Even as a green wood ash is quite dry typically having a moisture content of less than 50%, which makes it good firewood. It is also strong and robust which makes it a good choice for tool handles. However these characteristics also work against it as a green whittling wood. It is not a forgiving wood and would not be a good choice to begin with for novice green wood carvers. I
t is a blond wood but with clearly identifiable growth rings. Indeed it is possible to see the open ends of larger xylem vessels in some cut surfaces. It is known as a ring-porous wood, because the large water carrying vessels are not distributed evenly through the summer growth ring.
Ash can be sanded to a high quality durable surface. It would be a good choice for a wooden implement destined for a hard life such as a spatula.
Ash doesn’t respond too well to storage under water, with the surface undergoing a rather unattractive greying which penetrates the surface. This is problematic in terms of storing ash blanks because ash wood which has been allowed to dry is quite difficult to carve with hand-held whittling techniques because of its toughness.