If you pay attention to trees or you like woodworking, you're probably aware of the ash tree crisis caused by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle. (If you're not, this blog can catch you up quickly.) In an nutshell, this pest has devastated ash trees across the nation. Some have been saved with treatments, but most are not treated.
Hoppe's Urban Wood Lab is giving a second life to these beautiful shade trees by turning them into kiln-dried live-edge slabs and dimensional lumber available for purchase at the Urban Wood Lab Store. Our customers have created some incredible pieces from ash!
The Urban Wood Lab always has a wide selection of ash slabs, lumber and rounds in stock, plus
some interesting ash mantel beams. Take our quiz to find out how much you know about this amazing wood:
True or false: Ash trees were an important resource in early American times.
True. Settlers crafted many everyday items from ash trees, including timber, axes, arrows and slingshots, wagon wheels, furniture, bowls and spoons, and oars. The frames of early cars and experimental aircraft were also made from ash. Ash trees in natural forests grew tall and skinny toward the sunlight, with less branching off and fewer knots.
True or false: The primary impact of ash dieback due to emerald ash borer is in urban areas, where ash trees were planted for their fast growth rate and large canopy.
False: Ash trees are a vital part of the entire ecosystem. In North America, frogs, birds and about 40 native insect species rely on ash trees for food, breeding or shelter. Other animals rely on these as part of the food chain. Increased sunlight on the forest floor due to dying ash trees gives a foothold to invasive plants. Decaying ash trees can alter soil pH, mineral concentration, and soil moisture, affecting the resources other forest trees need.
True or false: As a woodworking resource, urban ash is similar to forest-grown ash.
Trick question! While the same species of ash grow in urban areas and forests, urban trees develop very differently than forest-grown trees. They have more room to spread outwards, and this branching off is one cause of the knots, cracks and gaps found in urban ash live-edge slabs. Another difference is the frequent presence of metal in urban trees – hooks for clotheslines, tackle for swings, nails for treehouses, address signs, bullets – to name a few. The development of urban trees and presence of metal cause “defects” which give live-edge slabs their unique character.
Think about choosing ash for your next woodworking or home reno project. You can check out our inventory online, or stop in the Urban Wood Lab Store to see this wood and talk over your project. For store hours and location, visit www.theurbanwoodlab.com.