Building Shutters out of Ash

      Brief advice on the characteristics of Ash wood when used to construct custom window shutters. August 15, 2012

I'm going to make windows and shutters for a certain project. I want to use ash. What do you think about this choice for a hot California climate? The building is close to the beach. The windows and shutters are going to be painted with a solid color.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
Ash is a fairly light and strong wood but basswood seems to get used in the industry for blinds and some shutters. Itís not quite as hard or heavy without sacrificing the structural integrity.

From contributor U:
Contributor D is correct that ash is a strong wood for building shutters, but the finished panels will definitely be heavier than poplar or basswood shutters. I have built two orders for customers that were entirely made of ash. One is at the beach in Panama City and it has held up extremely well, even after 13 years. I have an extra French door panel (28 x 78) also that I keep on my office wall as a sample, and it is also tough as nails. The wood will be more difficult to machine and shape, and you had better plan to predrill the hinge and hardware screw holes (hundreds of them) to prevent breaking off your screws. The wood will actually release steam when the drill bits get hot.

To offset the panel weight consider adding extra hinges on the side that will receive them, or be sure you use a good size shutter hinge, not the 2" sizes. If doweling your joints, consider using a countersunk screw in addition on each corner to add strength. Overall I like the ash panels and find them to make superior panels and very attractive panels when stained. The pores in the wood might make ash a potential poor choice for painting.

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