American Elm Wood Slabs

Common Name(s): American Elm, Soft Elm, Water Elm
Scientific Name: Ulmus americana
Distribution: Eastern to Midwest United States
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 35 lbs/ft3 (560 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .47, .56
Janka Hardness: 830 lbf (3,690 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 11,800 lbf/in2 (81.4 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,340,000 lbf/in2 (9.24 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 5,520 lbf/in2 (38.1 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.2%, Tangential: 9.5%, Volumetric: 14.6%, T/R Ratio: 2.3

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is light to medium reddish brown. Paler sapwood is usually well defined.

Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked (making it very resistant to splitting). With a somewhat coarse, uneven texture.

Endgrain: Ring-porous; large to very large earlywood pores in a continuous row one or two pores wide, small latewood pores in wavy bands; tyloses occasionally present in earlywood; growth rings distinct; parenchyma vasicentric and confluent; medium rays, spacing normal.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable; susceptible to insect attack. Living trees are susceptible to Dutch elm disease.

Workability: Can be a challenge to work because of interlocked grain, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Planing can cause tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. Poor dimensional stability. Glues, stains, and finishes well. Responds well to steam bending, and holds nails and screws well.

Odor: Elm usually has a strong, unpleasant smell when green; though once dried has very little odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Elm  in the Ulmus genus has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicityand Wood Dust Safety for more information.