Ash is a wood with many important qualities that appeal to furniture makers and people who appreciate fine furniture. As you’ll see, our makers use it in a wide variety of furniture types as a result.
Firstly, ash is extremely durable, especially in its ability to absorb shock, which is why it’s used to make baseball bats and the handles for many tools that need to take a lot of abuse. Because of this utility, it is very suitable for furniture that may take a lot of bumps, such as an entertainment center or furniture that is frequently moved.
Secondly, even though it is quite durable, it still responds well to steam bending and carving. It’s hardness doesn’t stop (and may actually help!) its ability to be worked into a variety of shapes.
Finally, ash wood has a color that either gives a look similar to lighter brown woods, or it can be much lighter to provide contrast in furniture that features darker wood, as we will see. There is a clear distinction between white ash with wide, light-colored space between the growth rings, and black ash, with a more brown color and closer, darker rings. The type can be chosen to create a specific finished look.
Chest of Drawers
In the first piece, we see ash used in the drawer boxes for two of its most prominent qualities: color and durability. First is a look at the walnut exterior (in black and white).
But with the drawers open we can see the vibrancy of the ash color popping through. A very nice contrast with the dark walnut exterior.
Because the interior space is ash, it not only looks good, it will also last for generations, making it a fantastic heirloom.
Low Post Bed
Here’s a bed in which the posts are made from ash, as requested by the client who ordered this particular bed.
A detailed look at a foot post.
And a closer look at a head post and the attachment of the headboard.
Console Table with Drawers
Here’s another example from Dave Hurwitz, showing the color variations of ash, other woods, and other materials. Notice the four distinct colors in this piece, including the different color ash woods of the drawers and the legs.
A detail of the drawers, in which you can see the contrast between the dark stone drawer pulls, the light colored ash drawers, and the darker reddish cherry top.
Below you can see the figure of the cherry top and how it contrasts with the rest of the piece.
Bubinga and Ash Triangle Side Tables
In this example, it’s Ray Finan playing with color in this pair of modern side tables. The nice, clean simple shapes allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through.
New Waltham Side Chair
Speaking of color, here’s a different combination of white ash and a nice, rich, red cherry color. The accents really make this elegant chair pop, making it a conversation starter in any home.
Walnut Burl and Ash End Table
Another example of the beautiful contrast of walnut with white ash. This piece was based on a taller pedestal table that Hurwitz made in the past, but this time the woods of the base and the top were changed to create this amazing piece.
Here’s a look at the maple burl top with amazing figure. While it isn’t ash, it deserves a look anyway!
And here is the detail of the base, where you can see the widely spaced rings and how Hurwitz carves the wood with the curved shape of the grain to beautiful effect. From top to bottom, this piece is a work of art.
This is a part of a series showcasing our Guild members’ work by examining how certain species of wood are used to craft fine furniture. Note that many of these pieces may also be made with different woods. Please look through our blog for more beautiful furniture to see just what can be done with each distinct kind of wood.