Is Elm Wood Good for Furniture? 9 Benefits Of Elm Wood

is elm wood good for furniture

Elm wood is one of the most popular woods on the planet because of its beautiful grain pattern and excellent physical properties. Even though Elm wood comes from a hardwood tree, it is significantly soft.

Therefore, woodworkers believe elm is perfect for any project due to the hybrid qualities of hardwoods and softwoods. So, let’s find out, Is Elm wood good for furniture?

Yes, Elm is good for furniture because it has a beautiful smooth texture, excellent strength, and good split resistance. Elm wood holds nails well. Even though elm is rigid, it tuns and screws so well which makes it easy for furniture manufacturing. Elm wood furniture is easy to stain, paint and polish.

But that’s a quick snapshot.

So, in this article, we’re taking a detailed look at whether is Elm wood good for furniture, the pros, and cons of using Elm wood for furniture, Elm wood for indoor and outdoor furniture, and much more.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about using Elm wood for furniture as well.

Let’s jump in!

How Elm Use in Furniture?

Elm can be used pretty much for any furniture. It has good resistance against splits and cracks with significantly high compressive and bending strength.

Even though Elm wood is softer than most hardwoods, it is harder and denser than many softwoods that we use in our day-to-day lives.

Because of being a soft hardwood, Elm wood has both hardwood and softwood properties.

It is tough and has good resistance against environmental elements.

It steams bends easily and is able to shape and turn as we want which is so useful in making furniture parts like legs, seats, frames, and shelves.

The interlocking grain structure means the fibers of Elm wood spread in the opposite direction when the tree grows.

The interlocking grain pattern swirls and is beautiful. It adds a bold, uniquely aesthetic look to your furniture.

Overall, elm is an excellent wood for furniture.

On the other hand, it has an interlocking grain structure which makes it rigid and stiff.

Therefore, it’s a bit difficult to make cuts using hand tools and there’s a possibility of wood tearing out.

Power tools are recommended when working with elm for better results and to avoid wood tear outs.

Elm wood Furniture

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Baskets
  • Boxes
  • Cutting boards
  • Butcher blocks
  • Decorative panels
  • Furniture parts (legs, seats, frames)
  • Musical instruments
  • Bats and hockey sticks

As you can see elm can use for any woodworking project. Elm furniture is beautiful and has high durability.

They add a unique appearance to your home, office, or work area.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Elm wood for Furniture

Elm wood is an excellent wood for most furniture and woodworks. There are some unique characteristic features in every inch of elm which makes it special compared to other wood types.

But as you know every good comes with some bad.

By looking at the advantages and disadvantages you’ll be able to decide whether you go or not for Elm wood for making furniture.

So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using Elm wood for furniture.

Smooth beautiful texturePoor dimensional stability
Split resistantSusceptible to insect and bugs attacks
Turning and screwing are easyModerately priced
Holds nails wellStiff and rigid
High flexibilityNeed regular maintenance
Stain and paint wellProne to deformation when drying (Easily Warp)
Easy to sandPoor rot resistance
No taste or smell 
Good decay resistance 

As you can see Elm wood is filled with lots of exceptional qualities which make it perfect for any kind of furniture.

Elm is popular in the furniture manufacturing industry because of its qualities.

Is Elm Good for Indoor Furniture?

Yes, elm is great for indoor furniture because it is a beautiful, odor-free, strong, and dense wood type. Elm wood has interlocked grain pattern that adds a unique look to your indoor furniture, and it makes the wood spilled resistant and extremely durable.

Elm wood has a color range from reddish brown to a light hue.

The color of Elm wood mixes with a dramatic grain pattern and makes a stunning look that is perfect for interior furniture.

Woodworkers are trying to mimic the appearance of Elm wood because the original one is a bit expensive.

The reason for the expensiveness of indoor elm furniture is because of the rarity of the wood.

Elm woods are hard to find because they are susceptible to insect attacks and finding good, quality wood is hard.

Even though elm furniture is placed inside, I highly recommend you do proper finishing by applying stain or paint.

For example, if you use elm for kitchen or bathroom furniture, the raw wood absorbs moisture fast and tends to decay or rot.

Therefore, sealing and finishing Elm wood furniture is a must to extend its lifetime.

Proper finishing helps to increase the durability of elm furniture.

Plus, elm takes stains and paints so well. So, finishing elm furniture is easy.

Elm wood Indoor Furniture

  • Dining tables
  • Chairs
  • Decorative panels
  • Window frames
  • Bed frames
  • Bookshelves
  • Bathroom shelves
  • Drawers

As you can see elm is useful for any interior furniture. So, let’s see how it goes with exterior furniture.

Is Elm Good for Outdoor Furniture?

Elm is not moderately good for outdoor furniture only with proper finishing because elm is prone to fungi and insect attacks, has no rot resistance, and you need to apply a proper sealer over elm furniture before pacing it outside.

With proper finishing, elm furniture can easily withstand environmental elements such as moisture, UV light, insects, bugs, and fungi attacks.

There’re so many methods you can follow to protect elm furniture from outdoor elements.

Elm is a soft hardwood. The pore structure of Elm wood consists of straight or wavy tangled bands.

Atmospheric moisture can penetrate through Elm wood fibers and damage the wood which causes wood to rot.

Staining is the best method to protect elm outdoor furniture because elm takes stain so well to make a nice protective coating that acts as a barrier to the outside world.

Moisture will get no chance to penetrate through the barrier and damage the wood.

Elm does not split easily. It has excellent shock absorbance. When it gets into contact with water, it does not quickly decay with water.

Elm has good decay resistance compared to other woods. Therefore, elm is mostly used for boat building.

Even though Elm wood has good decay resistance, it has no rot resistance. It is prone to insects, bugs, and fungi attacks.

But Elm wood tends to deform and warp quickly according to the outdoor moisture level and extreme temperature changes.

This can reduce the dimensional stability of elm outdoor furniture. But by applying a proper finisher, you’ll be able to keep Elm wood from warping.  

Elm wood is easy to sand, and you can make any outdoor furniture with it. It is overall a beautiful hardwood with superior qualities.

Danish oil is an excellent finisher for Elm wood furniture to get its true rich and warm color.


Elm is a moderately expensive wood with poor resistance to decay. It is prone to insect and fungi attacks. Even though you’ll be able to minimize its drawbacks by applying a proper finisher, without regular maintenance Elm wood will be ruined so quickly.

Therefore, I recommend you consider better wood like cedar, white oak, or pine rather than Elm wood when it comes to outdoor furniture.

Elm wood Outdoor Furniture

  • Patio
  • Garden coffee table
  • Outdoor seats
  • Patio dining chair

Elm wood Furniture Care and Maintenance

Elm wood furniture needs regular maintenance and proper caring. Elm wood is prone to insect and fungi attacks.

So, to maintain Elm wood shine and prolong its life proper caring is a must. Here’s what you should do,

  1. Apply proper sealer periodically
  2. Oil the elm furniture periodically
  3. Clean Elm furniture regularly
  4. Keep away from extreme cold and heat

So, let’s discuss each of the above methods separately to get an idea about things you should do before using Elm wood as a furniture material.

1. Apply Proper Sealer Periodically

Elm wood takes stains and paints so well. With proper sealing and sealing, you’ll be able to use elm for any indoor or outdoor woodworking project.

The protective sealer helps the wood to get protected from insect attacks, fungi attacks, moisture, and other environmental elements.

Make sure to reapply the sealer periodically because once the sealer fades away with time, there’s a possibility of to wood getting damaged by outside elements. Reapply sealer on elm furniture once per year for better maintenance.

By staining and painting, Elm wood not only gets protected but also helps to increase its appearance with beautiful shades.

Apart from using stain or paints, you can seal elm furniture using a quality sealing product as well.

Here’re the steps you need to follow when sealing elm furniture for a better finish,

  1. Clean the wood and scrape out previous coatings and residue
  2. Sand the Elm wood and remove sawdust
  3. Apply pre-stain wood conditioner and let it dry and cure
  4. Apply wood stain or sealer
  5. Let the wood dry and cure properly

Apply 2 – 3 coats of stain or sealer on elm furniture for a better finish. The drying time of stain on Elm wood is around 2 – 3 hours.

Let the coats dry properly before applying another coating on top of that to avoid blotches and other wood stain mistakes.

2. Oil the Elm Furniture Periodically

Apply Danish oil on elm furniture to avoid cracks, and scratches and enhance the sheen.

Danish is a quality oil that works as a sealer with lots of benefits. It is a waterproof oil that helps elm furniture to get protected from moisture.

Usually, elm furniture is difficult to dry and deforms its original shape when drying. This will lose its dimensional stability and reduce its durability.

But by applying Danish oil, it will dry faster within 6 hours and prevent elm furniture from deforming.

Danish oil is food safe and non-toxic, not like stains. By applying it to elm furniture, you’ll be able to use elm furniture for kitchen utensils and children’s toys as well.

Apply Danish oil periodically at least once per year for better care of elm furniture.

3. Clean Elm Furniture Regularly

Clean elm furniture regularly to get rid of dust and dirt. Without proper cleaning, your elm furniture will turn into dull color and its durability will also decrease over time.

Because water particles in dirt penetrate through Elm wood fibers and make wood rot.

Follow the below steps to clean elm furniture properly,

  1. Dip a soft, lint-free cloth in soapy water solution and wipe the entire Elm wood surface to eliminate dust and dirt.
  2. Make sure not to miss any spots during cleaning and follow sweeping motions for better cleaning.
  3. After cleaning the wood properly, let it dry under sunlight to dry completely.

4. Keep Away from Extreme Cold and Heat

Keep your elm furniture away from harsh weather conditions like extremely hot or cold temperatures.

Elm wood is soft and sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

Elm wood tends to expand when it is heated and shrink when cold. Continuous temperature fluctuations can damage the dimensional stability of elm furniture and reduce its lifetime.

  • Keep your outdoor and indoor elm furniture away from getting direct sunlight. Because sunlight can darken the Elm wood.
  • Cover Elm wood furniture when it’s extremely hot or cold to protect it.

That’s it, folks! Now you have a clear idea about using Elm wood for furniture.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about using Elm wood for furniture.

Is Elm a Good Wood for Dining Table?

Yes, elm is an excellent wood for a dining table because it is moderately heavy and strong.

It turns and screws so well and is able to hold nails. Elm wood is beautiful, and its interlocking grain pattern helps to get protected from moisture and it has good resistance against decay.

Elm wood is resistant to splitting and it has good shock resistance. Therefore, the Elm wood dining table has high durability.

With regular maintenance, you’ll be able to keep your elm dining table as fresh as new for a long time.

Is Elm wood Waterproof?

Elm wood is not waterproof, but it has good water resistance because of the interlocking grain pattern.

Therefore, Elm wood is decay resistant and able to use for moisture woodworking applications like bathroom furniture and kitchen furniture.

Because of having a good resistance against water, Elm wood is popular in boat building.

Does Elm Rot Easily?

Yes, Elm wood rots easily because it is susceptible to insect, fungi, and bug attacks.

Elm does not have natural bugs repel ability like cedar. Therefore, you need to apply proper finishing over elm furniture to get the furniture protected from rotting.

Is Elm Furniture Affordable?

Generally, Elm furniture is moderately expensive because of the difficulties faced when finding quality Elm wood.

Elm wood is prone to insect attacks and finding quality wood is a difficult task. Therefore, Elm wood is rare, and the price is also high.

Apart from that Elm wood is beautiful and able to add a unique aesthetic look to your home, work area, or garden.

Is Elm wood Hardwood?

Elm wood is a soft hardwood with a Janka hardness rating of 830 lbf which is relatively less than most of the hardwoods and some of the softwoods as well. But it comes from a hardwood tree family.

Therefore, elm soft hardwood has hybrid qualities of both hardwoods and softwoods which can be really useful in when furniture manufacturing industry.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Elm wood Good for Furniture?

In this article, we have deeply explored is Elm wood good for furniture, examples of Elm wood furniture, the pros and cons of using Elm wood for furniture, how to protect Elm wood furniture with regular maintenance, and caring with tips and techniques.

Overall, Elm wood is an excellent wood for furniture. It has good split resistance, water resistant and durability to get protected from environmental elements. When using Elm wood for outdoor furniture, you need to focus more on the finishing part because Elm wood is prone to rotting due to insect and fungi attacks. Other than that elm is so good to use for any kind of furniture.

Furthermore, I have answered some frequently asked questions as well. Hope you have gained good knowledge about, is Elm wood good for furniture with tips and methods.

Let’s begin your next woodworking project with Elm wood and practice with it. Practice makes you perfect in woodworking!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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