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Difference in wood colour..?

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Distinterior

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I finished a kitchen for a Client recently and they have asked me if I can make them a small kitchen table to go in the room.

I showed them a small section of what I believe to be Ash (small piece in my picture) that was felled locally. The Client liked the pale colour and it will fit in well with the room setting.
I have found someone selling well seasoned Ash locally and he has kindly allowed me to take a section away to show my Client.

I ran it through my P/T this morning and when I've put the 2 pieces side by side, the colour is different.

Is there more than 1 species of Ash tree indigenous to the UK and if so, what species does everyone think I have...?

20200716_090417.jpg


Thanks, Tim.
 

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Woody2Shoes

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They both look like ash. Your smaller piece looks like it came from a smaller, younger tree. There are a lot of ash trees being felled at the moment that have, or are thought to have, chalara 'ash dieback'.

There are almost certainly genetic variations from one example of Fraxinus Excelsior to another - thank goodness, otherwise they'd all succumb to chalara. I've noticed that ash trees in the north show a different growth 'habit' - although ostensibly genetically the same, I believe.

My experience is that ash - like most wood - changes colour with age and exposure to UV. There is also a considerable natural variation in colour, relating to the way the tree lived and the timber was processed (also the effect of fungi during life/processing).
 

Distinterior

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The smaller piece came out of a log that was 14" Dia......The larger piece did indeed come from a much larger tree!

I have used a section of the 14" log to turn a bowl from. It was "Green" when I rough turned it and I am waiting for it to get down to a more usable M/C before I finish turn it. It is the same colour currently as the small piece in my picture.

Do you think this new section will lighten up given enough time to be similar to the other or would I be better of searching for an alternative...?

Edit.
Yes, they do both smell the same......The wife has just caught me sniffing wood,....She thinks I'm losing the plot! :D
 

Woody2Shoes

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Distinterior":3g4mvzr2 said:
The smaller piece came out of a log that was 14" Dia......The larger piece did indeed come from a much larger tree!

I have used a section of the 14" log to turn a bowl from. It was "Green" when I rough turned it and I am waiting for it to get down to a more usable M/C before I finish turn it. It is the same colour currently as the small piece in my picture.

Do you think this new section will lighten up given enough time to be similar to the other or would I be better of searching for an alternative...?
I think that even if you colour matched now, there might not be a colour match in future - just "bcoz timber". I think your client needs to appreciate that wood is a natural material, with natural variations and that's part of its charm. I think that ash is an excellent timber (I made my kitchen out of it) and much more "sustainable" than something that's come out of a rainforest and been shipped thousands of miles by burning bunker oil. I think either piece would make furniture to be proud of.
 

Distinterior

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I agree with your sentiment there W2S.

Both the bowl and potentially this table are my first foray into using Ash (apart from a few new chisel handles I made from the original 14" log) and I do like working with it.

I am just concerned that this potential new wood is going to be too "Red" for her room, especially after I initially showed her the smaller piece and she liked it.......

Edit.
I haven't done a M/C test on this new piece yet.....If it was still high, is it likely to lighten up as it dries? Or, is it the opposite......The 14" log I've got was only felled about 6 months ago, whereas the timber I looked at yesterday and brought a sample away with me was felled about 3 years ago, was cut into wide planks and is still currently "In Stick" coz I had to dig around in the pile to get my piece out.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Distinterior":3a9bibhe said:
I haven't done a M/C test on this new piece yet.....If it was still high, is it likely to lighten up as it dries?
Unlikely, I think.

The 'redness' ages to browner/yellower and is less noticeable with finish on (which might be worth trying as a 'sampler' anyway).

If your client's looking for paler wood (which again will age browner/yellower) then sycamore might be a nice alternative?
 

samhay

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I've come across quite a lot of ash as it is popular as the body for electric guitars. It usually looks like the bigger piece of timber you have there.
I can't imagine your timber will lighten as it dries and I wonder if the smaller piece you have is sapwood. Did you see the timber from the heart of that tree?
 

Sgian Dubh

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Distinterior":2omc2e0l said:
I have found someone selling well seasoned Ash locally and he has kindly allowed me to take a section away to show my Client.
I ran it through my P/T this morning and when I've put the 2 pieces side by side, the colour is different.
Is there more than 1 species of Ash tree indigenous to the UK and if so, what species does everyone think I have...?
Thanks, Tim.
They're both ash going by the appearance, and the main ash species native to Europe is Fraxinus excelsior. It's more than possible that American or Japanese ash can be found growing here in the UK and the rest of Europe, most likely in arboretums and similar locations, but neither species are common, so unlikely to be found within European sourced material. American ash is imported in quite large quantities, but I can't ever recall coming across Japanese ash for sale here. And there are certainly ash sub-species out there such as green ash, blue ash, Oregon ash, and so on.

So, given the above, and if we assume that your samples are both truly European ash, Fraxinus excelsior, the cause of colour and texture differences is almost certainly down to the normal factors of small genetic differences between one sample and the other, along with other factors such as geographical location of each tree, soil type, weather and climate, and so on.

In other words if you want or need very white ash for this additional project it will come down to picking through a pile of the stuff as you buy it to take out only those boards that meet your criteria. One potential alternative would be to use whatever rises off the pile to make the project, and then bleach the end result. This latter strategy is less likely to be completely satisfactory because bleaching more often than not leaves the wood somewhat yellow rather than bright white. Slainte.
 

Distinterior

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Thanks for the information Richard.

I know for certain that both the 2 aforementioned trees were grown locally as I was told by both parties where the 2 trees had been felled (only about a mile from each other by pure coincidence).

I have now shown the larger piece to the Client..... and she actually prefers the colour to the original sample that I showed her.....Result!!

I've now got a template to make for the 4 legs as the finished table is going to have shaped legs, Ercol Style !

I've got plenty of wood for the frame (legs, rails & styles) as the table top is going to be Corian Lava Rock.

Thanks for all the advice Gents.

Tim.
 

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Woody2Shoes":3fsnacex said:
PS as a general rule, all timber goes darker over time.
Cherry doesn't. Mansonia doesn't. And many others I suspect. All you can say in a 'general rule' is that wood is photochromic.
 

Woody2Shoes

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ArferMo":1rx9wl05 said:
Woody2Shoes":1rx9wl05 said:
PS as a general rule, all timber goes darker over time.
Cherry doesn't. Mansonia doesn't. And many others I suspect. All you can say in a 'general rule' is that wood is photochromic.
Thinking a bit more about this, I suspect that darker timbers tend to lighten, and lighter timbers tend to darken. Most of the (non-exotic) timbers we encounter in the UK are at the paler end of the spectrum to start with.

A big complicating factor of course is that a lot the wood we see has finish on it - which is photochromic(!) itself with UV exposure.

I've never worked with cherry (and I don't think I've ever seen monsonia!) but this article suggests that it does darken with age:

https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworkin ... r-changing

An interesting link here re. sun-bleached mahogany:

https://www.peter-hall.co.uk/project/too-much-sun/

Cheers, W2S
 

Trevanion

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Ash is probably the most variable British timbers for colour, possibly because since it's a bright wood any difference in colour is quite easily spotted compared with say Oak or Chestnut. I've seen all sorts of local ash that were completely different colours, some pure white, some more yellow, some very brown (more heart), some almost bright pink, some with dullish blue streaks...

Fortunately, I tend to paint ash over so the colour of the timber doesn't bother me too much :lol:
 

ArferMo

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Woody2Shoes":25s06hrs said:
Thinking a bit more about this, I suspect that darker timbers tend to lighten, and lighter timbers tend to darken. Most of the (non-exotic) timbers we encounter in the UK are at the paler end of the spectrum to start with.
Agreed.

I have a wall hanging desk I made as an A level piece back in the 60s. I matched Mansonia, which was a poor boy's Walnut, and Sycamore. Nowadays both woods both look much the same; the dark Mansonia has lightened and the once almost white Sycamore has yellowed to brown. Only the ebony handles remain much as they were made. A cherry coffee table made 20 years ago has faded. So much so that recently I reworked the top to bring back the colour.
 
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