Is Arizona Ash Wood Good For Anything? (11 Quick Facts)

Arizona ash wood good for anything

Arizona ash wood is commonly referred to as Velvet ash. You can readily insinuate this wood is native to Arizonian regions from the name.

But more importantly, we expect you want to know the quality of this wood. Specifically, what is Arizona ash wood good for?

Arizona ash wood is derived from the deciduous Arizona ash tree, scientifically denoted as Fraxinus velutina wood. This wood is exceptionally dense and strong, with high resistance to scratches and warping. Given their enhanced strength, Arizona ash wood finds application in producing tool handles, bows, and baseball bats.

What is Arizona ash wood from?

We can’t talk about the quality of Arizona ash wood without addressing its parent tree. Conspicuously, this ash wood comes from the Arizona ash tree. This tree is also referred to as Fresno ash or velvet ash.

This tree is resident in the Southwestern regions of the United States. Like Arizona, some American states like Texas, California, New Mexico, and Nevada are significantly populated with Arizona ash trees.

These trees thrive in Zone 7 to Zone 11 of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

If the Arizona ash tree is appropriately nourished and maintained, its lifespan can stretch up to 50 years. Regarding heights, this tree rarely grows beyond 15m. That said, it could get as wide as 12m. 

Alright, with the source of this wood established, let us learn more about the wood itself.

Is Arizona ash wood strong?

This is a really tough guy. Arizona ash wood numbers among the hardest woods from the southwestern parts of the United States. 

It struts remarkable density (which we will learn about later) without losing its workability and elasticity.

What color is Arizona ash wood?

The color of Arizona ash wood varies from beige hue to light brown. Factors like exposure to sunlight, heat, and the tree’s age (from which the wood was derived) ultimately affect the Arizona ash wood’s color. 

The more exposed your Arizona ash wood gets to ultraviolet radiation (or the more oxidation it experiences), the deeper its color becomes.

If you don’t want to retain your Arizona ash wood’s original color, preserving its natural texture, you should stain it. 

Stained Arizona ash wood becomes very similar to oak in appearance.

Given this similarity, some malicious sellers sell oak to woodworkers seeking stained Arizona ash wood. Be wary of this.

What grain pattern does Arizona ash wood have?

Arizona ash wood typically has a uniform grain. However, there are instances when the prevailing conditions where the tree (from which the wood was sourced) will give the wood a wavy grain pattern.

Arizona ash wood produced from trees exposed to sustained pest attacks will have a curly grain. 

How dense is Arizona ash wood?

Arizona ash wood is intimidatingly dense. On the Janka scale (an internationally recognized system for measuring the hardness of lumber), Arizona ash wood often weighs excess of 1,200lbf.

The high density of Arizona ash wood can be traced to the ring porosity of its structure. Such porosity gives it a superior edge (in thickness) than other hardwoods. 

 How durable is Arizona ash wood?

When you see wood boasting the premium density levels of the Arizona ash wood, you naturally expect it to survive rough usage for years.

Yes, Arizona ash wood is one of the strongest hardwoods around, with its cellular structure (and porosity) enhancing its resistance to tensile force.

Arizona ash wood rarely dents and will hold up against scratches impressively compared to other woods. 

It is one of the few wood types that combine strength and longevity without losing much of its elasticity. 

To give you a more relatable idea of how durable Arizona ash wood is, very few wood types like white oak and maple would outlast Arizona ash wood.

This explains why woodworkers tend to resort to this wood type when they need a guy for intense applications that demand extreme levels of resilience.

What can Arizona ash wood be used for?

We commonly get asked about what range of applications Arizona ash wood is suitable for. In our experience, this wood type is good to go where you need strength, pliability, and endurance. 

Therefore, Arizona ash wood tends to find application in making tool handles and bows. Some woodworkers also prefer this wood type for producing baseball bats. 

The pretty looks of Arizona ash, when combined with its strength, make this wood ideal for producing staircases. 

The flexibility and pliability of this wood (especially when steamed) ensure the designer has a more extensive array of creative design options. This is considering how readily he can bend Arizona ash wood.

But more than strength, Arizona ash wood has another unique property: resonance. This cherished characteristic makes this wood type suitable for making musical instruments like the body of your guitar (both the acoustic and electric variants).

Can you stain Arizona ash wood?

Yes, Arizona ash wood welcomes stain. Given its uniformity in texture, stain sits well on Arizona ash wood. This creates an even surface free of blotches. 

Often, woodworkers worry that staining Arizona ash wood would distort its grain. Provided the staining process is done according to best practices, your Arizona ash wood will retain its natural texture. 

While Arizona ash wood is captivating in its natural color, you may choose to stain it to protect its surface further.

Can Arizona ash wood be used outdoors?

Arizona ash wood modestly thrives in exterior conditions. But the severity of the weather conditions it would be exposed to matters a lot.

The integrity of Arizona ash wood, when exposed to extreme temperatures and moisture, will inevitably wane. We must also remember that Arizona ash wood doesn’t have high resistance to rot.

If you must use Arizona ash wood outside, be prepared for an intense maintenance regimen. You may need to work on its finish at least once in 12 months. 

Can you use Arizona ash wood for flooring?

Yes, Arizona ash wood will excel when used for flooring. Don’t forget that this wood is incredibly hard. Such strength becomes valuable in resisting warping, dents, and scratches resulting from pedestrian traffic on such floors. 

Arizona ash wood is even more suitable for flooring than the famous likes of Hickory and maple. This is because Arizona ash wood feels softer on your foot than the aforementioned wood types. 

Arizona ash wood is even more workable. This gives you a broader range of customization options for your flooring.

What should you be mindful of when using Arizona ash wood?

While we have primarily touched on Arizona ash wood’s positives, there are some not-too-pretty aspects of this wood to bear in mind. 

First, we must point out that Arizona ash wood needs significant maintenance to sustain its integrity across its lifespan. This wood type will struggle against pests. 

Its resistance to termites and beetle is not worthy of praise. Also, compared to other hardwoods, Arizona ash wood is more inflammable. 

Lastly, Arizona ash wood tends to cost a premium. Such elevated costs owing to the relative scarcity of this wood type. It is not readily available like white oak, beech, and poplar.


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