American elm

Ulmus rubra

General Description

Red elm has a greyish white to light brown narrow sapwood, with heartwood that is reddish brown to dark brown in colour. The grain can be straight, but is often interlocked. The wood has a coarse texture.

Other Common names

Slippery elm, brown elm, grey elm

Distribution & Availability

The Eastern to Midwest USA. Limited availability in both lumber and veneer, due to the impact of Dutch elm disease. Elm is now regenerating better in some regions and is still exported, but in relatively small volumes, therefore some grade qualities and specifications may be limited.

View Physical & Mechanical Properties

Physical & Mechanical Properties

Elm is moderately heavy, hard and stiff with excellent bending and shock resistance. It is difficult to split because of its interlocked grain.

American elm - Physical & Mechanical Properties

Specific Gravity (12% M.C.):0.53
Average Weight (12% M.C.):593 kg/m3
Average Volume Shrinkage (Green to 6% M.C.):11%
Modulus of Rupture:89.635 MPa
Modulus of Elasticity:10,274 MPa
Compressive strength (parallel to grain):
43.852 MPa
Hardness:3825 N
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View Working Properties

Working Properties

The wood of red elm is fairly easy to work; it nails, screws and glues well and can be sanded, stained and polished to a good finish. It dries well with minimal degrade and little movement in performance.

American elm - Working Properties

SawingGood
PlaningGood
DrillingGood
BoringGood
TurningGood
Carving
Good
Moulding
Good
Nailing
Good
Screwing
Good
Gluing
Good
Finishing
Excellent
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View Main Uses

Main Uses

Furniture, cabinet making, flooring, internal joinery and panelling.

American elm - Main Uses

Doors
Flooring
Furniture
Joinery
Kitchen cabinets
Mouldings and
turnings
Veneered panels
Sports goods

Tool handles

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Other Information

Bird pecks are a natural characteristic in all the elm species and are not considered a defect when grading lumber to the NHLA standard.

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