Is Ash Wood good for carving?

Ash wood is a very common wood used by woodworkers in general and in this article, we are going to talk about carving ash wood. But before that, let’s have some basic knowledge about this type of wood.

Ash is a hard and dense wood with a light color. The density of this wood gives it strength and even when it lowers its density due to drying, it still maintains its strength. As it dries, the weight to volume ratio changes making ash wood lighter.

Ash is a very good wood for carving and its durable, lightweight, and aesthetic appearance makes it one of the most preferred woods among woodcarvers. Ashwood also absorbs wood stains very well giving it a better finish.

Is Ash Wood Hard To Carve

Carving ash wood can relatively be hard depending on the level you are in carving or if you have limited carving tools. The Janka hardness of Ash wood is 1320 and that’s pretty hard for a beginner to start carving with but not impossible because there are ways you can make it easy for carving.

If you are a veteran in wood carving and you are using hand tools, make sure before you begin carving, that your tools are razor-sharp

Methods For Carving Ash Wood

When carving Ash wood, there are various methods you can approach the wood with. This method includes whittling, power carving, and chainsaw carving.

The best method to use when carving ash wood is power carving. Power carving involves the use of power tools that have a motor that is powered by either electricity or batteries. Power carving gives the ability to do the tiniest details because it has different shapes

Chainsaw carving is another method to use when carving ash wood. Chainsaw carving has gained a lot of popularity through the years because it does not limit you on the size of carving you want.

Whittling is carving using power tools only. This method might be hard to use mostly for beginners because of the hardness of ash. But if ash is the only wood you have at your disposal there are ways you can make it easy for carving.

Finishing Ashwood Carving

Due to ash wood’s large pore structure, it accepts any color of the stain easily. Oil-based stains penetrate evenly not affecting the texture and the grain of the wood.

Ashwood having a large pore structure is an advantage to applying finish compared to a small pore structure. The reason for this is that the vessels that are connected to the pores are small in diameter and cannot penetrate the stain deep inside.

Some of the best ash wood finishes include; Minwax penetrating wood finish, rust-oleum ultimate stain, ready seal exterior stain and sealer, general finishes oil-based gel stain.

Of the above finishes, my best is the general finish because of various reasons. This product complements ash wood very well. The general finish gel is like a paste and limits the amount of absorption all over the the ash wood reducing wastage. This gel finish takes roughly 8 hours to dry and so you should wait the first coat to dry before applying another.

Another finish that is good for ash wood is the Minwax penetrating wood finish. This wood penetrates deep inside the wood, highlighting the wood grain. The wax takes roughly 2 hours to dry and it adds the aesthetics to your carving.


For a better experience when carving ash wood, I would recommend you to use the power carving and chainsaw method. Ash is a beautiful straight-grained wood for carving and it will produce good carvings.

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