Ashes to Ashes

I’ve been working a lot with Ash timber recently (Common Ash, Fraxinus Excelsior) and it’s lovely stuff.  One of its noted properties – appropriately enough given its name – is that it burns well, even when freshly cut.  It also bends really well if you treat it right.  I’m bending it like Beckham to make some large curves for a new piece of furniture.  You might be amazed what you can do with it if you apply the right know-how and techniques.

In the meantime here’s a random selection of interesting Ash facts.

  • The body frame of Volvo’s first ever car, the OV4, was made from Ash.

    volvo ov4 frame

    volvo ov4 frame in Ash

  • Talking of things Scandinavian, the Ash tree is central to the Norse creation myth, with a single tree, Yggdrasil, standing at the centre of the universe with its roots in the underworld and its canopy brushing heaven.  Odin carved the first man from its wood.
  • And talking of myths, it was once believed that passing a sick child through the cleft of an Ash tree would cure it.
  • Because it’s so strong and resistant to impact it’s used for a lot of sporting goods like hockey and shinty sticks.
  • The folks who know such things tell us that Ash makes up about 5.5% of Britain’s trees.  Sadly the spread of Ash die-back will almost certainly make a huge dent in that number.  A small number of resistant trees are being found though, so there’s hope that those can be used to breed a more resistant population in general.  Fingers crossed.