American elm trees where once a common sight across North America, and were often planted in urban environments and lined many boulevards. Unfortunately, the introduction of Dutch Elm disease, wiped out most of the mature trees across North America. Elm trees continue to be common site in many rural location, although most of them succumb to Dutch elm disease before they become very big. Not often available commercially, American elm continues to be available in smaller sizes in the form of trimmings and fire wood.
Often used in furniture and cabinet making, American elm wood is generally an open grained, ring porous wood that superficially resembles oak. In fact, many 'oak' antiques are actually elm as evident by the lack of rays ray flecks and the characteristic 'wwww' pattern in the grain that is unique to elm wood. Elm wood is moderately hard, and works will with power tools. It takes a stain readily and sands and finishes easily. In appearance, the sap wood of American elm is pail yellow, the heart wood is only slightly darker, with brown over tone. The heart wood is generally small.