Common Name(s): Red Elm, Slippery Elm, Soft Elm
Scientific Name: Ulmus rubra
Distribution: Eastern to Midwest United States
Tree Size: 100 ft (30 m) tall, 3 ft (1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 38 lbs/ft3 (600 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .48, .60
Janka Hardness: 860 lbf (3,830 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 13,000 lbf/in2 (89.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,490,000 lbf/in2 (10.28 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,360 lbf/in2 (43.9 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.9%, Tangential: 8.9%, Volumetric: 13.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.8
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light to medium brown, sometimes with a hint of red. Sapwood is a pale white or cream color.
Grain/Texture: Has a medium texture and moderate-sized pores. Grain is sometimes straight, but commonly interlocked.
Endgrain: Ring-porous; large to very large earlywood pores in a continuous row two to four pores wide, small latewood pores in wavy bands; tyloses occasionally present in earlywood; growth rings distinct; parenchyma vasicentric and confluent; medium rays, spacing normal.
Rot Resistance: Rated as moderately durable to non-durable in regard to heartwood decay, but is susceptible to insect attack, and living trees are very commonly destroyed by Dutch elm disease.
Workability: Can be a challenge to work because of interlocked grain, especially on quartersawn surfaces. Planing can cause tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. Glues, stains, and finishes well. Responds well to steam bending.
Odor: Elm usually has a strong, unpleasant smell when green; though once dried has very little odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Elm in the Ulmus genus has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Should be moderately priced, though availability from mature trees has been greatly diminished by Dutch elm disease.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Common Uses: Boxes, baskets, furniture, hockey sticks, veneer, wood pulp, and papermaking.
Comments: Ulmus rubra is commonly called Slippery Elm in tree form, but is most often called Red Elm when dealing with the tree in lumber form.
Elm trees are commonly infected with Dutch elm disease, a fungal disease spread by elm bark beetles. D.E.D. has wiped out millions of Elm trees worldwide.