Ash wood is used to make high-quality handle scales. Ash or "common ash" is also known under its Latin name of Fraxinus excelsior.
Ash wood is indigenous to almost all of Europe as well as some regions in the Middle East and the Caucasus Mountains. The geographic range of the species reaches from northern Spain to the Volga and from southern Norway to southern Italy. Ash also grows in the British Isles.
The species can also be found in some regions of Asia, such as Kashmir in northern Pakistan and India. Ash trees reach a height of 20 to 35 meters and a trunk diameter of up to two meters. Thanks to the high quality of the wood, ash is one of the so-called fine hardwoods and ranks third among the major lumber hardwoods in Central Europe, behind beech and oak. Ash wood has a dry density (density with a moisture content of 0%) of 0.41 g/cm³ to 0.82 g/cm³. It shrinks very little, dries well and is easy to process. Planing tends to cause cracks in the wood. Steam-bent ash can be split and is bendable. Screws and nails should be pre-drilled though to prevent tears and cracks. Ash is not weather-resistant and doesn't show substantial resistance to fungal and insect infestations.
Ash sapwood is white and extremely wide. The heartwood used for making handle scales starts out as gray or olive green. The colors darken considerably with age. Ash wood typically shows segments of varying color intensity. Ash pores are coarse and arranged in multi-row rings. The medullary rays of ash are fairly narrow. The hard yet elastic ash wood has always been a popular material for many applications – in construction (e.g. carriages, boats and aircraft) as well as for furniture and veneers.