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Common Alabama Urban Wood Species: Elm

Common Alabama Urban Wood Species: Elm - Alabama Sawyer

March 15, 2022

Elm is one of those large and graceful trees whose size can reach up to 100 ft. Generally speaking, mature elm trees are around 60 to 80ft in height. Elm is found throughout Alabama, especially in dry woodlands, rocky woods, in hardwood or hardwood-pine forests, among other areas.

Heartwood and sapwood of elms have different colors. The heartwood is darker (light to medium reddish-brown), whereas sapwood is yellowish-white. The colors may vary from one tree to another. Hard and heavy, elm is firm but also relatively elastic with little shrinkage. Once dried, elm is stable with low natural durability. Since the grain is interlocked, elm is resistant to splitting. Its texture is coarse or uneven.

The main benefits of elm wood are:

  • Strength 
  • Toughness
  • Finishes well and stains without difficulty 

This tough wood steams bend easily, which is why it can hold its shape very well. For that reason, elm is ideal for supportive furniture parts such as seats, frames, legs, and backs. Additionally, elm glues well and holds screws and nails without any problems. Besides furniture, uses of elmwood in furniture making and interior design also extend to stairs, paneling, cabinetry, parquet flooring, carving, and turning.

Elm fun facts:

  • The name elm comes from the Latin word Ulmus
  • Thanks to its durability, elmwood is used in constructing farm buildings and boats
  • Elm species are susceptible to Dutch elm disease, which made American elm species rare, although it wasn't always the case.

Alabama Sawyer uses Elm most commonly as an option for dining tables.