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Ash - an endangered species

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Lou Jacobs, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Does anyone else feel a special burden turning ash? I know it will be a while before there is none left, but I feel especially challenged to do right by it as we race with the emerald ash borer. If nothing changes the trajectory, one day it will be like the American chestnut. Just a memory, or only surviving in rare, isolated pockets.
     
  2. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Interesting timing...3 of us took down an Ash that was succumbing to the Ash Borer. It was 36"+ and over 80 feet tall. Over 30 feet to the first limbs. Yes...it is a special wood just knowing that it is a vanishing one. But, better to preserve some of it as bowls and boards than to allow it to rot on the stump I suppose.
     
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  3. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    I like turning Ash and I hate to see it disappear. Some Ash has some really nice figuring.
     
    Tim Tucker likes this.
  4. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    It sure can. I posted a picture of a 17" rough bowl in my gallery that I thought has really nice color and figure.
     
  5. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Tim, I saw your recent additions to the gallery. Beautiful bowls! I agree that ash is a great wood to turn, and yes, that rough turned bowl you posted is quite striking. It’ll be great when you finish it.
     
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  6. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Thanks Lou. I am just beginning to feel comfortable with a number of aspect of turning. Including coring. Because I live in the Southern Highlands of the Appalachians - there are more species of plant life - including trees...than anywhere in the Northern hemisphere. Can be overwhelming at times trying to plan what to turn next. but Ash...Ash is special and not just because it is dying out. It may be the best wood for newer turners, at least..this one:D. There are no surprises. Pretty stable, turns easily, minimal to no tarot, and occasionally, beautiful color and figure. I really like dyeing it and using liming wax on the grain.
     
  7. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    I would feel guilty if there weren't thousands of them being cut everyday to destroy them. At least I can create some beauty from a vanishing species. I've always loved working with ash in furniture, especially when rift sawn. But I'm mainly upset with the short sidedness of our government agencies. Many nations required shipping container sterilization long before this was even an issue in the United States. Everyone knew that pests were being introduced this way, but we just chose not to implement an effective policy. Here's the result. I sure hope heads don't stay buried in the sand too long with other changes in aspects of nature, but our track record doesn't show hope.
     
  8. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Add to that the landscaping behaviors of 1940-70s American tract housing. Every front yard gets a ______ shade tree. There was no diversity in planting behaviors which meant when a disease would come in (microbial or legged critter), it would tend to wipe out a species in a geographic region. Dutch elm disease, birch wilt, oak wilt, emerald ash borer, etc. A plague against our trees to us, but a smorgasbord to the invading species. Our fault.

    Steve.
     
  9. Mike Zip Hamilton

    Mike Zip Hamilton

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    I know the feeling. I'm working on two hollow forms from some chestnut. When l finish, l will be able to learn more about the wood. (American or Chinese Chestnut?)
     
  10. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    It started well before tract housing. Entire established older city streets were lined with elms. I was raised on a farm when crop rotation was critical. Now they pour on the chemicals in attempts to control pests. My brother died at the age of 48 from colon cancer on the farm. I blame the chemicals. I also look at high school kids with full beards, girls start menstruation at the age of 10, and college guys going bald. We're well on our way towards doing to ourselves what we let happen to trees.
     
  11. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    There is a natural predator for the Emerald Ash borer, it is a very small wasp like insect that goes in and kills them.

    Some have been brought in to try to slow down and get a balance between the two, there are still Ash trees where these borers originate from, so a total wipeout isn't necessary to happen.

    Also they have been injecting Ash trees to protect them, works, but to expensive for every tree, needs repeating yearly.

    Just put Polymerized Tung Oil finish on two White Ash bowls, got that wood before the Ash borer came over here, love the wood.

    Where I live now, we have Black Ash as a street tree and growing in the wild, they don't seem to have suffered yet, maybe the extreme cold is stopping the insect, one can hope.

    Ash logs from a White ash tree, and rough outs from it.

    White Ash logs.jpeg White Ash rougouts.jpg
     
  12. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Leo - would you think this is Black Ash? I don't know the difference...
     

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  13. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    This ash was taken down four houses away from me in June. 0CBB9CC3-3F16-4639-963F-EEF67F7415EB.jpeg I brought a few sections home with a hand truck, which worked out well, as there was no way I could have lifted them into my little Prius. (An old truck is on my wish list- but that’s a subject for another thread!).
     
  14. Karl Best

    Karl Best

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    I cut down a 28" ash a couple months ago, and have been prepping and turning as much as I can. There's another 12-15 ash trees on my property that are going to have to come down; I wish I had the time to take them down and prep the wood before the tree is totally dead, but I just don't have the time. It's a real shame that all of this is going to go to waste; it's fun wood to turn. (The rest of the property is covered with poplar; horrible stuff.)
     
  15. Dave Bunge

    Dave Bunge

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    I don't feel a burden. I feel fond memories and remorse for the loss. All the ash trees around me are long dead from EAB infestation. Most have been cut down. Those still standing are too degraded to be worth turning. Enjoy it if you still have it. And don't move it far if you cut it.

    The only silver lining is that the golf courses are much easier to play now.

    Here's a 14" bowl from 7 years ago when the ash trees were being cut around here.


    IMG_4723b.jpg
     
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  16. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    That’s a beautiful bowl Dave!
    I know it’s a big country, but I went to school in upstate NY with a Sam Bunge. Last I knew he lived in Alaska. Any relation?
     
  17. Dave Bunge

    Dave Bunge

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    Not that I know of. My dad's grandparents from Germany in the late 1800's and settled near Cedar Rapids IA.

    Unfortunately, I'm also not related to any of the founders of Bunge, LTD, the $45B/year agribusiness company.
     
  18. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    I don't think so Tim, but not really certain of it, there is a difference in the Ash species, but hard to tell most times.
    That is a very nice piece of wood and you got it showing all it has in there, well done for sure.
     
  19. Leo Van Der Loo

    Leo Van Der Loo

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    That is some beautiful White Ash Lou, just rough turn as much as you can, it can all be returned at a later date, the ones I have been working on the last week I rough turned more than 20 years ago.
    Beautiful dry wood that can be used for many years yet.
     
  20. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Leo, I’ve already rough turned most of it. One or two bowl blanks that I didn’t rough turn have developed cracks pretty quickly. Just reinforced the lesson to rough turn immediately. I also slabbed lots of the center sections and stacked them to dry. They’ll provide spindle stock for me for a long time.
     
  21. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    Oh well Dave, unfortunately for them, they’re not related to you!
     
  22. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I live about 200 miles south of you in central MN and on my 5 acres black ash is the most prominent with a small mix of other ash verities plus red and white oak, poplar, basswood, black cherry, birch andand eastern white pine. The EAB has not reached this area yet and who knows if it ever will.
    goblet109a.jpg This is an ash goblet made from a small ash tree that succumbed to sudden chain saw death.
     
  23. Lou Jacobs

    Lou Jacobs

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    That Sudden Chainsaw Death is a mind-boggling infection. It can strike anywhere and virtually instantly!
     
  24. Perry Hilbert

    Perry Hilbert

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    Ash, Chestnut blight, elm disease, beech bark disease, thousand canker disease in black walnut, invasive ambrosia beetles, Gyspy moths killed off hundreds of acres of oak trees here a few years ago. Americas parks and wood lots are going to look much different. I remember 40 years ago, my father had a large chestnut log sawn up into lumber (cause there won't be any more) Something has killed two of my black walnuts. There are still dozens more, but I worry. I had a piece of Dade pine until my shop fire. Still have one or two pieces of Cuban Mahogany I got decades ago after a storm in Miami.
     

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