Welcome back to the three-piece blog series! Over the last couple of weeks, I've covered all there is to know about oak and walnut wood, and this week's blog is the last of the series, all about ash.
Ash is a light-coloured, smooth-grained hardwood, and it is one of the three hardwoods we can use to craft our handmade kitchens.
Firstly, let's understand more about ash trees themselves!
The third most common tree in Britain is an ash tree, with is also native to Europe, Asia Minor and Africa. When fully grown, ash trees can grow as tall as 35m and often grow together to form a domed canopy. You can quickly identify an ash tree by its pale brown or grey fissures as it ages or in the winter by its smooth twigs and black, velvety leaf buds.
There are three main types of ash trees:
European ash: Grown in Europe and South Western Asia
White ash: Grown in the Eastern U.S and recognised by its light brown colour.
Black ash: Grown in the Northeastern U.S and Canada, the black ash is slightly darker in colour and less dense than white ash.
Now, let's explore how ash is used in woodworking...
Woodworkers have been using ash timber for years because it is one of the toughest hardwoods that can absorb shocks without splintering. These properties make it an ideal wood for many manual and daily objects, such as handles for many sports equipment and hand-held tools, including hammers, axes, hockey sticks and spades. Of course, these properties, paired with its gorgeous light colour, also make it an attractive wood for furniture, which is why we can use it in crafting your handmade kitchens.
Do you want to know some more fascinating facts?
Ash trees can live for hundreds of years, 400 to be exact and even longer if the tree is coppiced. Once coppiced, the stems are commonly used for firewood. However, what I found especially interesting is that in the 19th Century, ash was used to construct carriages and is still used in transportation today, with the Morgan Motor Company growing ash to make the frames for its cars. Morgan Motors' research shows that the wooden frame makes its cars safer than conventional steel frames on impact tests. Impressive, isn't it?
After all the talk about how ash is used in transportation, you may wonder how we incorporate ash into our kitchen design.
Due to ash being a hardwood, the same as oak and walnut in my two previous blogs, we don't use it throughout the whole kitchen design because the properties of hardwoods mean they are more prone to warp and crack. However, we would use ash for the drawer boxes, frameworks and other smaller elements where it won't warp. The kitchen carcass has a larger surface area meaning it will slowly distort over time, which is why we choose to veneer our carcasses. Veneering is a thin sheet of hardwood stuck to engineered material to create the aesthetic of hardwood.
The final result is a sturdy kitchen that still has beautiful touches, such as ash. The best of both worlds, right?
With ash wood's excellent durability, making it a long-term investment and its gorgeous grain and light colour, it is a popular choice in kitchen design.
I hope you've enjoyed learning all about the three hardwoods we can use in the handmaking of our kitchens, and I look forward to venturing more into the behind-the-scenes of Minerva.