I plan to use ash in a clock project, and have little experience with hard woods other than oak. Will ash machine and accept stain well? Is there a good reference book covering the characteristics of commonly used hard woods?
Michael Dresdner: Yes to all of your questions. Ash machines nicely and is a delight to stain and finish. It is very accommodating, and takes stain evenly and beautifully. You’ll find most stains will enhance the grain patterns, yet still come out even. As for reference books, there are many, but my favorite is William Lincoln’s book “World Woods in Color.”
Lee Grindinger: Ash and oak are very similar in their characteristics under the tool. Don’t hesitate to use this wonderful wood if it will provide the color and texture you’re looking for.