American Rock Elm Wood

American Rock Elm Wood

¶ Next to chestnut, in our opinion, comes rock elm, a wood that is fairly abundant, not expensive, and easily obtainable, especially in the East. Rock elm is not affected by the fumes of ammonia and, so far as our experiments go, we have never been able to obtain the right color effect by the use of chemicals. Therefore, in order to get a good color, this wood has to be stained. The colors which are most in harmony with its natural color are brown, green, and gray, particularly in the lighter shades. The distinguishing peculiarity of rock elm is its jagged or feathery grain. Also, the difference in color between the hard and softs parts of the wood is very marked, giving, under the right treatment, a charming variation of tone. If one has the patience to experiment with stains on small pieces of rock elm, some unexpectedly good effects may be obtained. Care must be taken, however, that the stain is light enough to show merely as an over tone that modifies the natural color of the wood, as the interplay of colors in the grain is hidden by too strong a surface tone. Elm is excellent for interior woodwork where the color effect desired is lighter than that given by either oak or chestnut and also it is hard enough to make pretty good furniture. This last is a decided advantage, especially in a room containing many built in pieces which naturally form a part of the woodwork. In the earlier days of our experimenting with Craftsman furniture we made a good many pieces of elm and found them, on the whole, very satisfactory.

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