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"Yggdrasil." Thac s what the Scandinavian ancicnts called the tree. In Nordic . folklore, its branches hjig Q welcomed the gods

VaIimIB who might travel its trunk to the earth. Its roots provided avenues to the places of the dead.

We call it ash. This tree, which populates temperate areas of much of the world's northern hemisphere, long ago carved its place in our own North American heritage. Indians and trappers used ash for packsaddles, paddles and canoe ribs. As material for wagon wheels, tool handles and furniture, this wood was an everyday part of pioneer lives. Since the Civil War, when baseball was invented, most of the great sluggers have slammed their way into history with bats of ash.

Although about 70 species of ash exist worldwide, 98 percent of the com-

Ash by Paul McClure mercial lumber sold in this country comes from three species that grow east of the Rocky Mountains: white ash, green ash and black ash. It's difficult to differentiate the wood from these three species, and most lumber dealers simply lump them together as "American ash."

Oregon ash, a species that grows on the Pacific coast, is similar in appearance, but less abundant and lighter in weight than eastern ash.

Of non-domestic species, Japanese ash, or tamo, is the one most commonly available here, but usually only in veneer form. It sometimes exhibits a highly unusual "peanut" figure. European ash sometimes produces highly prized lumber with brown to black heartwood that's sold as uolivc ash."

Appearance

Ash generally ranges in color from the medium greyish-brown of black ash heartwood to the pale tan of white ash.

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