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