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From Babe Ruth to Tool Handles: Why Ash Wood is the MVP of the Woodworking World in Massachusetts

Ash trees are a common sight in Massachusetts and throughout the northeastern United States. These tall and sturdy trees are known for their beautiful foliage, strong wood, and versatile uses. In this article, we'll take a closer look at Ash trees and the lumber that's sourced from them.





Ash trees belong to the Oleaceae family and are native to the eastern United States. There are several species of Ash trees, including White Ash (Fraxinus americana) and Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica). Ash trees are known for their strength, hardness, and elasticity, making them a popular choice for a wide range of woodworking projects.


Ash wood continues to play an important role in the lives and culture of Eastern Woodland Native Americans. The wood's strength, flexibility, and resistance to splitting made it an ideal material for crafting tools, weapons, and basketry in particular.


The lumber sourced from Ash trees has a distinctive light to medium brown color with a straight grain pattern. Ash lumber is known for its strength, hardness, and flexibility, which makes it ideal for furniture, flooring, sports equipment, and tool handles. It's also a popular choice for trim and molding due to its ability to hold detail and its resistance to splitting.


One of the most common uses for Ash lumber is in the production of baseball bats. Ash wood is the traditional wood of choice for baseball bats due to its strength, flexibility, and lightweight nature. In fact, the legendary baseball player Babe Ruth used an Ash wood bat throughout his career, earning it the nickname "the Babe Ruth wood."


Another popular use for Ash lumber is in the production of furniture. Ash wood's hardness and strength make it an excellent choice for chairs, tables, and other pieces of furniture that require durability and sturdiness. Its light color and straight grain pattern also make it a popular choice for modern and contemporary furniture designs.


Ash lumber is also commonly used in the production of hardwood flooring. Ash wood's hardness and durability make it a great option for high-traffic areas and homes with children and pets. Its light color and straight grain pattern also make it a popular choice for homeowners who prefer a clean and modern aesthetic.


In addition to its uses in sports equipment, furniture, and flooring, Ash lumber is also commonly used in the production of tool handles. Ash wood's elasticity and strength make it ideal for tool handles that require a strong and durable grip. It's also a popular choice for the handles of hammers, axes, and other hand tools.


One of the reasons Ash lumber is highly valued by Massachusetts woodworkers is that it is locally sourced and readily available. With Massachusetts having a strong tradition of woodworking and furniture making, many local sawmills and lumberyards carry Ash lumber, making it a convenient and sustainable choice for both professional and hobbyist woodworkers. By choosing Ash lumber, Massachusetts woodworkers can not only create beautiful and durable pieces, but also support their local economy and forestry industry.


In Massachusetts, Ash trees have faced serious threats from the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, an invasive species that has killed millions of Ash trees in the northeastern United States. As a result, it's more important than ever to support the sustainable harvesting of Ash lumber.


In conclusion, Ash trees and the lumber sourced from them are an important part of the woodworking industry in Massachusetts and throughout the northeastern United States. Ash wood's strength, hardness, and flexibility make it a popular choice for a wide range of applications, including baseball bats, furniture, flooring, and tool handles. Whether you're a woodworker, sports enthusiast, or homeowner, Ash lumber is a great option for any project that requires durability and strength.

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Winwood Sawmill, LLC DBA Paton's Lumber Mill, Sawmill, Winchendon, MA