Ash vs. White Ash vs. Oak Furniture

Janka Hardness test

Table of Contents

Ash, white ash and oak are all hardwoods similar in appearance.

In the last blog, we introduced the characteristics of oak furniture.

Today, I will introduce the characteristics of ash and white ash furniture. And then compare oak vs. ash vs. white ash.

1. The characteristics of ash furniture.

1.1. Ash comes from Russia.

In China market, we have ash and white ash. They are different.

Ash comes from Northeast China or the Far East of Russia.

Since China banned the logging of natural forests in 2017, we have been importing ash from Russia.

Ash=Russian ash.

So when we say ash, it is Russian ash.

1.2. The advantages of ash.

1) It has beautiful textures (water ripples and flame textures).

ash has beautiful textures (water ripples and flame textures).

2) It is rigid.

Compared to oak, it is less likely to deform and crack.

3) The price is close to oak .

It is slightly higher than red oak.

There are beautiful water ripples on the surface of ash furniture
▲There are beautiful water ripples on the surface.
The water ripple texture of ash furniture is different from the flame texture of the oak.
▲The water ripple texture is different from the flame texture of the oak.

2. Characteristics of white ash furniture.

As we mentioned above, we have ash and white ash in China market.

Ash=Russia ash.

White ash=North American white ash.

When we say white ash, it refers to North American white ash.

2.1. The advantages and disadvantages.

2.1.1. Advantages.

1) Its textures are beautiful.

The texture of North American white ash is clear and prominent. The gap between the wood grains is large. And the lines are smooth and dark.

The contrast between the off-white base color and the dark grain is more prominent than white oak.

white oak vs white ash
▲Left – White Oak. Right – white ash.
white ash furniture

2) The feeling is warm.

White ash is a deciduous broad-leaved wood in high latitudes. Its natural characteristics make the feeling on it very warm even in cold winters. So it is suitable for floors in cold regions.

warm white ash is suitable for floors in cold regions.

3) It is durable.

White ash is durable due to its excellent anti-corrosion properties. White ash furniture has a much longer lifespan, even in wet spaces such as bathrooms.

4) The physical quality is very high.

These North American white ash follow NHLA certification standards. NHLA(North American Hardwood Association) is the leading organization for crafted hardwoods. Their products are of excellent quality.

White ash furniture has good compression performance. So it is a good choice for high-end sofas.

Ding Junhui defeated snooker legend Hendry at 18 and won the world championship. The Stamford cue he used was made of white ash. White ash is heavy, unlikely to deform, and the touch is good. It makes table tennis playing more accurate.

Ding Junhui's Stamford cue was made of white ash.

The air-dry density of white ash is 0.66. It is rigid, dense, elastic, and doesn’t tend to deform.

In dry areas, white ash has minimal aging and little change in the heartwood. The compressive strength, static bending strength, and grain tensile strength are tremendous.

Janka hardness comparison of white ash and other woods is as follows.

The Janka Hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28mm diameter (7⁄16 in) steel ball halfway into a sample of wood.

The Janka Hardness test
The Janka Hardness test

North American white ash has a Janka hardness of 1320lbf.

If the wood is too rigid, the wet expansion and dry shrinkage will be significant and likely to crack and deform.

So it is necessary to choose hardwood with moderate hardness. Thus the hardness and the elasticness are balanced.

White ash has moderate hardness. It is anti-knock, wear-resistant, firm, and stable.

5). It has excellent processing performance.

White ash has excellent nail-holding performance. It is very stable when fixed with screws or nails.

The adhesion performance is also quite good. It has an excellent decorative effect after being dyed and polished.

White ash bed

It can be coated with wood wax oil because it is remarkably stable.

White ash cabinet with wax oil

2.2.2. Disadvantages

1). It has a long drying process.

If the white ash is not entirely dried, it is very prone to deformation or cracking. The furniture will look ugly and not be durable.

2). The price is high.

White ash grows in North America and Russia and is relatively scarce. So the price is high.

2.3. How to maintain white ash furniture.

2.3.1. Not exposed to sunlight.

White ash has poor drying properties. So it is better not to expose to sunlight.

It is better to wipe the furniture with a clean and wet rag and regularly maintain it with oil.

2.3.2. Regularly dusting.

When we dust white ash furniture, it is best to use a wet cotton cloth. It can reduce friction and avoid scratches on the furniture.

After that, removing the left moisture with a dry cotton cloth is best.

2.3.3. Regularly waxing.

We need to wax white ash furniture regularly to keep it beautiful and shiny. But to stay certain moisture content, it is unnecessary to wax the back and the invisible sides.

3. White ash vs. ash

The difference between white ash and ash.

▲The difference between white ash and ash.

The difference between white ash and ash is as below.

The difference between white ash and ash.
▲ Left – white ash; Right – Ash.
#ItemWhite AshAsh
1SpeciesAshAsh
2ColorWhiteYellowish
3Texture in a
large area
Noticeable, clear, and thicker flame and water-shaped grainsDenser, rougher, fuzzier, and thinner texture.
4PriceHigherLower
5Corrosion resistanceBetterWorse
6OriginNorth America,
need acidic soil
Asia, Russia
7Deform and shrinkUnlikelyLikely
8TouchSmoother and warmLess smooth and cold
9WeightHeavierLighter

3.1 They belong to the same species.

Beech and oak belong to the family Fagaceae (the Beech family). Their relationship is probably like that of a wolf and a fox.

The difference between beech and oak is like a wolf and a fox.

Ash and white ash are more closely related. White ash and ash are members of the Oleaceae family, and both belong to the genus ash. Their relationship is like that of a gray wolf and a red wolf.

The difference ash and white ash is like a canis lupus and a canis rufus.

They belong to the same kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, and genus but to different species.

ItemWhite AshAsh
Latin NameFraxinus mandshurica RuprFraxinus americana
KingdomPlantaePlantae
PhylumAngiosperm phylumAngiosperm phylum
ClassDicotyledonous plantsDicotyledonous plants
Sub-classSubclass SynapticSubclass Synaptic
Ordersucculentsucculent
FamilyOleaceaeOleaceae
Sub-familyOleaceaeOleaceae
TribeOleaceaeOleaceae
GenusAshAsh
SpeciesAshWhite Ash

Ash and white ash are the brothers of the plant kingdom!

3.2. The colors are very close.

The base color of white ash is milky white or slightly pink. The color of the wood grain center varies from light brown to dark brown.

The sapwood of ash is yellow-white, and the core wood is yellowish-brown. It is more yellow than white ash.

white ash and ash
▲ Left – white ash; Right – Ash.

3.3. The biggest difference is the texture in a large area.

White ash has more noticeable, clear, and thicker flame and water-shaped grains in a large area.

Yet the ash has a denser, rougher, fuzzier, and thinner texture.

(The textures of the two are pronounced as wash whitening.)

White ash has bigger straight and flame grain.
▲White ash has bigger straight and flame grain.
Ash has a more delicate straight grain and more variable flame grain.
▲Ash has a more delicate straight grain and more variable flame grain.
White ash has a blur and rougher texture.
▲White ash has a blur and rougher texture.
Ash has a more delicate and noticeable texture.
▲Ash has a more delicate and noticeable texture.

3.4. White ash is more expensive than ash.

3.4.1. The price of ash furniture is much lower than white ash.

White ash is for high-end furniture, and Russian ash is for the middle and low-end.

3.4.2. If you choose natural wood color furniture, Russian ash can’t pretend to be white ash. Because the color of the two is very different.

Yet, if you choose stained white ash furniture, some factories may replace it with dyed ash.

3.5. White ash has better corrosion resistance than ash.

The compression resistance of white ash is as good as Russian ash. But their corrosion resistance is different.

White ash is impermeable, corrosion-resistant, insect-proof, moth-proof, and durable. Yet Russian ash has weak corrosion resistance and is not moth-proof.

Worm-eaten Russian ash furniture.
▲Worm-eaten Russian ash furniture.

3.6. Origins are different.

Ash grows in North Korea, Japan, Russia, Shaanxi, Gansu, Hubei, Northeast, North China, etc.

The ash has low requirements on the environment. It is the most 20-30 meters high, and the length of sawn timber is shorter than white ash.

White ash grows in the temperate zone in North America and parts of Europe. The climate there is like Dalian, China.

White ash trees can be up to 40 meters high and need acidic soil.

Ash grows in asia and europe, white ash grows in north america

3.7. Ash is likely to deform and shrink and more suitable for small furniture.

Large ash furniture is made of cheaper solid wood with ash veneer instead of a giant ash panel. An enormous ash panel is much more likely to shrink and deform.

3.8. The touch on white ash is smoother and warmer.

3.9. White ash is heavier.

It is denser, more robust, and more rigid. So you will feel heavy when lifting it.

4. White ash vs. White Oak

The difference between white ash and white oak is as belows.

white ash vs white oak
#ItemWhite AshWhite Oak
1PhylumAngiosperm phylumSpermatophyta
2Textures and
colors
Larger, whiter and cleaner textures;
Withe less pith rays.
Smaller, yellowisher, blurer texture.
With a lot of pith rays.
3AppearanceHas a denser, firmer look and fewer pores.More pores.
4Painted in
walnut color
More likely.Likely.
5WaxedMore likely.Likely.
6StabilityHigherLower
7DensityHigherLower
8Performance in Likely to expand in wet areas.likely to deform and crack in dry places.
9FlexbilityHigherLower
10SmellNoyes

4.1. They don’t have close relation.

White ash and white oak belong to different phylum.

ItemWhite AshWhite Oak
Latin NameFraxinus mandshurica RuprQuercus alba
KingdomPlantaePlantae
PhylumAngiosperm phylumSpermatophyta
ClassDicotyledonous plantsDicotyledonae

4.2. The textures and colors are similar.

Oak has pith rays on its surface, while North American white ash does not.

white oak vs white ash
▲Oak has pith rays everywhere, as shown in the circles.

The grain of white ash is much larger, whiter, and cleaner than white oak and red oak.

White oak is brownish and has a thinner grain.

4.3. White ash has a denser, firmer look and fewer pores.

4.4. White ash is more likely to be painted in walnut color.

White ash has a closer texture to black walnut.

White ash has a closer texture to black walnut.

4.5. Most white ash surfaces are waxed.

4.6. White ash is more stable.

Thus white ash has fewer after-sales problems. You can consider white ash furniture when you plan to order oak furniture.

4.7. White oak is denser than white ash.

So for the same size, oak will be much heavier.

4.8. Different in dry and wet areas.

White oak furniture is suitable for wet areas because it is likely to deform and crack in dry places.

White ash furniture is ideal for dry areas because it will expand in wet areas.

4.9. White oak is denser with less flexbility.

So it is more likely to crack and deform in dry places.

4.10. White ash has no peculiar smell.

So it is especially suitable for children’s rooms. White oak has a little fragrance (some people may not like it).

In the past white oak was used for wine barrels because it is water-resistant and suitable for wet areas.

5. White ash vs. Ash vs. Oak

Price: white ash > Ash > Oak.

The price difference between ash and oak is slight.

6. What is whitewashing?

Many of Beta’s ash and white ash furniture is “whitewashing.”

Whitewashing is a translucent, a little white paint.

It is between the varnish and the color paint. It will keep the original wood texture and color but reduce the saturation of the actual color. It enhances the contrast of the wood textures.

With washwhiting, the white ash furniture looks less red and yellow than oak.
▲With washwhiting, the white ash furniture looks less red and yellow than oak.

If you are used to oak, you may find this color a bit “cold.”

The texture and the color of whitewashing are gorgeous.
▲The texture and the color are gorgeous.

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