Elm wood has traditionally been a favorite option in Europe. On the one hand, due to its attractive appearance and, on the other hand, for its excellent behavior in humid environments.

It is a species that we can find mainly in temperate climates in the northern hemisphere, especially in Central and Mediterranean Europe, America and Asia. Its trunk is thick, it is rarely completely straight and the old specimens are hollow. It can reach up to 40 meters and its crown is very dense.

There are several species of elm, among which stand out: the hinterland elm, the Dutch elm, the American red elm, the American white elm and the Japanese elm.

Here, the properties of the so-called common or European elm, with a scientific name, are described Ulmus procera, and typical of Western Europe for Turkey and also in North Africa.

The production of elm wood today in Europe is relatively low. Despite being a species relatively resistant to the attack of fungi and insects, it is being voraciously attacked by a fungus called “ceratocystis ulmi”. It is of Asian origin and passes from affected specimens to healthy ones due to the action of the beetles. This significantly affected the price of elm wood. It is estimated that the population has decreased by almost 80% in recent decades.

Characteristics of elm wood

Color: From brownish yellow sapwood to brown heartwood. The light darkens the wood, reaching shades of gray over time. Very marked growth rings.

Fiber: Irregular.

Grain: Thick

Density: It is semi-heavy, with an approximate density of 650 kg / m3 at 12% humidity.

Toughness: It is a semi-hard wood with 5.4 in the Monnin test.

Durability: It is considered a wood of limited durability against fungi and insects. Its ability to remain submerged stands out or in constant contact with water.

Dimensional stability:

  • Volumetric contraction coefficient: 0.56% of nervous wood.

Mechanical properties:

  • Compressive strength: 550 kg / cmtwo
  • Static flexural strength: 1,120 kg / cmtwo
  • Modulus of elasticity: 108,750 kg / cmtwo


  • Sawn. Smoothly.
  • Drying. Easy and fast, although there is a risk of cracks and some deformations.
  • Brushed. Smoothly.
  • Glued. Great.
  • Nailed and screwed. Smoothly.
  • Finish. It offers excellent results.

It is a wood with good behavior in the application of techniques to bend.

elm characteristics

Uses or applications

  • Floors
  • Furniture. Its dark tones have been much appreciated in the joinery.
  • Decorative wood veneers.
  • Sizes.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Manufacture of structures, even submerged. An example could be water pipes or poles in mines.
  • Ship building. Thanks to its good natural resistance to moisture.

Other uses of elm are found in the bark. It is used in the manufacture of dyes and drinks. Health qualities such as astringent, antidiarrheal effect, treatment of stomach cramps, antibacterial properties are given …