Difference between Oak and Ash

Key difference: Oak and ash are two different types of trees. The terms are also used to indicate wood obtained from their respective trees. Oaks are considered to be a hardwood, heavy, long lasting and expensive. Oak is also known for its strength and durability, as well as a high resistance to moisture and humidity. Ash is known to be one of the hardest hardwoods and has wide-ranging uses. It is in fact even harder than oak, which is quite famous for its hardness. Ash is characteristic of its creamy white to light brown color.

Oak and ash are two different types of trees. The terms are also used to indicate wood obtained from their respective trees. There are various different types of species for each type of tree and have various different types of wood available.  Both are types of hardwoods.

Basically, hardwood is the wood that comes from an angiosperm tree. This is a type of tree that has seeds that are enclosed, be it in pods, a shell, a covering or in a fruit. For example, apples or nuts and seeds like acorns and walnuts. These types of seeds allow birds and insects to be attracted to the flowers of the tree and be able to carry the pollen to other trees. This is also the reason why hardwood trees are not often bunched together but are spaced apart and often have other trees in-between them.

Most hardwood trees are also deciduous is nature. A deciduous tree is a tree that loses its leaves annually. Hardwood trees are also slower to grow, taking their own time. Due to this, most hardwood is dense. This is also the reason that hardwood is expensive, as it takes longer to grow. Some famous hardwoods include maple, balsa, oak, elm, mahogany, and sycamore.

An oak is a tree in the genus Quercus. It has over 600 species. Oaks have spirally arranged leaves with lobed margins. Some species have serrated leaves or leaves with smooth margins. The leaves of the oak tree tend to fall off in spring. Oaks bear fruits, known as acorns.

As woods, oaks are considered to be a hardwood, heavy, long lasting and expensive. This is mainly because oaks take a long time to grow; hence quantity or oak is not readily available in abundance. Oak is also known for its strength and durability, as well as a high resistance to moisture and humidity. Hence, it is quite popular for furniture, such as dining tables and chairs, as its can survive long and hard use. As it is heavy, it does not look well with painted, so staining is the ideal choice for oak.

Oak has many other applications including flooring, barrels for production of wines and brandies, and for tanning leather, due to the high tannin content. Also, bark of the white oak has many medicinal uses. Furthermore, Japanese Oakwood is often used for making professional drums.

Oaks are well known for their darker texture and their grain pattern. Due to its heavy grain, oak might feel more textural. The grain pattern can garner a lot of attention, and may look best in a simpler room. However, the grain pattern may be too bold for some, especially for ones seeking a classy chic finish.

Oaks come in different varieties, such as red oak, which has a dark reddish-brown color and an open grain, and white oak, which is much lighter with a tight, even grain pattern.

Ash is a type of large deciduous tree. It is also known as European ash or common ash, and scientifically as Fraxinus excelsior. It is mainly native to Europe and some parts of northwestern Asia. The bark is smooth and pale grey on young ash trees, becoming thick and vertically fissured on old trees. The leaves are often among the last to open in spring, and the first to fall in autumn.

As a wood, ash is known to be one of the hardest hardwoods and has wide-ranging uses. It is in fact even harder than oak, which is quite famous for its hardness. Ash is characteristic of its creamy white to light brown color. However, the heartwood is tan to dark brown. The wood has a coarse open grain and is highly flexible, including shock-resistant and resistant to splitting. It is however not resistant to decay, unlike oak.

Ash wood is highly versatile and has a variety of uses, including being used to make bows, tool handles, especially for hammers and axes, tennis rackets, snooker cue sticks and baseball bats. It also was extensively used in the construction of early aircraft. Furthermore, because of its elasticity European Ash wood was also commonly used for walking sticks.

However, today ash is mainly and most popularly used in modern furniture such as chairs, dining tables, doors and other architectural features and wood flooring. Ash holds stain colors, but as ash is characteristically known for its light whitish color, most ash is lightly stained.

Image Courtesy: sct-sh.com, wood-database.com

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