Elm - any good for woodworking?

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Forum topic by Fiddy posted 05-09-2019 10:47 PM 798 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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230 posts in 2316 days

05-09-2019 10:47 PM

Unfortunately I identified last year that I am losing elm trees and this year I’ve identified just how many and it’s rather upsetting. It’s what I believe is called Dutch Elm Disease and it’s another pesky insect causing all this damage.

My question is has anyone worked with Elm, is it a decent wood to work with? Haven’t yet even googled it as I’m sure there’s something out there. Thought I’d start here to see what everyone’s thoughts were. If it is good, I have a ton of potential lumber so I’m hoping I can put this wood to good use.

7 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile


5949 posts in 3357 days

#1 posted 05-09-2019 10:49 PM

Yes, it is a very decent hardwood, traditionally used for chair seats.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fiddy's profile


230 posts in 2316 days

#2 posted 05-09-2019 11:17 PM

Did some reading on it just now. Any feedback on flat sawn vs. quartersawn?

View CWWoodworking's profile


1489 posts in 1185 days

#3 posted 05-09-2019 11:32 PM

Flat sawn is too “squirrely” for me. Quarter sawn looks almost like snake skin to me. It’s fine in small doses.

If you want to see some nice examples, there are some Amish furniture companies out there using it.

Trailway makes some pretty nice dining room. I don’t think there on line though. Daniels Amish uses it I think. They are on line.

Personally I wouldn’t be all that thrilled, but that’s just preference.

View ibewjon's profile


2261 posts in 3799 days

#4 posted 05-10-2019 03:04 AM

The elm furniture I have seen in Amish stores looks great. Nice color. I have orders to friends to save me any decent logs they get. Not sure on quarter compared to flat sawn.

View Woodknack's profile


13549 posts in 3386 days

#5 posted 05-10-2019 03:31 AM

Going by memory, elm has interlocked grain and resists splitting very well so it works well in chairs, mallets, wheels, anything that takes abuse.

-- Rick M,

View EarlS's profile


4292 posts in 3354 days

#6 posted 05-10-2019 11:24 AM

+1 – bondo

Lots of elm showing up at the sawyer due to the dutch elm disease. I have used it occasionally and it works fairly well and finishes nicely as well.

He also mentioned there will be a lot more ash resulting from the emerald ash borer.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3482 days

#7 posted 05-10-2019 11:26 AM

The spiral grain in elm makes drying flatsawn lumber a challenge. Flatsawn elm tends to warp and twist, and the lossof quality in drying can be significant. Quartersawn is much more stable and easier to dry flatter. If I saw it, I tend to saw it a mite thick so that I can deal with the warp and twist.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

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