Ash wood is a popular choice when it comes to furniture, doors, cabinetry, flooring, and also as a food container. It is an excellent wood for woodworking. In woodworking, when I was making something big, strong, and expensive with Ash wood, I was always wondered, Is Ash a Hardwood?
I decided to look more into it, and discovered:
Yes, Ash wood is a hardwood. It is incredibly strong and durable with a higher hardness rating of 1,320 lbf (5,900 N). Because of being hardwood, Ash wood is resistant to scratches and dents than softwoods. Ash hardwood produces high-quality products with great durability. The hard and dense cellular structures of Ash wood are strong and easy to maintain.
But there’s a lot more you need to know about the hardness of Ash wood.
From this article, I’ll widely discuss is Ash a hardwood and how hard it is, Ash wood characteristics, and applications. Furthermore, I’ll deeply talk about the strength of Ash wood and Ash hardwood flooring pros and cons as well.
So, let’s dive in!
Ash is a very hard, durable flooring. It scores 1320 on the Janka hardness scale – harder than oak, beech, or heart pine. This makes it ideal for areas that get moderate amounts of foot traffic.#woodflooring #eagleriverwisconsin #WednesdayWisdom pic.twitter.com/GYUB92xHst— Kwaterski Bros. Wood Products, Inc. (@KwaterskiInc) July 15, 2020
How Hard/Dense Is Ash Wood?
As wood is harder than any softwood and most of the hardwoods as well. According to the Janke hardness test, the hardness value given for the Ash wood is 1,320 lbf (5,900 N) which is so much higher hardness rating than most other woods.
When we look at the structure of Ash wood, it is a ring-porous wood. Because of being a hardwood with a large porous structure, the density of Ash wood is so much higher than most of the woods and that is also the reason to consider Ash wood as a hardwood.
The pores in the wood grain of Ash wood control the spread by allowing the Ash wood grain to become harder and denser.
So, let’s have a look at the hardness of Ash wood according to the Janka hardness values.
Tip: Janka hardness test is a measure of the hardness of a particular wood to resemble resistance of wood to wear and dent. It means if some wood has a high dent and wear resistance, that means it has a high hardness rating.
Ash wood has a hardness rating of 1,320 lbf (5,900 N). Here is the hardness comparison of popular woods according to the Janks hardness test.
|Wood species||Hardness value|
|Brazilian Walnut||3,684 lbf (16,390 N)|
|Red Mahogany, Turpentine||2,697 lbf (12,000 N)|
|Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba||2,350 lbf (10,500 N)|
|Golden Teak||2,330 lbf (10,400 N)|
|Purpleheart||1,860 lbf (8,300 N)|
|Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood||1,820 lbf (8,100 N)|
|Rosewood||1,780 lbf (7,900 N)|
|African Padauk||1,725 lbf (7,670 N)|
|Wenge, Red Pine, Hornbeam||1,630 lbf (7,300 N)|
|Hard Maple, Sugar Maple||1,450 lbf (6,400 N)|
|Australian Cypress||1,375 lbf (6,120 N)|
|White Oak||1,360 lbf (6,000 N)|
|Ash (White)||1,320 lbf (5,900 N)|
|American Beech||1,300 lbf (5,800 N)|
|Red Oak (Northern)||1,290 lbf (5,700 N)|
|Yellow Birch / Baltic birch||1,260 lbf (5,600 N)|
|Heart pine||1,225 lbf (5,450 N)|
|Teak||1,155 lbf (5,140 N)|
|Black Walnut, North American Walnut||1,010 lbf (4,500 N)|
|Cherry||995 lbf (4,430 N)|
|Black Cherry, Imbuia||950 lbf (4,200 N)|
|Red Maple||950 lbf (4,200 N)|
|Silver Maple||700 lbf (3,100 N)|
|Southern Yellow Pine (Loblolly and Shortleaf)||690 lbf (3,100 N)|
|Douglas Fir||660 lbf (2,900 N)|
As you can see Ash is a hardwood and its hardness is so much higher than most of the woods that we use.
Ash is another well-known bow wood from history but, like wych elm, it made a far better broad-limbed flat bow than a D-section longbow. Ash is a ring porous hardwood, and the early growth wood is coarse and stringy, with the late growth wood being harder and stronger.— Tommy Potts (@TommyPotts12) June 28, 2020
So, if you’re still worried about its hardness before starting your next woodworking project, let’s talk about Ash wood characteristics o get more familiar with Ash wood.
Ash Wood Characteristics
Ash wood is light beige to light brown hue color wood with straight grain hardwood with attractive look. Because of being hardwood, the density of Ash wood is also high compared to other wood types. Durability and the strength of Ash wood are also high, which is useful in furniture making.
Ash wood has a large porous structure that absorbs the paint and stain so well.
Because of being lightweight and having the shock-resistant ability, Ash wood is popular in making baseball bats, and other sports equipment.
The qualities of Ash wood are,
- High durability
- High strength
- Shock resistant
- Stain well
- Aesthetically pleasing
The main characteristics of Ash wood can be displayed as follows,
|Color||Beige to light brown hue color|
|Density||650 – 850 kg/m3|
|Hardness||1,320 lbf (5,900 N)|
|Wood Type||North American Hardwood|
|Applications||Furniture, doors, cabinetry, flooring|
Our custom made Ash Edge Grain Butcher Block is a great choice if you are seeking a wood that's naturally light in color and very hard. Ash wood's hardness makes it resistant to dents and scratches.#butcherblock #woodcountertops #countertops #kitchendesign #kitchenisland pic.twitter.com/D9EWrzTIBv— Hardwood Lumber Co. (@hardwoodlumber1) August 26, 2021
So, let’s have a look at the uses of Ash wood to get an idea about the versatility of Ash as a hardwood.
What is Ash Hardwood Used For?
Ash wood is a popular wood among woodworkers which can use for,
- Sports equipment
- Flooring and many more
Ash wood is hard, dense, durable with having incredible strength. These qualities make it perfect for any type of woodworking project. Ash wood is a hardwood with unique elasticity. Therefore, Ash wood fits any space without fewer troubles.
Ash wood takes stain and paint well. Therefore, finishing is easy with Ash wood without getting a blotchy surface. As a hardwood Ash wood is naturally resistant to scratches and dents. Therefore, we can easily use Ash wood for hard surfaces.
The water resistance and decay resistance and other great qualities of Ash wood are pretty much useful when making outdoor furniture.
How Strong Is Ash Wood?
Ash wood is considered one of the strongest wood types in the world. it has a compressive strength of 7,410 psi and a bending strength of 15,000 psi which is so much higher than any hardwood we know. This is why Ash wood has incredible strength with so much power to keep its dimensional stability against high stress.
Ash wood has good workability and dimensional stability that is so useful for furniture making. Because of being a strong wood, Ash wood takes nailing, gluing, screwing so well. Being lightweight while keeping its strength is another significant quality of Ash wood.
The excellent strength and flexibility of Ash wood make the wood strong, durable, and resistant to outdoor elements.
White ash is a rapidly growing timber tree native to eastern Nth America. Its shock-resistant timber is used for tools and baseball bats. pic.twitter.com/kfWZsbrp84— Kew Gardens (@kewgardens) October 15, 2016
Ash Hardwood Flooring
Ash wood is a hard, dense, and incredibly strong wood with Janks hardness rating of 1,320 lbf (5,900 N). This makes Ash wood is ideal for flooring. Ash wood has great resistant to scratches and dents as well. Because of these qualities, Ash wood is widely used for flooring.
Ash wood can easily handle foot traffic. The workability is also higher than other common hardwoods used for floorings, such as Maple and Hickory because of are relatively softer than those two. Therefore, Ash wood is easy to cut and doesn’t tear up easily.
So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages you’ll get by using Ash hardwood for flooring.
Ash Hardwood Flooring Pros and Cons
Hereby I have listed some of the major benefits and drawbacks you’ll receive by using Ash hardwood flooring.
|Hardwood (High hardness value)||Need high maintenance|
|High Density||Less moth, beetle, and termite-proof|
|Stronger than many||Less availability to find wide planks for as wood flooring|
|Scratch and dent resistant||Burn faster (more flammable than most other woods)|
|Easily handle foot traffic||Not good for exterior flooring without proper finishing because Ash wood easily gets attacked by insects.|
|High workability (Easy to cut)|
|Take stain and paint so well|
|Beautiful light color and wood grain|
|Can easily install in larger spaces because of high elasticity|
|Because of having a more natural color, Ash wood flooring can easily hide dust and dirt|
As you can see, in terms of the pros and cons of Ash wood flooring, Ash wood is one of the best woods for this application. With proper finishing, you can use Ash wood for both interior and exterior flooring purposes.
So, let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions under is Ash a hardwood.
Is Ash Harder than Maple?
Ash wood is harder than soft Maple, but it is softer than hard Maple. According to the Janks hardness ratings,
|Ash Wood||1,320 lb.|
|Hard Maple||1,450 lb.|
|Soft Maple||950 lb.|
As you can see, if you’re comparing Ash wood with hard Maple wood, yes hard Maple is harder and stronger than Ash wood. But with soft Maple, Ash wood clearly has higher strength with high hardness.
The reason for having higher hardness than Ash wood is because of the very tight grain structure of hard Maple. It is less porous, and the diameter of fiber vessels of hard Maple is so much less than Ash wood. Therefore, the number of fibers in a unit area of hard Maple is higher than Ash wood. this makes it denser and harder than Ash wood.
Is Ash Harder than Oak?
Ash wood is harder than red Oak and shows a similar value of hardness with White Oak. Ash wood has a higher hardness rating than Oak wood according to the Janka hardness test values.
|Ash Wood||1,320 lb.|
|Red Oak||1,290 lb.|
|White Oak||1,360 lb.|
Both Ash wood and Oak are considered as one of the hardest woods on the planet with great strength and durability. Therefore, comparing these two kinds of wood in terms of hardness is useless. According to their hardness, both are mostly the same.
Is Ash Harder than Hickory?
Hickory is harder and stronger than Ash wood. According to the Janka hardness values, Hickory is clearly a winner against Ash wood.
|Ash Wood||1,320 lb.|
If you’re searching harder, stronger, and denser wood than Ash wood for your next woodworking project, I can highly recommend Hickory not only because of its great hardness but also because of its good qualities which are applicable for any woodworking project.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Ash A Hardwood?
In this article, we have deeply gone through the question is Ash a hardwood by considering how hard/dense Ash wood is.
Secondly, we have widely discussed the characteristics of Ash wood and the uses of Ash hardwood for various purposes.
The conclusion is that Ash wood is a hardwood with lots of great qualities. Such as strong, dense, and beautiful appealing wood. so, I highly recommend Ash wood for any woodworking application.
Then we have talked about Ash hardwood flooring pros and cons and finally, we have answered the frequently asked questions about is Ash a hardwood.
However, Ash wood is a great choice for your next woodworking project. Hope you’ll enjoy the woodwork you make with Ash wood!