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Grey Elm

Grey Elm

 Shop Specialty Wood 

Family: Ulmaceae.

Latin Name: Ulmus Americana.

Origin: Eastern to Midwestern United States.

Common Names: American Elm, Soft Elm, Grey Elm, White Elm.

The Tree (characteristics): The American Elm tree is a tall tree that has been known to grow up to 80 feet tall with a trunk that is 2 to 3 feet in diameter. The trunk of the tree can be buttressed at times. When the tree is growing in the open, the trunk often divides into large limbs near the ground that creates a broad, vase-shaped form. The bark is light gray in color with deeply furrowed, scaly ridges. The leaves are alternate, elliptical in shape with toothed edges. The texture is rough and sandpaper-like on top and slightly hairy underneath.

Appearance of Wood: The sapwood is white but is prone to fungal blue stain making the wood appear darker. The heartwood is light brown with hints of red at times.

Density: Average reported specific gravity ranges from .47 to .56 with an average dried weight of 35 pounds per cubic foot. Janka Hardness is 830 pounds of force.

Drying and Shrinkage: Due to the interlocked grain pattern it is difficult to dry American Elm. The wood tends to warp if not dried properly stacked and weighted to prevent the wood from warping. American Elm has a high shrinkage rate with average shrinkage values at 4.2% radial, 9.5% tangential, 14.6% volumetric.

Working Properties: American Elm is difficult to work with due to its interlocked grain. It does, however, glue, stain, and finish well. Once American Elm is dried it has excellent steam-bending properties and water-resistant properties.

Durability: American Elm has no resistance to wood decay. Living American Elm trees are susceptible to Dutch Elm disease.

Uses: American Elm can be used to make fine furniture, chair seats and parts, decorative paneling, stair treads and finish millwork projects. It can also be used for boxes, barrels, crates, and caskets.

Availability: Although American Elm wood is threatened by Dutch Elm disease the lumber is still available at moderately high prices.