Carving Ash

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by danriffle posted 03-19-2009 04:33 PM 10885 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View danriffle's profile


73 posts in 3995 days

03-19-2009 04:33 PM

Does anyone have experience carving ash? I had a few billets given to me and was wondering if it would be suitable for carving or turning. Otherwise, I’ll probably try slabbing it on the bandsaw.

Dan in WV

14 replies so far

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 03-20-2009 05:14 AM

I’ve made canoe paddles out of ash. Does that count as carving? If I remember correctly there are easier woods to work with. Ash is very hard. I’m currently making a paddle out of cedar and it cuts like butter.

View danriffle's profile


73 posts in 3995 days

#2 posted 03-20-2009 02:40 PM

How do you shape your paddles? I’ll do rough carving with aggressive rasps, then files and chisels to form the more finished shapes.

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3857 days

#3 posted 03-20-2009 05:32 PM

I work often with ash, and it turns and finishes wonderfully! Its a great wood, hard but not too hard, and smells like olive oil when you work it (at least the European Ash here does, as I believe it is related to the olive tree) anyway, turning with is really nice and it even though it is a openpored wood, it still with a sharp tool and a little of fine sanding, gets real smooth and makes great tool handles. I made a couple of mallets and fence post driving mallets out of ash on the lathe as well as salt and pepper shakers. Its great for bending and form gluing too! or even Bow building, if you are someone who enjoys archery.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

968 posts in 3815 days

#4 posted 03-20-2009 05:46 PM

The wood is great, is used for spindles and legs in chairmaking, so will be good at the lathe.
I tryed once Letter Carving and was not bad, even don’t having the proper chisels.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4519 days

#5 posted 03-20-2009 06:24 PM

As far as carving Ash, it’s a little chippy so you have to take off thin shavings and avoid carving small objects—if you’re using hand tools.

I’m making a quilt rack from Ash and want to carve something on the sides. I took a scrap piece and attempted to carve a heart and some leaves in it. I noticed that carving larger objects like the heart was easier but the smaller objects allowed more chipping. This is because the smaller objects require faster radius’s on small weaker items.

Other than that it isn’t that difficult with the right technique.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View Rob 's profile


216 posts in 4089 days

#6 posted 03-21-2009 06:09 AM


I shape my paddles with planes, a spokeshave, a scraper, and a rasp. What is it that you are carving?


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4721 days

#7 posted 04-06-2009 05:49 PM

I think it’s great wood for carving.

I’ve carved a number of things in ash.

Check out this Windsor chair. Which is one item I remember.

Click for details

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View danriffle's profile


73 posts in 3995 days

#8 posted 04-06-2009 07:56 PM

Thanks for all the good info and your experiences everyone.


I’m a very amateur carver, so I’m mostly working on shapes/forms (abstractions). I’m also doing some animal and human forms, so it’s “artsy” and not as practical as furniture, which I’m more experienced at. But it’s fun!

Dan in WV

View tjfromgreenbay's profile


1 post in 3226 days

#9 posted 09-21-2010 03:24 PM

I acquired some old floor posts and beams from a 120 year old farm house. They are made of ash and I had them milled down into 3×8x4’ lengths. I am currently working on carving one into a long bowl/trough. LOL…I have used my router and new chisel set on this project. VERy Very hard wood. Looks beautiful sanded/stained but my goodness its taken a while.

View Jonnyfurniture's profile


59 posts in 3249 days

#10 posted 09-25-2010 02:46 AM

Try a coarse rasp and then cabinet rasps # 49 or 50 for organic forms will work well. The carbide burrs made for flexshaft carvers work fast.

View Bobmedic's profile


382 posts in 3223 days

#11 posted 09-25-2010 07:17 AM

There are these little green bugs that do a great job carving ash here in Michigan lol.

View tommyd's profile


77 posts in 3554 days

#12 posted 09-26-2010 04:45 AM

I just finished turning a bowl from a piece of ash. It was a little wet yet but it turned like cutting butter was really surprised how easy it was to turn. also finished up really nice.

-- Life is too short for negative drama & petty things. So laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly!

View Josh D.'s profile

Josh D.

1 post in 3223 days

#13 posted 09-26-2010 05:51 AM

I am fairly new to turning. I have only done a few small pieces, mostly for getting warmed up. However I did get a piece of ash last year that I turned into a regulation size baseball bat. It turned fairly easy. Even with my dull turning tools. I’d definetly do something with it. I’ve found that using natural pieces is more challenging but the reward can be great. Even if you scrap the piece because of a flaw, the learning can be priceless.

-- ~Whatever it takes~

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3666 days

#14 posted 09-26-2010 05:58 AM

Ash is a great wood for carving. If you check out my projects, you’ll see a bird that I carved from ash. The lamp body is also ash, since it turns great too. I’ve made rocking chairs, dining room chairs, a bench with ball-and-claw feet, and all of my kitchen cabinets from ash. It is wonderful for bending and readily accepts stains. Two thumbs up for ash. Have fun…......

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics