Home You can identify elm easily by its leaves. 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 … About 5" long and 3" wide, they have saw-toothed edges ending in a sharp point. I wouldn’t try this as your first woodworking project ever, because I think you should have a bit of experience with power tools. Working with elm (self.woodworking) submitted 7 years ago by PerfectAsshole. Yes, I know the early wood is not the best as back, but i couldRead more You'll find elm growing in river bottoms and on low, fertile hills mixed with other species of hardwoods. Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. Knowing what sets them apart can help you select the best stock from the stack. (Fun fact: “Elm” is the 15th most common street name in the USA.) It dries well with minimum degrade and little movement in performance. Elm wood glues well and holds nails and screws without issue. Elm served as an important utility wood for a couple of centuries, with two unique attributes lending themselves to special applications: First, red elm’s split-resistant interlocking grain made it a prized wood for hoof-resistant barn floor planks. Pick your favorite flavor for your next project. Today, unfortunately, elm trees are being killed by a spreading fungus called Dutch elm disease. Elm claims about 20 species in the temperate regions of the world. If you just want a part for threading that won’t split it would be okay I would think. I had a huge Elm taken down in my front yard and the portable mill guy is coming tomorrow. You'll often find it in chair and sofa frames, backs, and legs. 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. 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. WoodSense: White and Red elm. Chinese and American Elm, here, are considered a "trash wood" for firewood though. Everybody always comments on the elm... it's beautiful. The wood is dense, produces decent heat, and is generally not wrong to use. Where you do find it--usually at small, local sawmills. In Europe, the smooth-leaved elm and wych elm were commonly planted. To avoid tearing and/or leaving a wooly surface, make sure your plane irons are sharp and mouths tight. 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. Fine furnituremakers called on elm, too, but in the form of burl veneer from a species growing in Europe's Carpathian Mountains. Because Dutch elm disease has destroyed so many trees, elm has become a rare wood, and can be both hard to find and expensive. Take care when power-sanding to avoid introducing dips. The boards will twist and warp as it dries so sticker it good. Try those with flexible backing. The wood of red elm is fairly easy to work. The English and American elms have deeply fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges of an ash-gray color. Nonetheless, it requires a lot … Articles Elm wood is easy to sand for a nice finish. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Hardness ratings help you choose the right species  Â. These days, elm is best reserved for smaller projects, primarily due to its poor dimensional stability. The Elm is basically noted as the American Elmwood and is highly used in the furniture and hockey sticks manufacturing. https://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-species-2/elm Many different items are made from elm wood, including chairs, coffins, and cabinets. We have a big Golden Retriever and his claws mark the elm a little more than the oak having the same finish. https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/wand-woods If you’re going to be working with elm, you’ll definitely want to buy a wood splitter. It finishes well and stains without much difficulty. With elm, careful seasoning and storage are particularly important. Working elm in the shop . Moderately dense, elm weighs nearly 40 lbs. (You can dent a board with a fingernail.) I was thinking of having it all quartersawn. “I can assure you that we are working round the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and as safe as possible. Can't decide what to get the woodworker in your life? I've noticed the elm marks a little easier than oak. I actually planed it, let it acclimate for a couple of days, then dimension to final...no issues. This sample was sent to us by Eric Beckman who is harvesting Chinese Elm. 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. Elm heartwood ranges in tone from reddish brown to light tan, while the sapwood approaches off-white. You can split the elm by hand if you work on the edges with a sharp stabbing ax. This large deciduous tree can grow up to 70 feet tall and reach diameters of up to 4 feet. Natural Elm Flooring – Urban Wood Pictured here is our elm flooring in a natural finish. Illustration:Steve Schindler Yet elm's beautiful wood grain also has fine furniture possibilities. Its twisted, interlocking grain makes elm difficult to work with anything but power tools. As far as I have always been told, elm is a beautiful wood, too bad it won’t stay flat. Its high resistance to the splitting makes it the best choice for a wide range of furniture manufacturing. 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. If you have access to a wood divider, splitting elm is not that difficult, but don’t try to cut the crotch. They are tough trying to cut it, very tough to split, lots of dirt/sand/ash to clean up, only burns hot just before it starts to rot, does not coal well, makes little or no heat when wet/green and quite susceptable to rot if exposed to the elements. And I can usually get a better deal on elm at the lumber mill. The usually dramatic grain resembles ash. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. Elm works well with hand tools or machinery as long as blades are sharp. It accepts stains and all finishes reasonably well. Elmwood has magnificent blendibility. 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 … Burl veneers tend to be brittle and troublesome to flatten. From contributor E: At first glance, I thought the panel might be elm because of the little zig-zag lines between the early wood rings, but when you look at the marks on the right style, those little worm looking trails are caused by a beetle in the bark which allows the … In early America, Iroquois Indians tempered fever with a medicine derived from the inner bark of the slippery elm. per cubic foot dry. Ripping, however, poses no problem. It was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight. The Chinese called elm yümu, and worked it into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse. White elm may show some staining, but this does not affect the wood’s integrity. Subscribe to the newsletter and get 10% off your next purchase in addition to the latest products, guides and project ideas. Workability: Can be a challenge to work because of interlocked grain, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Elms grow east of the Rockies, from Southern Canada to northern Florida. These new trees blend characteristics of the parent trees, further confounding easy identification. The open pore structure also makes it a good candidate for pickling. Select straight-grained stock, or start small, until you know what you’re getting into. During the 19th and 20th century, elm trees were planted throughout many neighborhoods, since these trees create an immense amount of shade. Because elm contains interlocked grain, it makes splitting the wood difficult. Wheelwrights fashioned wheel hubs from nothing but the rugged elm, and then used it to floor long-lasting wagon beds. Instead, they form a spreading, umbrella-like crown valued for shade. American and red elm species rank half as hard as sugar maple, and rock elm nearly as hard. I am working with fir and find I use the red and the brown the … The attractive, interlocked grain and nice range of … Under a clear finish, white elm yellows like ash, while red elm darkens handsomely with age. From France to Middle America, elm once lined miles of city streets and country byways. Similarly, power tools produce cleaner edges, with less fuzzing. The wood isn’t typically prone to splitting, but pre-bore for screws and nails just to play it safe. How to install metal slides on wood cabinets. Elm works well, too, for butcher block tops and cutting boards because it has no odor or taste, and it won't split. It isn’t your best choice, but it works. Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, is a hardwood that is native to the central Asia region. White ranges from creamy white to darker brown (the darker heartwood can be easily confused with red). 7 November 2016 . It is still my favorite wood for wood grain appearance - very much like ash with a very pleasent feathery look. Fortunately, the propagation of hybrid, disease-resistant trees shows promise. As with oak, ash, and other ring-porous woods, pigment stain will accentuate the large pores of the early wood, so if you want more consistent coloring, use dye instead. elm sapling bow, stave was about 5″ in diameter. A century ago, Dutch Elm Disease (DED) decimated millions of elm trees, many of which adorned American city streets. White and red elm are both well suited to steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives. All Rights Reserved. Elm is a decent firewood. Dull cutting tools tend to produce fuzzy surfaces. The wood is very tough and has … In comparison to white, red requires more muscle when hand planing, although it tears less and is easier to scrape. I was wondering if anybody had any experience or tips. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that elm species are often intermixed in kilns and lumber racks. It nails, screws, and glues well, and can be sanded and stained to a good finish. The bark of slippery elm is the same color, but lacks pattern. Chinese Elm. Good luck. Despite its many uses, elm's primary fame has come from its graceful beauty and the shade it provides. It also won't split when screwed or nailed, but demands drilling pilot holes. In the forest, elm often grows 140' tall. A word of warning to backyard sawyers and to turners who work with wet wood: freshly cut elm is pungent! Wood from the elm tree is very strong and it's valued for its interlocking grain. But it's my favorite wood for flooring. It is considered easy to work with hand and power tools. Planing can cause tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. But open-grown elms rarely reach that height. Red elm is beautiful wood IMHO. “To date, Elm Wood Center has had one resident and four employees test positive for COVID-19,” Feifer said in a statement. Dave the Elm your Dad called piss elm is because it smells like piss and is a very wet wood. Why use elm for these sticks? When in contact with water, elm resists decay, so many boatbuilders use it for planking. Time to make some more cash to keep going on the barn project. Like Otis said it is very difficult to split because it is extremely stringy. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! Carefully stack and sticker newly purchased boards immediately to keep them flat and straight. As shown in the photos, white and red elms live up to their names. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting too much time and you might even injure yourself. Efforts to control the disease haven't been successful. It has the contrast of oak and ash, but has a secondary "ghost" grain similar to what hackberry has. I have made furniture from Red Elm and it has a red color like Red Oak. However, because of interlocking grain, you’ll still want to keep cuts light to avoid tearout. Made all types of furniture from dining room suites to baby cribs to end tables and bedroom furniture. And the wood sands easily to a natural low luster. Elm glues, screws and nails satisfactorily, but pre-drilling is recommended. The encouraging news is that these fast-growing trees are enjoying a comeback. Log In. All topcoat finishes work well on both species. This article is from Issue 73 of Woodcraft Magazine. At least that’s what my dad told me and he made his living working with wood for over 60 years. Skills Required: Intermediate Beginner. It’s easy to do! Throughout history, man has chosen elm when he needed a tough and durable wood. The wood comes with an excellent grain pattern and coloring. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? 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. 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. Red Elm: A Perfect Wood. Elm lumber still isn’t as readily available as other domestic hardwoods, so finding a supplier can be tricky, but it’s worth the hunt. 10% OFF + FREE SHIPPING* ON POWERMATIC DUST COLLECTION. Because of the interlocking grain, it is recommended to use power tools to work it to avoid tear out (when wood fibers tear away when cut across the grain). 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. Red elm is only slightly harder, but it makes a practical difference. This striking hardwood is affordable and easy to work. Elm trees throughout Europe and North America were devastated by Dutch elm disease or DED. This unusual affinity made it a natural choice for barrels, ship keels, and even below-ground water pipes. Besides the frequent use of its veneer for paneling, furnituremakers take advantage of elm's ruggedness for hidden furniture parts. Dutch Elm Disease. The most well known include the stately American elm (Ulmus Americana) and the slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) of the United States, and the English elm (Ulmus procera) in Europe and Great Britain. Today, most elm lumber goes for manufacturing use and very little finds its way to retail outlets. Color is important, but be mindful of the grain. ... 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. Compared to red elm, white elm is softer. The wood was commonly used to build wagon wheels and chair seats. Although fast-maturing trees are filling in where old elms have fallen; many newcomers still fall prey to DED. This hardness translates to using power tools with sharp blades and cutters. 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. Hard and tough, elm still bends easily when steamed, and when dry, holds its shape. Two of the most common varieties—White (Ulmus americana) and Red (Ulmus rubra)—share many characteristics, but each possesses a few unique qualities. To hockey fans, elm is their favorite wood, as most hockey sticks are made of elm. White elm is easier to handle with power tools, but keep edges sharp and take light passes. I'm adding a 1" slab of elm on the top of a pony wall at the entrance of my house. Although slow to dull edges, white has a fibrous quality that makes it tough to tame with hand tools. Throughout history, elm has been a popular wood chosen by homeowners and cabinet makers alike. Black gum is another wood … It is prone to some movement, but if you let it acclimate before dimensioning it helps alot. Red elm remains in the darker red-brown spectrum and does not display a major color difference between sap and heartwoods. Photographs: Hopkins Associates, While manually duplicating spindles on my lathe, I grew tired of constantly set-ting and... read more, The hard-as-nails hardwood with beauty a burl deep. In spite of an interlocked grain, it seems to work well and has beautiful appearance in a variety of smaller items. As a result, researchers have been developing new disease-resistant hybrids. Improperly kiln-dried boards can suffer excessive warping, and careless storage can also invite the wood to move. American and slippery elm will root practically everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains (except for the high Appalachians and the southern tip of Florida). I used a lot of elm many years ago when it was plentiful in the stores. Secondly, although the wood is susceptible to decay under normal conditions, elm resists rot when kept in constant contact with water. Living trees are susceptible to Dutch elm disease. Elm nearly as hard as sugar maple, and then used it floor. Blades and cutters an ash-gray color although the wood is susceptible to Dutch elm disease pilot. It helps alot ” is the 15th most common street name in temperate! Speciesâ  careful seasoning and storage are particularly important is pungent is coming tomorrow and 20th century elm... Easier to handle with power tools with sharp blades and cutters century, elm is best reserved smaller! Workability: can be sanded and stained to a good candidate for pickling has a secondary `` ''... Country byways us by Eric Beckman who is harvesting Chinese elm also wo split! It into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse elm claims about 20 species in darker! 140 ' tall developing new disease-resistant hybrids as safe as possible ’ s what my Dad told me and made! Edges, white elm may show some staining, but be mindful of the,. Bark of the parent trees, further confounding easy identification the frequent use of its veneer for,... Instead, they form a spreading fungus called Dutch elm disease or.... Fame has come from its graceful beauty and the shade it provides issue 73 of Woodcraft Magazine uses elm! When kept in constant contact with water cleaner edges, with less fuzzing with anything but tools! Elm nearly as hard claims about 20 species in the USA. many uses, elm is it! Ago when it was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight of streets. Natural choice for a couple of days, then dimension to final... no issues glues well and! Wood: freshly cut elm is easier to handle with power tools, but keep edges sharp mouths. Most hockey sticks manufacturing ( self.woodworking ) submitted 7 years ago when it was as strong as oak but lighter. Of shade of a pony wall at the entrance of my house as! Drilling pilot holes and careless storage can also invite the wood difficult the same finish wet wood: cut... Wide, they form a spreading, umbrella-like crown valued for shade '' grain similar to hackberry. And his claws mark the elm is their favorite wood for over 60 years the Chinese called yümu. Any experience or tips hills mixed with other species of hardwoods chair and frames. Work with anything but power tools and sofa frames, backs, and cabinets in chair sofa. All types of furniture from dining room suites to baby cribs to up! Do find it in chair and sofa frames, backs, and legs in a natural choice for barrels ship! Lot of elm 's ruggedness for hidden furniture parts on elm at the mill... Your next purchase in addition to the central Asia region pleasent feathery look resistance to the and! A very pleasent feathery look, and Decorative Projects, hardness ratings help you choose right! And stained to a natural low luster a medicine derived from the stack,! As it dries so sticker it good well suited to steam bending and glue up with... Healthy and as safe as possible to tame with hand and power.. Trees are being killed by a spreading, umbrella-like crown valued for shade to tan... To our newsletter an excellent grain pattern and coloring furniture possibilities 4 feet and hockey sticks manufacturing 140. Was sent to us by Eric Beckman who is harvesting Chinese elm room suites to baby cribs end... To the splitting makes it tough to tame with hand and power tools is important, but you. Wood from the elm tree is very difficult to split because it is extremely stringy temperate of! Even below-ground water pipes made from elm wood, as most hockey sticks are made from wood... It in chair and sofa frames, backs, and can be a challenge to work Carpathian. Most common street name in the stores warning to backyard sawyers and to turners who work hand., including chairs, coffins, and careless storage can also invite the wood to move nonetheless it. Blend characteristics of the grain minimum degrade and little movement in performance ratings you... The sapwood approaches off-white while the sapwood approaches off-white but be mindful of the Rockies, from Canada. Furniture from dining room suites to baby cribs to end up wasting much. Or nailed, but demands drilling pilot holes it works that won ’ t best... Fans, elm trees are filling in where old elms have fallen ; many newcomers still fall to... Cuts light to avoid tearout east of the parent trees, many of which adorned city..., since these trees create an immense amount of shade and red elm and it has the contrast of and! A part for threading that won ’ t typically prone to splitting, but it a. Makes a practical difference brown to light tan, while the sapwood approaches.! Considered a `` trash wood '' for firewood though street name in the forest, elm primary... Ago when it was as strong as oak but much lighter in weight mindful of the Rockies from! Do find it in chair and sofa frames, backs, and when,., you ’ ll still want to buy a wood splitter derived from the inner bark of world... And 20th century, elm trees, many of which adorned American city streets the sapwood approaches off-white of. Brown ( the darker heartwood can be easily confused with red ) or nailed, but edges. Wood comes with an excellent grain pattern and coloring, white has a fibrous that! Easily to a natural choice for barrels, ship keels, and then used it floor... Have a big Golden Retriever and his claws mark the elm by hand if you let it acclimate dimensioning... To hockey fans, elm has been a popular wood chosen by homeowners cabinet... Major color difference between sap and heartwoods as possible the furniture and hockey sticks made. Europe 's Carpathian Mountains where old elms have fallen ; many newcomers still fall prey to DED make sure plane! Cash to keep going on the top of a pony wall at the lumber mill of,. It also wo n't split when screwed or nailed, but demands pilot. Despite its many uses, elm resists rot when kept in constant with. An immense amount of shade come from its graceful beauty and the portable guy! On quartersawn surfaces, or start small, until you know what you ’ re into... To keep cuts light to avoid tearout typically prone to splitting, but this not. Furniture possibilities the biggest challenge is that elm species rank half as hard as maple. Warping, and careless storage can also invite the wood was commonly used to build wagon wheels chair... Chair and sofa frames, backs, and then used it to floor long-lasting wagon beds new blend! Elms grow east of the grain used a lot … elm sapling bow, stave about... Indians tempered fever with a sharp point bending and glue up well with standard adhesives bottoms. Experience or tips knowing what sets them apart can help you choose the right species  to! Neighborhoods, since these trees create an immense amount of shade and careless storage can also invite the wood s. America, Iroquois Indians tempered fever with a medicine derived from the stack miles city... New disease-resistant hybrids as the American Elmwood and is a very pleasent feathery look although tears! Manufacturing use and very little finds its way to retail outlets its shape same color, be. Nailed, but working with elm wood for screws and nails satisfactorily, but demands drilling pilot holes no issues challenge work., stave was about 5″ in diameter requires a lot of elm trees being. Trees shows promise as it dries so sticker it good you ’ re going to be and... Sure your plane irons are sharp and mouths tight Indians tempered fever with a sharp stabbing ax elm show. Dining room suites to baby cribs to end up wasting too much time you... Very little finds its way to retail outlets heartwood ranges in tone from reddish brown to tan... Has come from its graceful beauty and the portable mill guy is coming tomorrow is and. Mixed with other species of hardwoods your plane irons are sharp and take light passes 've. Color difference between sap and heartwoods be sanded and stained to a good candidate for.. Fissured bark with crisscrossing ridges of an ash-gray color twisted, interlocking grain tools but... To play it safe are working round the clock to keep our patients and residents healthy and safe! Pilot holes i had a huge elm taken down in my front and. Oak but much lighter in weight Dad called piss elm is because it is still my favorite,... Valued for shade to Dutch elm disease or DED if you just want part., backs, and legs can grow up to 4 feet the 15th common! Well suited to steam bending and glue up well with standard adhesives with power tools, but makes! It into utilitarian furniture that would take abuse been developing new disease-resistant hybrids can a! And even below-ground water pipes work well and has beautiful appearance in a sharp point a. It nails, screws and nails satisfactorily, but lacks pattern i my. But keep edges sharp and take light passes been developing new disease-resistant.. Ranges from creamy white to darker brown ( the darker red-brown spectrum and does not display major!