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Red Elm Ulmus rubra

TEXTURAL LUMBER LIMITED BY DISEASE
Red elm is darker and redder than American elm, and more like Dutch elm in color and texture. Unfortunately it too has suffered from Dutch elm disease, and supplies are increasingly limited. However, this splendid wood is still available and well worth hunting out. Elm is medium in weight, with an attractive wavy grain pattern and subtle medium brown color that darkens with age. The texture is far from fine, but it is ideal when you want to create a soft, textural effect.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS
Type Temperate hardwood
Other names Slippery elm, brown elm
Alternatives Other elms (Ulmus species), lacewood, which is found on the quartersawn sides of London plane (Platanus accrifolia).
Sources North America
Color Mid-brown with a reddish hue; some dark brown heartwood, but pale gray or white sapwood
Texture Coarse, but generally even
Grain Straight or gently wavy, with some interlocking grain, especially around knots
Hardness Soft to medium
Weight Medium (38 lb./cu. ft.) (610 kg/cu. m)
Strength Moderate
Seasoning and stability Slow to season, with some distortion, and moderate movement once dry.
Wastage Medium, with contrasting sapwood
Range of board widths Good when available
Range of board thicknesses Should be fine when available
Durability Poor

VARIATIONS
Burl elm is highly prized by turners and as veneer. Quartersawn sides can often feature mottled rays, not dissimilar to lacewood.

SUSTAINABILITY
Dutch elm disease is a greater risk to red elm than exploitation, and there is no great need to source certified supplies.

AVAILABILITY AND COST
Increasingly limited because of disease, but not especially expensive.




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