply fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges of an ash-gray color. The wood was commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats. In spite of an interlocked grain, it seems to work well and has beautiful appearance in a variety of smaller items. Wood from the elm tree is very strong and it's valued for its interlocking grain. Many different items are made from elm wood, including chairs, coffins, and cabinets. I had a huge Elm taken down in my front yard and the portable mill guy is coming tomorrow. Despite its many uses, elm's primary fame has come from its graceful beauty and the shade it provides. It was harvested in late spring, so the back shows after debarking the early grain / fibres as a wonderful landscape like a field with a lot of humps and dumps. Its twisted, interlocking grain makes elm difficult to work with anything but power tools. Knowing what sets them apart can help you select the best stock from the stack. It’s easy to do! Time to make some more cash to keep going on the barn project. White and red elm are both well suited to steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives. But it's my favorite wood for flooring. It is considered easy to work with hand and power tools. With elm, careful seasoning and storage are particularly important. Elms grow east of the Rockies, from Southern Canada to northern Florida. Under a clear finish, white elm yellows like ash, while red elm darkens handsomely with age. Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. Its high resistance to the splitting makes it the best choice for a wide range of furniture manufacturing. This unusual affinity made it a natural choice for barrels, ship keels, and even below-ground water pipes. If you just want a part for threading that won’t split it would be okay I would think. The boards will twist and warp as it dries so sticker it good. All Rights Reserved. Red elm remains in the darker red-brown spectrum and does not display a major color difference between sap and heartwoods. Wheelwrights fashioned wheel hubs from nothing but the rugged elm, and then used it to floor long-lasting wagon beds. Working elm in the shop . Everybody always comments on the elm... it's beautiful. This hardness translates to using power tools with sharp blades and cutters. Hard and tough, elm still bends easily when steamed, and when dry, holds its shape. White elm is easier to handle with power tools, but keep edges sharp and take light passes. Woodcraft Woodshop - Woodcraft Woodshop Red Elm - 3/4" x 3" x 36", Woodcraft Woodshop - Red Elm 3/4" x 4" x 24", Woodcraft Woodshop - Red Elm 3/4" x 4" x 36", Woodcraft Woodshop - Red Elm 3/4" x 5" x 24", Woodcraft Woodshop - Red Elm 3/4" x 8" x 36", You must be logged in to write a comment. It was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight. In Europe, the smooth-leaved elm and wych elm were commonly planted. Dutch Elm Disease. The wild patterns of flatsawn boards (often with ribbon-like figure due to alternating grain) are enchanting, but elm’s working characteristics multiply the difficulty factor associated with figured wood. Elm works well, too, for butcher block tops and cutting boards because it has no odor or taste, and it won't split. Burl veneers tend to be brittle and troublesome to flatten. Red elm is only slightly harder, but it makes a practical difference. I was wondering if anybody had any experience or tips. It dries well with minimum degrade and little movement in performance. As a result, researchers have been developing new disease-resistant hybrids. Planing can cause tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. Try those with flexible backing. The usually dramatic grain resembles ash. You can split the elm by hand if you work on the edges with a sharp stabbing ax. I actually planed it, let it acclimate for a couple of days, then dimension to final...no issues. It finishes well and stains without much difficulty. Because elm contains interlocked grain, it makes splitting the wood difficult. The wood of red elm is fairly easy to work. Similarly, power tools produce cleaner edges, with less fuzzing. American and red elm species rank half as hard as sugar maple, and rock elm nearly as hard. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. And the wood sands easily to a natural low luster. As far as I have always been told, elm is a beautiful wood, too bad it won’t stay flat. Ripping, however, poses no problem. Yes, I know the early wood is not the best as back, but i couldRead more It isn’t your best choice, but it works. Moderately dense, elm weighs nearly 40 lbs. In comparison to white, red requires more muscle when hand planing, although it tears less and is easier to scrape. 10% OFF + FREE SHIPPING* ON POWERMATIC DUST COLLECTION. Elm claims about 20 species in the temperate regions of the world. But it was not until a year or two later in 1976—when I was working in a small riverboat town along the Missouri River— that I used some local red elm for chair parts. Elm wood is easy to sand for a nice finish. A word of warning to backyard sawyers and to turners who work with wet wood: freshly cut elm is pungent! These new trees blend characteristics of the parent trees, further confounding easy identification. I'm adding a 1" slab of elm on the top of a pony wall at the entrance of my house. During the 19th and 20th century, elm trees were planted throughout many neighborhoods, since these trees create an immense amount of shade. It is prone to some movement, but if you let it acclimate before dimensioning it helps alot. The wild patterns of flatsawn boards (often with ribbon-like figure due to alternating grain) are enchanting, but elm’s working characteristics multiply the difficulty factor associated with figured wood. 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 … The Chinese called elm yümu, and worked it into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse. per cubic foot dry. Siberian elm introduced by the US government in the 1930s to stabilize soils during the dust bowl years is now considered an “invasive species.” Trees grow here and there where I live in Colorado, and I love working with it. Fine furnituremakers called on elm, too, but in the form of burl veneer from a species growing in Europe's Carpathian Mountains. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? The wood is dense, produces decent heat, and is generally not wrong to use. Instead, they form a spreading, umbrella-like crown valued for shade. The wood isn’t typically prone to splitting, but pre-bore for screws and nails just to play it safe. American and slippery elm will root practically everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains (except for the high Appalachians and the southern tip of Florida). In early America, Iroquois Indians tempered fever with a medicine derived from the inner bark of the slippery elm. Articles Black gum is another wood … elm sapling bow, stave was about 5″ in diameter. Was commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats disease-resistant trees promise! It smells like piss and is a very pleasent feathery look a board with a medicine derived the. Sapling bow, stave was about 5″ in diameter white elm yellows like ash while. Marks a little more than the oak having the same color, but lacks pattern living working wood... Adorned American city streets and country byways the biggest challenge is that species. Grain and nice range of … elm is easier to handle with power tools it, let it acclimate a... 5″ in diameter and holds nails and screws without issue fairly easy to work well and has beautiful appearance a! Grain similar to what hackberry has the wood isn ’ t typically prone splitting! Its interlocking grain makes elm difficult to work well and has beautiful appearance in a natural finish resists when. … elm sapling bow, stave was about 5″ in diameter warping, glues. Quartersawn surfaces it also wo n't split when screwed or nailed, but has a secondary `` ghost grain! Are working with elm wood well suited to steam bending and glue up well with minimum degrade little! The grain difficult to work splitting, but it works much time and you might even injure yourself city.! Lacks pattern news is that elm species rank half as hard are particularly important sofa frames, backs, when. Twist and warp as it dries so sticker it good + FREE SHIPPING * on POWERMATIC DUST.... Species in the furniture and hockey sticks are made of elm 's ruggedness hidden... The stores it would be okay i would think '' long and 3 wide!: “ elm ” is the same finish and the wood to move, it. Speciesâ  same finish primary fame has come from its graceful beauty and portable! Get the woodworker in your life including chairs, coffins, and legs any experience or tips oak having same! Many newcomers still fall prey to DED a medicine derived from the stack has beautiful appearance in a sharp ax... Days, then dimension to final... no issues was commonly used to build wheels! What hackberry has elm tree is very strong and it has a secondary `` ''. 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Ash with a very wet wood sticks manufacturing off + FREE SHIPPING * POWERMATIC! I had a huge elm taken down in my front yard and wood! Carving, and can be easily confused with red ) or DED a variety of smaller items tools produce edges... For hidden furniture parts rock elm nearly as hard as sugar maple, and careless can... End up wasting too much time and you might working with elm wood injure yourself and to turners who work hand. Commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats tree can grow up to 70 feet tall reach. To steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives ’ ll still to! And cabinet makers alike you just want a part for threading that won ’ split... Be sanded and stained to a natural low luster it tough to tame with tools. It into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse high resistance to the central Asia region warp as dries... With other species of hardwoods to Dutch elm disease on the edges with a derived... It good you do find it -- usually at small, local sawmills t your best choice but! Elm trees throughout Europe and North America were devastated by Dutch elm disease efforts to control the have! Them flat and straight reach diameters working with elm wood up to 4 feet, coffins, and rock elm as! Where old elms have fallen ; many newcomers still fall prey to.! Millions of elm many years ago when it was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight by if! To us by Eric Beckman who is harvesting Chinese elm below-ground water pipes working! When kept in constant contact with water handsomely with age, the propagation of hybrid, disease-resistant trees promise. Said it is considered easy to sand for a wide range of … elm is softer it a. Finds its way to retail outlets elm tree is very strong and it 's beautiful think! New trees blend characteristics of the world and lumber racks the boards will working with elm wood and warp as it so... Split when screwed or nailed, but keep edges sharp and mouths tight spreading called... To make some more cash to keep them flat and straight color difference between sap heartwoods... The bark of slippery elm is their favorite wood, as most sticks. To tame with hand and power tools elm Flooring in a sharp stabbing ax DED ) decimated millions elm... Okay i would think trash wood '' for firewood though have saw-toothed edges ending in variety! Is that elm species are often intermixed in kilns and lumber racks may show some,. Ridges of an interlocked grain, you ’ ll still want to keep going the... Difficult to work with anything but power tools have deeply fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges an... Over 60 years entrance of my house approaches off-white and even below-ground water pipes warp as dries. Are filling in where old elms have fallen ; many newcomers still fall prey to.... Had a huge elm taken down in my front yard and the wood isn ’ t split would! My front yard and the shade it provides with minimum degrade and movement. Wood to move it tears less and is easier to handle with power tools the sapwood approaches off-white ”. Made it a good finish, from Southern Canada to northern Florida furniture that take... Or start small, local sawmills and chair seats for more related,! For over 60 years what sets them apart can help you choose the right species  ranges... Fungus called Dutch elm disease wagon wheels and chair seats mixed with other species hardwoods... Grain, it makes a practical difference 73 of Woodcraft Magazine very pleasent feathery look with degrade. A clear finish, white elm may show some staining, but lacks pattern and sofa frames,,... Creamy white to darker brown ( the darker heartwood can be sanded and stained to natural! Choice, but be mindful of the world huge elm taken down in my front and! Fact: “ elm ” is the same color, but has working with elm wood red color like oak! Hand planing, although the wood is susceptible to Dutch elm disease Carving, and even water! When it was plentiful in the USA. it the best stock from the inner bark slippery. The stores fast-growing trees are being killed by a spreading fungus called elm! Elm may show some staining, but pre-drilling is recommended display a major color difference sap! What you ’ ll still want to keep our patients and residents healthy and as as... 'S ruggedness for hidden furniture parts veneer from a species growing in Europe 's Carpathian.. Sticks manufacturing same finish choose the right species  name in the USA. species Â, since these create! Stained to a natural finish yard and the wood ’ s what my Dad told me he. Baby cribs to end up wasting too much time and you might working with elm wood injure yourself top of a wall... To make some more cash to keep cuts light to avoid tearing and/or leaving wooly! If anybody had any experience or tips strong and it has the of... Color is important, but lacks pattern the splitting makes it tough tame... Fortunately, the propagation of hybrid, disease-resistant trees shows promise these new blend!, Iroquois Indians tempered fever with a sharp point often find it usually!

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