The difference between White Ash and White Oak

  • by Dustin Kroft
  • 1 Comment

We work the most with two types of solid wood; White Ash and White Oak. Questions come in often asking to explain the difference between White Ash and White Oak. Most of the the inquiries are just requesting side by side photos but we thought it may be a good opportunity to discuss purchasing solid wood furniture from our company.

The difference between white oak and ash

White Ash and White Oak have a lot of similar qualities and characteristics. They are both hardwoods that are strong, take finish well and are wonderful for making furniture with. White Ash (pictured on the left) is generally a much lighter wood species than White Oak (pictured on the right) but here is where it gets complicated. 

White Oak versus White Ash

Wood is a living organic material and no two trees are identical. There is variance from tree to tree - and even within the tree - with varying colors, grain patterns and sometimes inconsistencies.

Just look at this picture of a stack of our low shelving unit panels ready for finish. These Ash panels show the range of colors that come with just one species of wood. We know what we like in terms of color and grain but we can't throw away every piece that doesn't match up with those ideals so there is always going to be some variance when ordering solid wood furniture.

White Ash Color

If you ever see furniture that has perfect and uniform color and grain it is likely veneered furniture and not solid wood. Some companies offer the option to pay more to select boards with certain color and graining. We don't offer that as a standard option, but if this is important to you, feel free to contact us for this upgrade.

In conclusion, both White Oak and White Ash are excellent wood species for furniture making. If you want to learn more, please contact us with your questions.


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1 Comment

  • Im a retired custom cabinet maker, my job , was 2 make raised panel doors. I was given a list of doors, there size and species, we carried all hard woods and some softer woods, no stack was labeled and these 2 species were hard 2 tell apart. Iwas hoping 4 a clearer way of telling 1 from the other since i still make custom furniture. Any information will b helpful

    Dennis on

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