American Elm (Ulmus americana)

American Elm

Family: Elm (Ulmaceae)

Common Names: Grey elm, White elm, Water elm, Soft elm, Florida elm

This is the largest and most widespread elm in the United States. Trees may reach heights of nearly 100 feet and trunk diameters of 4 feet.

Formerly an important furniture wood, American elm is today of minor importance as a timber tree due to its susceptibility to Dutch elm disease. It has largely been replaced in commercial use by the Red Elm (Ulmus Rubra).

Straight or interlocked grain with a coarse texture. Light brown to brown heartwood, usually with a reddish tinge, and light-colored sapwood. The interlocking grain makes it difficult to cut and split. Moderately heavy and hard, tough, elastic, and wear resistant. Steam-bends very well. Low decay resistance and moderate dimensional stability.

American Elm Click to Enlarge Image

Elm chest
Elm chest by Craig Vandall Stevens in the style of James Krenov.
Elm works with some difficulty - tends to dull cutting edges and often produces fuzzy surfaces. Glues, screws and nails satisfactorily. Does not polish easily but otherwise finishes well.

Used for boxes, baskets, cooperage stays, sporting goods, agricultural implements, furniture (bent parts especially), plywood veneers, strip flooring.