Support efforts to upcycle wood from ash trees

An estimated seven billion trees will die from the little critter called the emerald ash borer – which is ten times that of the Dutch elm disease.

What happens to all those trees that get cut down?  According to Des Moines arborist David Jahn, “Most trees are used for firewood or chipped into mulch. Ash is not a desirable hardwood even though furniture and flooring have been around for centuries.”

Now there is a groundswell in upcycling ash. Aronson Woodworks in St. Mary’s has started getting ash logs from Des Moines to make ash furniture next year. Clay Aronson says “I love the distinctive grain of ash. Much like oak but not so reddish”.

Iowa State University is working with Iowa Prison Industries to make commemorative mantle clocks from ash trees removed from campus. What an awesome idea. You can also buy a Shaker table.

David Jahn would like to see 100 more artisans doing the same. Even that might not make a dent in the supply, but it’s a start!

What can you do to help the ash upcycling movement?

  • Buy furniture made of ash to increase the demand.
  • Install ash flooring to increase the demand.
  • Buy ash kitchen cabinets to increase the demand.
  • Have some furniture made from a tree in your yard.

Let me know if you have an idea to reuse the ash trees in your yard at smith.r@cmbaarchitects.com