Our Materials - Ash
Ash is a native British tree. Although it is traditionally the last tree in the wood to leaf, as the old saying goes:
"Oak before the ash and we’ll only have a splash. Ash before the oak and we’re bound to have a soak."
The ash, with oak and thorn was traditionally one of three magical trees. It was the tree upon which Odin hung for nine days and nights before he was given rebirth and the knowledge of the runes. It was thought that the ash protected one from lightening and witchcraft. A child who had suffered a rupture or who had rickets was passed through a split ash sapling to cure them. If the tree was cut down the disease would return to them.
Ash leaves were given by the Elizabethans to their cattle as fodder. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon “aesc” which was a name used in poetry for spear. Traditionally it was used to create the arrows of many battles, the handles from pikes and axes to rakes, and hockey sticks. It is so resilient and strong that it does not fracture when riving or splitting which is one reason we use it in our furniture, gazebos and trellis.
Again it is threatened wood, with little of its former coppice surviving. In 1905 over a million acres of England’s woodland were made up of mixed coppice including ash. Today less than two hundred thousand acres remain.
Ash poles are coppiced from a stool and seeds germinate prolifically. It requires 7-12 years growth to provide wood thick enough to be used as rake handles, staves, gate hurdles and besom handles; or 12-25 years growth for furniture, fence rails, firewood and charcoal.