The Emerald Ash Borer is a pest native to Asia that is now reeping havoc on the ash stands of south western Ontario and the Great Lakes regions. It has killed millions of ash trees and it is threatening to kill them all.
When I was a kid the majestic elm was a wonderful huge tree with a large unique canopy that could be spotted from a distance. I had a red neck swing in the backyard that was a rope attached to a Goodyear tire hanging from the limb of a big ole elm. After a workout on the swing my pals and I would take a long cool drink from the hose. These are two things that would not be allowed today- too dangerous. Look what it did to me! The majestic elms were all be wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease.
Many of the farmers in this region are having their ash trees lumbered while it is worth something. I figure I will have a HUGE supply of ash for the kiln over the next half decade.
I talked to a friend who will remain anonymous that said she has people in the Guild that don’t want to learn how to mix glazes or fire kilns. They want to make their pots dip them in glaze, have someone else fire them, go to a craft sale to sell them and call themselves potters. I have no time or patience to explain to them why they should read, study, mentor, etc, etc.
I preach to the converted. If you want to be on top of your game as a wood fire potter you should learn your woods. Know how to identify them. Know their heat values. Know their splitability, how much they smoke, do they send off sparks and do they coal up in the firebox.
I rank ash wood up there as one of my favourites. It’s going to be tough to kiss my ash good bye.