there’s woods other than oak?

joined stool, white ash
joined stool, white ash

Recently I have had some questions from readers and others about woods other than oak for joined work. So here is a joined stool frame made from ash, riven in the same manner as oak, and worked green. It handles a little differently, but the work proceeds the same.

detail, joined stool in ash
detail, joined stool in ash
I don’t know how many years ago I made a bedstead for our house, and used ash for many of the parts. Over time, dust & dirt, and occassional polishing have blended the colors of the oak & ash fairly well. It’s not as stark as when new.
ash & oak bedstead, footboard
ash & oak bedstead, footboard
ash & oak bedstead, headboard
ash & oak bedstead, headboard

I have seen some period examples using ash, others use walnut (English and American) also. I recently looked at a chest of drawers at the Museum of Fine Arts that was principally made of cedrela (now usually called Spanish Cedar). Cedrela is related to mahogany, but some species of cedrela are ring-porous, meaning they can be riven with ease… 

chest of drawers, detail, cedrela
chest of drawers, detail, cedrela

And finally, a reminder to keep your eyes open. On one of my trips to England I was caught off-guard when Victor Chinnery showed me a walnut joined chair that is featured on the cover of his book Oak Furniture: The British Tradition:

chinnery

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2 thoughts on “there’s woods other than oak?

  1. I think there might be several reasons for oak’s prominence; it grows to large size, it has great durability, carves well, and yes, rives easily into boards, etc…
    but much oak was sawn in English work too…so there’s more than one reason for its long-standing status as a first-rate furniture & woodwork choice.

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