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Thread: Is Elm any good for furniture?

  1. #1
    Rob Will Guest

    Is Elm any good for furniture?

    In another thread, the question came up as to whether or not Elm is any good for furniture making. Jim suggested that I do a SMC search but so far, I have not found anything about using Elm.

    Anyone know of any links, posts or have any experience with Elm?

    Rob

    (Thanks Jim)

  2. #2
    Rob,

    I have used a bit of it that I milled myself - some on my Jet 18" bandsaw and some with a chainsaw mill.

    It moves alot while drying. It is very strong and tough. The color is brown and the grain similar to ash. I was using some just this past weekend and observed that quartersawn elm is more pleasant looking than plainsawn.

    If you have access to some elm, why not give it a try?

    Ted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,286
    I have heard that it isn't. Not terribly stable. Moves a lot. I asked because we're going to take an elm down sometime this year, and was wondering about getting lumber out of it.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Inlet, NY (beautiful Adirondacks)
    Posts
    233
    ditto on the movement issue. Very pretty wood, but customers complain it moves too much for furniture. Had a floor made of the wood buckle during a very humid summer.

  5. #5
    I mostly lurk here. But I have done a lot with red elm. It needs to be stickered closely and air dried with lots of weight on it. It does move a lot. On the other hand IMHO it works great and turns well. And it takes a great clear finish. never stained any Once it is dry and made into furniture it does well. I have stuff made that sets in my wood heated house durning the summer and hot during the summer and it shows no sign of coming apart. ITs a little hard on blades

    Anyway I like it and would like to find some more. I'm about out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Tyler, Texas
    Posts
    1,603
    I've never used it for furniture (only turnings) but I sawed this up from some short logs I had laying behind the shop. They came from a tree that got blown down last spring during a storm.

    I hope to use them on Krenov-type cabinet doors when they are dry.
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    Cody


    He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    4,237
    Red elm is beautiful wood IMHO. It has the contrast of oak and ash, but has a secondary "ghost" grain similar to what hackberry has. It is prone to some movement, but if you let it acclimate before dimensioning it helps alot. I actually planed it, let it acclimate for a couple of days, then dimension to final...no issues. It's a stalky stringy wood that tends for fuzz more than most woods when cut, but it's also very strong.

    I made two nightstands last fall that have have been fine so far.


    Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

  8. #8
    Rob Will Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by scott spencer
    Red elm is beautiful wood IMHO. It has the contrast of oak and ash, but has a secondary "ghost" grain similar to what hackberry has. It is prone to some movement, but if you let it acclimate before dimensioning it helps alot. I actually planed it, let it acclimate for a couple of days, then dimension to final...no issues. It's a stalky stringy wood that tends for fuzz more than most woods when cut, but it's also very strong.

    I made two nightstands last fall that have have been fine so far.
    Very Nice Scott!
    Do you have a section of that work that is quartersawn?
    We would like to see that too.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  9. #9
    Another red elm fan. BLO really brings out its unique color, and it finishes nicely. I just wish it was more readily available. When you can find it, it's usually around $2bf in these parts.

    It does have the tendency to react when machined - sometimes bows easily. It used to be the wood of choice for hockey sticks which tells you something about the "springiness" that shows up when it's planed.

    I would think quartersawn red elm would be very attractive, although I haven't seen it.

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