The heartwood ash is a light to medium brown color. Sapwood can be very wide, and tends to be a beige or light brown; not always clearly or sharply demarcated from heartwood. The ash wood has a medium to coarse texture similar to oak. The grain is almost always straight and regular, though sometimes moderately curly or figured boards can be found.
A Ash machines well, is good in nailing, screwing and gluing, and can be stained to an excellent finish. It dries fairly quickly with minimal degrade, and there is little movement in performance. Ash has excellent overall strength properties relative to its weight. It has excellent shock resistance and is suitable for steam bending.
Ash trees all belong to the genus Fraxinus. Several species grow in Europe, but the white ash is the favorite for construction and woodworking. The lumber industry has used white ash in flooring, furniture, cabinets, and sports to make hockey sticks and baseball bats. White ash is suitable for woodworking, whether you use hand tools or a machine to cut and work it. It responds well to steam bending and copes well with being glued, stained, or finished. It's an affordable wood, often priced comparably to oak. White ash wood is durable for its weight, but it has no particular resistance to rot or insects.
Ash was often used for spear shafts or handles for weapons. The English name Ash may have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Asec which is the name for a ritualistic spear. It was also a folklore tradition that Snakes could not bear to be near an Ash tree or a woodcut from an Ash. In Irish folklore, if shadows were cast upon Ash trees' crops, it was though the crops would be ruined. At many of the sacred wells in Ireland, Ash stumps have been found, which suggest its association with healing/wishing well and well-dressing traditions. In British folklore, the ash was credited with a range of protective and healing properties, most frequently related to child health. Newborn babies were popularly given a teaspoon of ash sap. Ailing children, especially those suffering from rupture or weak limbs, would be passed naked through a cleft in an ash tree or ash sapling, to cure them. The cleft was often specifically made for the purpose and bound together again after the ceremony to heal over as the child also healed. Some folklore then suggested an intimate bond between the welfare and fate of the now related tree and person, with harm to the tree, is reflected in the healed person's life, leading people to become understandably protective of 'their' ash tree.