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.
- 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.