The name elm comes from the latin "ulmus". There are more than 100 different kinds of elm tree worldwide. Native to central Europe are the field elm, mountain elm and European white elm of which the white elm is most widespread, growing throughout Europe with the exception of the southern and northern extremes. Since the 1920s Dutch Elm Disease has led to a significant reduction in the numbers of trees and its reduced use in forestry. The disease is caused by two fungi which attack the sapwood thereby throttling its ability to grow. Neither pesticides nor attempts to develop resistant hybrid tree variants have managed to counter the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.
The sapwood and heartwood have different colourings. The sapwood is typically yellowish-white, the heart much darker, varying from tree to tree. Field and mountain elm have a more varied, markedly darker brown colouring. The heartwood of the white elm has a much paler, light-grey to yellow-brown appearance.
Elmwood is hard and heavy. It is firm, relatively elastic and tough. Shrinkage is little and it is stable once dried. It has a low natural durability.
The good strength of the wood makes it more difficult to work, requiring sharp tools and machinery. It is easy to slice, turn but difficult to split. Surface finishing is straightforward.
Elmwood is available as round and sawn timber, sliced veneer and root veneer.
- Radio housing (in the past)
- Carving and turning
- Musical instruments
- Parquet flooring
- Rifle grips