Why Use Ash?
Our carefully selected Croatian Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) is an even harder wood than our favourite Kosovan Oak. It is more stable, shock resistant and highly flexible – it resists splitting incredibly well. However, to our mind it does have two drawbacks: first, because it is so tough it is more difficult to work with; second, it is more susceptible to rot and decay.
When we say ‘more susceptible’ we are still talking about a floor that will withstand moisture for many years – especially if we fit our engineered planks. What we mean is that, if placed in an environment that is particularly prone to damp, Ash will not last as long as Oak – too much exposure to moisture and it will weaken and be more likely to split or take a dent. However we would probably not recommend any type of wood floor in such an environment! Our guarantee is for 25 years but we aim to install floors that will last a lifetime, and we will never install a floor anywhere we think it will not last way past its guarantee period.
What Sort of Looks Can Be Achieved with Ash?
Because we always advise on the technical suitability of a species for a particular property on a case by case basis, the main factor you need to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to use Ash is its rather unruly appearance. Ash is naturally pale and creamy like Oak, but it has a far thicker grain, which can tend to make it look like a cheaper soft wood. Then there is also a huge variation in the grain, with planks often appearing darker in certain places due to the natural texture of the wood. If you want a floor with even a fairly uniform appearance then you should avoid Ash.
If you find the sometimes rather wild variation in the grain to your liking, then beautiful finishes can certainly be achieved using Ash. It takes both light and dark colours well – although we would not recommend dark finishes ourselves because then the grain will be lost altogether, and we feel this defeats the point of using Ash in the first place.
We can supply ‘distressed’ Ash if required but, because we use hand tools only to achieve this look (our founder Mursel insists on doing this himself) and because Ash is harder than Oak, it’s tougher on the tools and each plank takes longer to produce and will therefore cost more.
Where Does Woodcraft’s Ash Come From?
Our Ash comes exclusively from an FSC-certified supplier in Croatia, one with whom Mursel has an association predating Woodcraft. The family wood-working business that he was a part of in Kosovo chose this particular supplier after being unable to find a suitable source of Ash locally (the hotter Summer season in Croatia suits the European Ash better and makes for a stronger end product than wood from Kosovan Ash). Now that Mursel has his own family business he continues to use the same high quality Ash that his elders previously used for traditional woodwork. You can read more about the history of Woodcraft here.
We can provide both solid and engineered floors in our Croatian Ash (you can read about the ‘cold press’ manufacturing process that creates an engineered plank here). Our solid parquet blocks are available in exactly the same dimensions as Oak, but engineered planks will be slightly shorter (from 1 to 2.6 metres) and less wide than those available when using Oak (from 180mm to 200mm) with thicknesses of 14mm, 18mm and 20mm available. Generally, Ash is a more expensive choice than Oak at the same dimensions.
Time to source is standard (usually four weeks from order to installation), and we offer our usual 25 year guarantee on engineered planks made from Ash.