A beautiful, warm brown coloured wood, highly gained and with a distinctive “partridge-breast” figure. Today it is most frequently used for furniture and is especially popular for its attractive and pleasing natural or waney edge. Elm also has some unique qualities that make it ideally suited for use in a variety of specialist circumstances.
Elm will last almost indefinitely when placed in water or below ground level (although it is not durable at ground level). This makes it ideal for the construction of fish ladders and sluice gates and other submerged structures. Traditionally this led to elm being used for coffins. Underground pipes were also constructed beneath large cities by hollowing out large elm trunks and driving them together. Some of these are still dug up today after 250 years below ground.
Another unusual quality of elm is its “unsplittability” caused by a stepped pattern of its wood fibres. This makes it ideal for chair seats (when the legs are driven in most other woods would split) and projects that require end-grain nail holding capacity such as the transoms for clinker-built boats. This useful property led to the traditional use of elm in wheel hubs and sledgehammers.
Euan recommends Elm for…
Kitchen Tables and Chairs
Small bespoke home accents for example stair bannisters and window ledges.